Ask AF: Tweens and Teasing

Once your child reaches middle school, other children may start teasing her about her adoption. Help her have responses at the ready.

Q: My kids have always had a joking relationship with their cousins, but, now that they’re in middle school, the joking has become teasing — often about the way they look or the fact that they were adopted. My kids say their cousins are just kidding, but I wonder whether I should talk to them.

 

A: Kids in middle school are notorious for teasing others about anything that is different. It is probably better to work this through with your children, rather than with the cousins. You might give your children some nonchalant replies to the cousins’ teasing, such as, “Being adopted isn’t news to you. Why are you talking about it now?” or “Duh, I’m Chinese…you just noticed?”

Middle school is the time to be sure that your children have an updated adoption story, and are not still working off the “baby version” of their life. They should understand that they can set boundaries about how much information they are willing to share. Rehearse replies to deflect general questions and teasing, such as, “Why were you adopted?” / “My parents adopted me because they love me.” Or, “What does it feel like to be adopted?” / “What does it feel like to not be adopted?”

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