What Do You Think?: Teasing The Smart Kid
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 9:27PM
Lynda Rae in bullying, cyberbullying, gifted youth, gossip, teasing

What do you think about this scenario?

Lidia just entered 9th grade and has always done well in school, enjoys reading, and likes to think about things in new ways. People tend to assume she is older than she is and she often feels as though she is not “on the same page” as her friends. Her school smarts and unique way of thinking make her a target for teasing, even from her own friends. A few of her classmates call her names like stupid, weird, and spacey, and ridicule her good grades. She laughs it off but secretly wonders if she really is weird or crazy and wants nothing more than to be accepted and liked by her classmates. The teasing makes her feel isolated, angry, and recently has caused her grades to slip from A’s to C’s. She has also started making older friends and engaging in risky behaviors with alcohol and boys because she is trying to fit in and be “cool.”

Questions for Discussion:

1. If Lidia doesn’t get some help what do you think could happen to her?

2. Why do the other kids tease her so much, and have you ever teased someone for those reasons?

3. Have you ever been the kid being teased and how did it make you feel? What did it make you want to do?

4. If you were Lidia what could you do to make the situation better? How would the kids teasing her react to each option you come up with?

Factoids:

What Can Mentors do to Help Prevent This?

The most important thing is to be understanding and empathetic, don’t try to minimize their pain by telling them that lots of kids get teased or that they should just stand up for themselves, these strategies are proven to make victims feel even more powerless and inadequate. Be supportive, sympathetic, and reassure them that they are not weird, stupid etc. and that telling an adult is not shameful or tattling. If they are being teased because they are gifted explain to them what their being gifted means and that it is nothing to be ashamed of. Smart children often feel different than their peers but don’t know why, so understanding that can be a big relief.

Try using this problem solving model created for kids who are being teased or bullied:

1. Clarify the problem with your mentee (who, where, when, and why).

2. Brainstorm other ways your mentee could respond the next time the situation arises

3. Think through the consequences of each suggestion on the list and pick one to try.

4. Make a plan, role play to practice, and have them try it out.

5. Evaluate what happened, and try another option if necessary. Some successful responses you can try with them are:

6. If you are teaching them how to be assertive, practice these tactics:

Other Resources:

"Other kids ridicule my child for being so smart; what can I do?"

"My Child is Being Bullied—What Should I Do?"

Article originally appeared on Fighting Back Mentor Program Resource Center (http://mentor-center.org/).
See website for complete article licensing information.