Teasing is common -
96% of elementary school children report involvement
Children tease because it can be a fun way to provoke a reaction in someone else, and they may want to reciprocate being teased themselves. Teasing can strengthen a relationship by showing closeness and affection with another person. It can help show others what behaviors are appropriate in society: for example, teasing someone for talking with his/her mouth full communicates – without direct confrontation - that this is not a polite and socially accepted behavior. Teasing also represents an indirect and non-threatening (perhaps even playful) method for resolving conflicts by providing an outlet for expressing frustration or disapproval.
Teasing is positive when:
While teasing can be used to strengthen a relationship, it can also be used to alienate, criticize, and embarrass another person, which may weaken the relationship. The affectionate interaction of teasing can turn hostile when the person being teased is distressed by the teasing. Teasing about physical appearance is almost always hostile and hurtful. This is not surprising since appearance has so much influence on social acceptance and is out of the individual’s control.
Teasing becomes bullying when:
Always acknowledge that the bullying is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.