Tease Monster


Teasing is a social interaction that has positive and negative effects on our lives. Like many other social interactions, teasing can mimic bullying, mean moments, and harassment. Julia Cook provides so many wonderful social stories for kids, and this year I introduced the book, Tease Monster, to second graders.

I talk to students a great deal about setting up a boundary, or hula hoop, with actions and with WORDS. We also talk about the truth about honesty. Honesty is so very important in many facets of our lives, however we don't have to "be honest and share our opinions" about everything all the time. If we don't like Susie's dress, and we would never wear it, we don't have to tell Susie it's ugly or doesn't look good on her. We just need to keep quiet. However, if someone asks for your honest opinion or asks you for the truth, then it is best to not lie.

Examples of making a boundary or hula hoop:
"Please don't make fun of my jacket. It hurts my feelings."
"I don't like when you call me the nickname, Bossy Bear. It dips from my bucket. Please don't do it again."
"I don't like that. Please stop!"

I talk to students at school about a stern voice and how this doesn't have to be a mean voice. A lot of kids think if they are mean then they are being assertive.This is not true. We can stand up for ourselves, make a boundary, and be serious without yelling or screaming. Role playing how to do this with your child is very important to the success of them implementing this skill.

There are good and mean teases and students need to learn the difference. I explain that when someone "nice teases" both students are laughing and think it is funny or fun. They are laughing with each other. However, if one person thinks something is funny and the other person is bad/mad/sad/hurt/etc. then it is laughing at someone.

It is hard for adults and kids to get used to tones of voices and sarcasm. Many times students will laugh it off or "play it cool" so they don't seem like a "crybaby" or too sensitive to peers. However, all humans at one time or another have comments that are made that dip from buckets and a boundary must be made. Sometimes being hurt hunger, sleep, bad mood, etc. Adults and students might be more vulnerable, sensitive, or hurt by sarcasm and others' comments if they are feeling "in a mood" or their needs are low (hunger, sleep, health, etc.)