I hate girls!

Not me – never I hope.

These are my son’s current sentiment vis-à-vis the fairer sex. This misplaced sense of “not liking” is reciprocated by the fairer sex towards the boys as well.

Obviously, an age related syndrome, where girls are not in his favourable consideration set, at-least for the time being. This situation is particularly applicable for the environment at school and not necessary for some close friends who happen to be girls, with whom he is familiar and comfortable.

So I was amused when I heard his declaration and claimed excuse for not wanting to go to school. He happens to be currently sharing his seat/desk with a girl.

Here is when I had to step in and remind him that his mother, grandmother and siblings (his and mine) were all girls and that they cannot be wished away. I also counselled him and probed him for the reason for the irritation and ways to work around them.

Net-net, the realization that “girls” are very much a part and parcel of the circle of life and that they are fun to be with.

I am of the hopeful that the current sentiment would undergo a 180o change when he hits the teens years.

Teasing and impact on kids

Teasing or being teased, once in a while, is part of the social fabric and life.

While the skew of teasing is more towards personal traits/ habits we may witness or experience it occasionally in our professional lives as well. While it does give us a laugh or two, too much of it can be a pain and detrimental to the confidence of the one being teased.

Maturity and the ability of handle it will vary from person to person and unsaid rules, such as not crossing the line and not hitting below the belt, will determine how the episode will end, whether it will be laughed off or take an ugly turn. There is a very thin line between teasing and bullying and at times people do not recognize that.

While as adults we are better places to tackle teasing, kids may not have the ability to understand it or laugh it off. Kids who are on the heavier side or wear specks may be subject to some amount of teasing by peers in class or seniors in the school bus. Similarly, kids with different personality traits, say the shy and reserved types, may become easy victims of teasing. Peer isolation may prevent such kids from reporting the matter to the teachers or at home which can have severs repercussions over a period of time.

What is important in such situations is to recognize symptoms or changes in the child’s behavior. Disinterest to go to school or the child suddenly becoming reserved may be clear indicators that something is wrong. Keeping the communication channels open and coaxing the child to share everything with you is extremely crucial.

Post identification of the problem come the critical matter of equipping the child to deal with the situation. As a first step, ensuring that they don’t take the verbal jibes personally or seriously will go a long way in them being able to ignore it. Second, the need for them to not get cowed down and have the presence of mind to give it back without getting into a fight. Third, in a worst case scenario reporting to the school authorities and lastly picking up the phone on the parents to settle the matter once and for all.

The discretion of leveraging  steps three and four would rest on us, the parents, typically, in extreme cases otherwise we may handicap the child if we pitch in to fight every battle in his life including the smallest one.

And lastly most importantly have the ability to laugh at yourself… and give your kids this very important ability too