Kids have teased each other since the beginning of time. (OK, we admit we don't know for sure if cavekids teased each other. But they probably did.)
We're sure that you're one of the nice kids, who would never, ever tease someone else. (Brothers and sisters don't count.) So, what should you do if someone teases you?
One idea is simply to walk away from teasers. If you ignore them, maybe they'll give up trying to upset you. But if this doesn't work, you might try a more creative approach.
"The one thing you don't want to do with teasing is to tease back," advises Fred Frankel, a UCLA psychologist who is a specialist on the subject of teasing.
Instead, say something clever that will "put down the tease, not the teaser," suggests Frankel.
For example, if someone calls you a name, instead of calling him or her a name back, you could say something like, "And your point is . . . ?" or "Tell me when you get to the funny part" or "I heard that one back in kindergarten." (If these lines don't work for you, try coming up with your own witty responses.) The idea is to be amusing, not mean. Frankel says humor shows the teaser he's not getting to you (even if he is!).
Most kids are capable of dealing with a teaser by themselves. But if the situation is more scary, like if a bully picks on you, then it's time to get help from an adult, such as a teacher, counselor or parents.
Just because you're teased as a kid doesn't mean you won't become a cool adult. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg (the "Jurassic Park" and "E.T." guy) was teased a lot when he was a boy, because he was quiet and not into sports. Instead of getting upset, Spielberg put his energy into being a Boy Scout and making little films, with a camera his father gave him. Legend has it that one time when a bully was picking on the young Spielberg, the filmmaker put the other boy into one of his films, which put an end to the teasing.
So, if people tease you, consider this: They might be teasing the next Steven Spielberg.
Kids and other readers can reach Emily Dwass by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org