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When people tease

A girl being laughed at by two other girls.

Teasing can be okay if it makes the person being teased laugh too. Playful teasing can help you have a sense of humor and make it easier to get along with others. But mean and hurtful teasing aimed at making someone feel bad can cause sadness and anger. Harmful teasing, or bullying, can cause you to have low or poor self-esteem.

You may find that people sometimes tease you in a harmful way because of your illness or disability. The main thing to remember is that it's not your fault that you're being teased. Nobody deserves to be bullied. The problem is not with you. It's with the people who are teasing you.

Sometimes a person doesn’t make fun of you, but they’re just rude. Maybe they ask questions that aren’t their business or say things that aren’t considerate. Some people with illnesses or disabilities see these interactions as a chance to educate people, but you don’t have to discuss your condition if you don’t want to. And if someone insults you, try to separate their wrong ideas from the truth you know — that you are a valuable person with a lot to offer!

Why do kids tease? arrow top

  • It makes them feel better about themselves to put others down
  • To make people pay attention to them
  • Because they see others doing it
  • They think it is cool
  • They make fun of things they don’t understand, such as a learning disability

What can I do about harmful teasing? arrow top

  • When someone teases you, remind yourself that it doesn’t matter what this person is saying. Chances are pretty good that they are doing it because of their own fears, weaknesses, and shortcomings, so their opinion isn’t worth taking very seriously.
  • If it feels safe, try to stand up to the person who is teasing you. Just tell the person that you don't like what they are doing and that they should stop! Keep it simple. You might just say, "Cut it out, Kim!" and then go away. Try to talk to them in a calm voice. Kids who bully often like to see that they can make you upset. So try not to show that you are bothered by what they say or do.
  • If the teasing doesn't stop, tell an adult that you can trust, like your parents, teacher, or school counselor. If you've told a grown-up before and they haven't done anything about it, tell someone else. Don't think that you're a "tattletale" if you tell an adult that you're being bullied. Telling is not tattling! It's the right thing to do.


Federal resource = This article, publication, website, or organization is from the U.S. government.

Content last reviewed February 16, 2011
Page last updated October 31, 2013