Mom, They're Teasing Me: Helping Your Child Solve Social Problems by Anne TylerMom, They're Teasing Me: Helping Your Child Solve Social Problems by Anne Tyler

Mom, They're Teasing Me: Helping Your Child Solve Social Problems

byAnne Tyler

Paperback | August 3, 2004

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Through vividly written case studies and a reader-friendly question-and-answer format, Mom, They’re Teasing Me is full of specific, how-to advice for parents to help their children navigate the sometimes harsh terrain of social life–which includes name-calling, after-school fights, esteem-crushing cliques, and malicious exclusion by the popular kids. Through thoughtful discussion and insightful suggestions, parents will discover

• The difference between real risk and normal social pain
• The appropriate time to intervene–and when to step back
• Tips on how to mediate between children–without appearing meddlesome
• The importance of teaching and encouraging leadership
• The redemptive power of friendship

Mom, They’re Teasing Me answers key questions about the many manifestations of social cruelty, offers compelling descriptions of prime “teasing” scenarios, and illustrates how to counter them. It is an indispensable book for involved parents who want to make their child’s formative years rich and rewarding.
Michael Thompson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, lecturer, consultant, and former seventh-grade teacher. He conducts workshops on social cruelty, children’s friendships, and boys’ development across the United States. He is the author of Speaking of Boys and coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Raising Cain, as well as Best Friends, Wo...
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Title:Mom, They're Teasing Me: Helping Your Child Solve Social ProblemsFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:192 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.59 inShipping dimensions:8 × 5.2 × 0.59 inPublished:August 3, 2004Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345450116

