Managing mean kids in the playground can be easier when your child knows what to say.
Teacher and Kids First Children’s Services founder, Sonja Walker, shares 10 easy responses to teach your child to make handling the politics of the playground easier.
When a child is being bullied, it’s easy for adults to tell them to respond with a clever comeback line… but in the emotion of the moment, it can be hard for kids to think of a statement that is effective and appropriate.
To really equip your child to deal with mean kids, it’s helpful to practice effective comebacks with them at home so that they are able to respond confidently in the playground.
Talk & practice at home first
If mean children are troubling your child, talk about the problem and try role-playing at home when your child is calm and it’s easier for them to learn and remember what to say.
You can play the part of the problematic peer and your child can rehearse the response they will make during tricky playground moments.
If your child has practiced what they will say to a kid who is teasing or taunting them, they are more likely to be able to dive into their small repertoire of responses when emotions are running high.
Clever comebacks build confidence
It’s important to realise that a clever comeback will not necessarily stop bullying altogether, but they can increase your child’s confidence.
Sometimes, mean kids have just one line of verbal attack. They might tell your child ‘You’re ugly’, ‘You’re so fat you take up the whole back seat of the bus’ or ‘You’re gay’
If this has been effective in upsetting your child in the past, they use it over and over again.
Why comebacks are effective
When your child becomes confident with responding to the taunt in a clever way, they effectively challenge their bully to come up with something new to say.
A bully who finds that their victim is no longer an easy target will be discouraged and often the teasing stops.
Try to teach your child that a comeback is not a retaliating insult. Help them to understand that when playground politics get tricky, they don’t need to be negative, mean or nasty in return.
Because this would make their behaviour just as bad as the bully’s.
When not to use a comeback
If there’s a chance that the other child will lash out physically at your child when they are challenged, a comeback may not be the best option.
If things have become so serious that a mean child may get physical with yours, encourage your child to talk with a teacher. You may want to go with them when they do this so that you are supporting and empowering them as they seek support.
10 comeback lines your child can say to a mean kid
- I heard you and I don’t care.
- Are you finished?
- Yeah right…
- Say whatever you want.
- Keep talking – I’m not listening.
- Wow. You discovered I’m different than you. You’re a genius.
- I feel sorry for you.
© 2019 Kids First Children’s Services
Does your child need help to manage mean kids?
Kids First’s child psychologists have years of experience in supporting children as they find ways to navigate the complex landscape of playground politics.
We are located in Sydney’s northern beaches and have helped hundreds of kids of all ages to develop confidence and resilience.
Contact us on (02) 9938 5419 to make and appointment to discuss your child’s needs.