Children - What if I am being teased about stammering?

It is not ok for anyone to be teased about stammering. Here are some problem-solving ideas which the children from one of our courses came up with.

Tell a friend

Having friends who are on our side can make us feel better. So telling a friend can be a helpful thing to do. When we have a problem we often feel as though there is nothing that can be done. Friends can support us and also help us to think of other ways of handling things.

Call a hotline

If you want to speak to someone who doesn’t know you, but who has been trained to help, you could call a helpline like the Michael Palin Centre (020 3316 8100), the British Stammering Association (020 8880 6590), Childline (0800 1111) or the National Bullying Helpline (0845 22 55 787).

Ask them to stop

Letting the person know how we feel about what they are doing can make us feel better as we are standing up for ourselves. “I don’t like it when you do that” or “That’s mean”, or “Stop saying that”. Bullies usually pick on others to make themselves feel powerful. When we stand up to them, they are no longer in charge and they won’t be getting the reaction they were hoping for.

Walk away

Just walking off without saying or doing anything shows the bully that they cannot get to us, and that makes it bit pointless from them trying to tease or bully us.

Tell the mother of the person who is teasing you

It may be that the other child’s parents will sort it out by telling the bully to stop, explaining to them why it’s wrong to tease.

Ignore them

Like walking away, this will take the bully’s power away and if they don’t get a response from us, they might just stop.

Make an excuse and leave the situation

We can make something up like “I’ve just remembered I’ve got to…” and make a quick getaway.

Tell your mum and dad

Sometimes we worry about telling our parents but they can be good listeners and they may have some good ideas about what to do. They may want to talk to the school about it or they may help us to figure out the best way to handle it. Most of us feel better when we have told someone else about something that’s bothering us.

Tell your teacher

It’s usually better if adults – parents and teachers - know what is going on because something can usually be done. Schools have anti-bullying policies, which means that they have promised not to allow bullying to happen. So telling our teachers can help to sort the problem out.

Write down your thoughts and put in a school "problem box"

If telling someone feels too hard, we can always write a note about it. If the school has a ‘Problem box’ we can use that, or just give the note to an adult.

Tease back

We can show the bully that they are not more powerful than us by pointing out something about them. This can be tricky as it might turn into something more aggressive and everyone can end up getting into trouble. Behaving the same way as the bully makes us bullies too, so maybe this idea wouldn’t work very well.

Cry

Depending on who the bully is, some of them might like it if we cry and show they have hurt our feelings. Have a cry, it can make us feel better, but maybe with a friend or parent.

Avoid them

Keeping out of their way might sound like a good idea, but it’s a shame if that means we don’t join in the football or whatever it is we want to do, just because they might be there.

Talk to someone else

It doesn’t really matter who we talk to – a friend, a parent, a teacher, a brother or sister – it’s just a good idea not to keep this to ourselves as we will usually feel worse about it and we won’t have anyone to help us decide what to do.

Stick with your friends

Some bullies are more likely to stop if we have other people around us, rather than picking on us when we’re on our own. So being with friends during breaks take away the opportunities for teasing and bullying.

Agree with them

This one sounds strange, doesn’t it! But we have tried it out and it can be really powerful. When someone says “You’ve got a stammer”, we can say “Yes I have”. There’s not much more that they can say at that point. We have agreed with them but also shown that they aren’t hurting us, and chances are, they will stop. We like to practise doing this with each other in a role play, just so that we know how to do it. Maybe you could practise at home with someone.

Hopefully you can see one that you would like to try!
 
ACTIVITY: pick out the six ideas that you think are best and try them out next time. If one doesn't work for you, then try another. You'll feel better just having some ideas.
 
Have a go!
Working on it!