A common question we receive from kids is: “What do I do if a friend makes fun of me?”
If it’s a Friendship Fire®, we always encourage them to Talk-it-Out when the time is right and work their way around the Friend-o-Cycle. But, lots of times, it’s just a little moment (not a conflict) that simply requires one of our favourite strategies called: ASK & PASS.
ASK & PASS is one of our 4 strategies in our Friendology friendship skills curriculum for schools that teaches kids how to make new friends and deepen connections. ASK & PASS is specifically focused on helping them learn and practise the art of conversation. We explain to students that a conversation is like a game of catch: They ask a question (throw the ball), the other person answers (catch the ball), and then asks them a question back (pass the ball back). Ask and pass, ask and pass, back and forth.
However, when kids are ‘questioned’ about something that highlights a difference between them and their friends, it can sometimes evoke feelings of insecurity or they feel self-conscious. We need to remind children and teens that they’re not the same as their friends & they’re not supposed to be + when someone notices something ‘different’ about them, to simply ask them a question back.
Here’s how the ASK & PASS strategy works:
- Kid 1: “What’s that weird mark on your leg?”
- Kid 2: “It’s a birthmark. Do you have a birthmark?”
- Kid 1: “Eww! Do you like hummus? That’s gross!”
- Kid 2: “Yep, I love hummus. What’s in your lunch?”
- Kid 1: “I got 95% on the test. What did you get?”
- Kid 2: “I failed it, actually. Have you ever failed a test? Any tips for me?”
We say to students, “When it feels like someone is making fun of you or asking you a question that makes you uncomfortable, don’t hold onto the ball. Throw it back by asking them question!” It helps take the focus off them and the conversation keeps on rolling.
URSTRONG SCHOOLS: Check out our interactive, digital card game in the Resource Centre!
URSTRONG FAMILIES: Pop on this video for your child to teach them how to stand up for themselves like a Friendship Ninja!
Written by: Dana Kerford
Founder & Friendship Expert