ISBN - 13:9780345450111

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Read from the Book

THE EVERYDAY LIVES OF CHILDREN: Normal Social PainEvery morning when the buses pull up in front of an elementary,middle, or high school building, an extraordinarysocial drama unfolds. Most adults miss the importanceof this opening act of the school day, because it is a daily theater,apparently so predictable that grown-ups are not alertto its intensity. But kids get off the bus with their mindsgeared not to Spanish, spelling, or computer class, but toseeing their friends. They're ready for the curtain to rise onthe action of the day--for the conflict and connection of sociallife.Children suffer when they are teased or excluded orhave a fight with a friend--and parents suffer emphaticallyright along with them. Our job is to bear that pain andalso to put it in perspective. After all, we lived throughcliques and betrayals and heartaches, and our children willtoo. Of course, there are things we can do to ease the pain--theirs and ours--but our first job is to take a deep breath andtrust in children's resilience and in the process of humandevelopment.The social troubles children face are so predictable andinevitable that it is hard to call them traumas. Nevertheless,they do hurt and they do sap a child's confidence. Losing afriend, having a secret betrayed, and being teased are just afew examples. As parents, we want desperately to help childrenescape these hard lessons of life, or at least master themwhen they do happen. We know that lectures don't reallywork, but we keep giving them anyway, just in case. Wearen't sure what else to do. We also know that our own endlessworrying doesn't help, but we have a hard time turningit off.Research shows that the majority of kids fall somewherein the middle of the social hierarchy. Their status rangesfrom basically accepted to well liked to wildly popular. Forthese children, intense social issues (and pain) are still prevalent.In fact, pressures and conflicts are universal as kidsdeal with clashes among the individual, the friendship pair,and the group. Most of the answers to the questions in thissection begin with reassurance. Our goal is to help adultsunderstand such factors as temperament, group dynamics,and child development. Our hope is that a better understandingof these things will provide some perspective, adose of optimism, and a little relief from the anxiety we feel.Parents and other adults all have their own painful memoriesof social struggles. These memories are triggered when childrenhand over their pain to their parents. It's hard to separatethe new pain of your child's present from the old pain ofyour own school days. It's a bit like getting your toe steppedon when it's already broken.When we label much of what you worry about as "normal"social pain, we do not in any way mean to trivialize it.The pain we feel when we lose a loved one is universal too--and therefore "normal." But that does not lessen its sting. Infact, knowing that something is universal, that you and yourchild are not the only people who ever went through thispain, can be powerfully comforting.If you read between the lines as you look over the questionsin this section, you'll see that more often than not, whatparents and teachers are really asking is this: "Is my childnormal?" "Are the children in my class normal?" There isoften a great deal of anxiety and concern behind these questions.Much uncertainty and anxiety comes from a lack ofexperience about how normal it is for children to be in pain,or how normal it is for children to be so difficult for adults tounderstand and to handle. Normal children are not wonderfulevery minute. Their friendships aren't always a scene ona Hallmark card. In fact, they throw us all kinds of curveballs. I often share with parents this quote from the brilliantchild psychiatrist D. W. Winnicott in his book The Child,The Family, and the Outside World, "What is the normalchild like? Does he just eat and grow and smile sweetly? No,that is not what he is like. A normal child, if he has confidencein his father and mother, pulls out all the stops. In thecourse of time he tries out his power to disrupt, to destroy, tofrighten, to wear down, to waste, to wangle and to appropriate.Everything that takes people to the courts (or to the asylums,for that matter) has its normal equivalent in infancyand early childhood (and in adolescence), in the relationof the child to his own home. If the home can stand up to allthe child can do to disrupt it, he settles down to play; butbusiness first, the tests must be made."We have to bear the pain that our children share with us,pain that might break our hearts or annoy us or remind us ofour own horrible peer experiences. And we have to keep asense of perspective about all that pain. Indeed, the first ruleof worrying as a parent is to take the long view.There is a story about an anxious first-time motherwho called her baby's pediatrician constantly, sometimesseveral times a day. After a couple of months of this, he askedto see her. This is what he said: "Mrs. Smith, you have givenbirth to a child. You have opened yourself up to a lifetimeof worry. You have to pace yourself." Kids, too, needto learn to pace themselves in the long-distance race of growingup.In the first of the two case studies that follow, you willmeet a mother who learned to manage her worry and to promote,rather than anguish about, her child's friendships.The second case study in this section will introduce youto Karen, a young adult, and her reflections about the complexinterplay of identity, friendship, and popularity duringadolescence. Karen's ability to look back on her own sociallife helps her make sense of a struggle that was hard tounderstand when she was living through it. We hope herview will give you added perspective on your own children'sexperiences in the world of friendship and popularity.

Editorial Reviews

“Deeply needed advice, reassurance, and good news . . . This much-needed book is a true gem.”–EDWARD M. HALLOWELL, M.D., author of The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness“A VALUABLE RESOURCE . . . [The authors] help parents deal with a range of social problems. . . . Just as important, they help parents distinguish between the kind of social antagonisms that can traumatize a child and the kind that are just part of growing up.”–Booklist“Once again Michael Thompson, Lawrence Cohen, and Catherine O’Neill Grace have reached into the hearts and minds of children and parents and given us deeply needed advice, reassurance, and good news. They show us how to deal with some of the most painful moments of childhood and, not only survive them, but thrive. Michael Thompson combines the knowledge and wisdom of a brilliant psychologist with the heart and love of an experienced parent. This much-needed book is a true gem.”–EDWARD M. HALLOWELL, M.D.“Few parenting challenges compare to helping a kid cope with teasing or being left out. With empathy and understanding, Mom, They’re Teasing Me gives parents age-by-age information and practical advice to guide and comfort kids through every stage of their so-called social lives.”–FREDDI GREENBERG Editor in Chief, Nick Jr. magazine“What a wonderful and helpful book. It is right on target dealing with a very difficult issue–one that all parents confront–in a truly sensitive and intelligent manner. Above all, Michael Thompson and Lawrence Cohen give answers–why it happens and what to do about it. I was really impressed by their ability to make helpful sense out of a truly difficult part of child-raising.”–ANTHONY E. WOLF, Ph.D. Author of Get Out of My Life, But First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall?