Teasing vs Bullying
It’s likely that you have experienced concern when your child came home from school in tears, because they were teased by fellow students about their appearance or mannerisms. You may have also needed to counsel your high school-aged child when they were physically intimidated by other students. Teasing and bullying are two commonly encountered social behavior problems that involve discrimination, as well as the use or threat of violence. Teasing is considered to be less harmful, while bullying may be damaging not just physically, but also to the victim’s psyche. There are many differences between these two socially unacceptable behaviors. However, some people believe that teasing and bullying have the same effect on the victim and even use the words interchangeably. This article aims to highlight the differences between teasing and bullying by describing their features.
Teasing and bullying can start at home between siblings when the elder child tries to dominate the younger one physically or threatens to use force to make them submit to their whims. The younger sibling, unable to physically overpower the elder one, may retaliate by teasing them in front of their parents, believing in the security provided by their presence. This dynamic can continue until both siblings mature.
When you make fun of someone’s sense of style, way of speaking, gait, or other behavior, you are teasing them just for the sake of fun. Teasing is very common in society and is often considered a way of relating with others. It starts on the first day of school for a child when they face remarks from other kids. It is natural for kids to be different from one another in various ways. However, coping with teasing may differ among children. Some may get irritated and upset, while others take it in stride. As long as teasing is for the sake of poking fun at others, it remains harmless. It is when teasing becomes intentional and repetitive that it becomes a form of bullying, as the victim feels humiliated when taunted in front of others. Typically, intimidation and aggressive behaviors are not involved in teasing, and it is more about having fun than causing distress for the victim.
Teasing is more of a social disappointment when dealing with others and an imbalance that occurs in interactions with peers or colleagues. Often, teasing can take an ugly turn among young schoolchildren and may lead to a scuffle or fight, but that does not necessarily transform it into bullying.
Has your child changed the route they take to school on their bicycle? Do their belongings go missing or their clothing get torn often? Do they feel powerless and cry because they can’t handle the humiliation? These may be signs of a deeper problem than simple teasing. Bullying is an unacceptable social behavior that can cause insecurity and feelings of inferiority in the victim, making them feel unsafe in school or work environments. Bullying affects the mental state and psyche of the child or adult, causing them to become socially fearful, withdrawn, and a misfit. Bullying is a crime and should not be tolerated by parents when disclosed by their child.
- Teasing and bullying are social behaviors that cause distress for the victim.
- Teasing is harmless and more for fun, while bullying can be harmful both physically and psychologically.
- Teasing mostly involves verbal taunts or mimicking actions of the victim, while bullying can take many forms, including force or the threat of force, in order to elicit submission from the victim.