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Teasing others and how to stop

tease; teasing; harassment; bullying; feelings; unhappy; fear; power; pick on; afraid; friends; safe; name-calling; mean; being mean; bully; bullies; bullying ;


feelingsThis topic is for people who like to tease others to upset them.

Maybe you know someone who teases others.

Maybe you are someone who likes to tease others.

Sometimes teasing is called harassment.

Sometimes teasing is so bad that it is called bullying - when someone is being made to feel very unhappy because of nasty teasing.

After you have read this topic, you could have a look at two other topics Being teased and Are you a bystander to bullying?

Why people tease others

People often tease others because they have learned that:

  • Some people enjoy gentle teasing of friends and others in their family - people they know well and who they care about enough to keep the teasing 'fun' and not hurtful - they are entertained by teasing.

However some people tease others because:

  • feelings they want to 'get their own back' on someone who teases them
  • people notice them if they are teasing
  • they feel powerful when others seem to be afraid of them (do you think that is really being powerful?)
  • they like to be the centre of attention and they can't think how else to do it
  • they can get away with it
  • they don't have many ideas about how to get along with others
  • they think that it's OK to pick on some kids.

They are right about people liking to be entertained, but they need to learn how to entertain WITHOUT hurting other people or their feelings.

Maybe people in your family like to tease each other for fun. But it isn't fun if the teasing is unkind and upsets someone.

If you are one of the people who has learned to tease others in an unkind way then now is a good time for you to do some unlearning.

Unlearning is forgetting what you have learned that is wrong and learning something better.

What you need to know about teasing others

  • bullyingWhen teasing upsets someone, everyone around feels uncomfortable.
  • Teasing is not OK if it hurts people's feelings.
  • Having people afraid of you is not as good as having friends.
  • Being the centre of bad attention is not as great as being the centre of good attention.
  • Picking on kids who are different in some way is never OK. That makes you a bully and no one likes bullies.
  • teasingIf you tease others then no one will stick up for you when you are being teased.
  • If you want to have friends then you need to learn how to be a friend. (See our topic on Making friends).
  • Everyone has a right to feel safe.
  • There are laws against harassment wherever that harassment takes place and you could get into a lot of trouble.

Maybe you thought teasing was cool because that's how you have been treated or are treated in some part of your life. If you are being teased and don't like it, then you need to read what you can do about it and ask for help to deal with it. Have a look at Being teased.

Before you tease someone:

  • Ask yourself, "Would I like someone to talk about or treat me in this way?" Before you do any teasing or name-calling listen to your answer.

If someone is treating you badly - tell an adult you can trust.

Social media, 'teasing' and bullying

Taking a photo of someone having an 'awkward' moment and sending or publishing it is a nasty form of teasing. How embarrassing for that person. How would you feel if it were you?

Everyone is entitled to privacy and respect.

How you can 'unlearn'

Give other people the chance to get to know you as a person, rather than someone to avoid because of your teasing or bullying.

  • friendsGet to know yourself - ask your mum or dad and your teacher what they really like about you - that is part of you too.
  • Work on making friends - See our topic Making friends.
  • Join in with games as one of the crowd, not trying to take over.
  • Make positive comments about people you know. Say nice things to other people as well.
  • Look for 'good' attention.
  • Help people build their skills instead of putting them down because they're not very good.
  • Set yourself some goals for example, "Today I will make good comments about 3 people." ('build-ups')
  • Learn to cooperate with others - do what other people want, not just what you want. It might be fun.

If some of these things seem too hard for you, talk about it to your mum or dad or your teacher and ask them to help you.

Dr Kate says

Dr Kate
"It may take a while for people to accept the 'new' you, but keep working at it. Remember that you have the same rights as everyone else, which means that you don't have to put up with cruel teasing either."

 Now you have read this topic, you could have a look at two other topics Being teased and Are you a bystander to bullying?

I know I've been in trouble
Lots of times before.
But I'm trying hard to change,
Each day I'm trying more.
It's going to take a while,
My teacher said it would.
Please 'unlearn' that I'm naughty,
I'm trying to be good!


Sometimes teasing can be really hurtful and can change your life.
Sam tells about how bad she felt when she and her friend started teasing each other.

  • "Me and my friend were best friends at kindy and at school. When we got in higher grades we made new friends and we started teasing each other. We were very unhappy really, but we both kept teasing until we stopped being friends. We got other people to tease as well. We both felt very sad and bad until one day we decided to forgive each other. We are happy friends now and all our other friends are happy too."
  • My brother teases me all the time. I tease him too but sometimes it goes too far. Then we say sorry and are friends again.

Do you want some help with bullying?

This site may have some helpful ideas if you or your friend are being bullied. It is a website that has been developed by the Australian Government to support children who are being bullied and to help bullies to stop hurting other people.  

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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