This October, ACPA is participating in National Bullying Prevention Month, an annual campaign to keep all youth safe from bullying. One key step to preventing bullying is to empower individuals of all ages to recognize their own value and interact confidently with their peers. ACPA offers publications to help children born with facial differences navigate challenging social situations that may occur.
Help with Social Situations, an ACPA factsheet with information from cleft and craniofacial experts, answers the question: how can parents help with teasing?
First, talk with your child. Ask how she/ he feels about the situation and wants to handle it. You could find out: Who did the teasing? Was it a friend, a classmate, a stranger, or a school bully? What was it about? Was it a mean comment, a joke that went bad, or a remark based on lack of understanding?
After talking it through, you and your child can decide how to respond, both now and later. A child might choose one of the following options, based on the situation:
Don't engage at all.
- Tell the person "Please stop" or "That's not nice," or
- Provide information, like, "After having surgery, the body heals with a bumpy red line which is a scar," or
- Remind the teaser that these experiences are unique and show strength, not weakness.
Whatever the response, it is important to do it with confidence, both in tone of voice and body language.
Other ACPA publications that provide helpful information about social situations include The School-Aged Child and Letter to the Teacher of a Child with Cleft. For more information about ACPA publications, visit the ACPA Family Services website.