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7 Things to Never Tease Your Child About

Parenting comes with its share of challenges, and while humor and playful joking can be a valuable tool in building strong connections with our children, there are certain topics that should be off-limits when it comes to teasing. Teasing, when done inappropriately, can have a lasting impact on a child’s emotional well-being and teach siblings how to treat one another and others. This article explores the importance of being mindful of the topics we choose to tease our kids about and offers guidance on fostering a supportive and nurturing environment.

dad and son laughing

I’ve caught myself a few times making a teasing remark about my child in front of friends, only to look over and see an embarrassed look on my son’s face. These moments I’ve had to check myself and apologize to my kids when I tease them in front of others. Even though my heart was in the right place, and I said it because I find their quirks endearing or funny, I have to remember my child may not see it that way.

Our family has a sarcastic sense of humor, and I continually have to be cognizant of my child’s perspective, even if it’s within our family.

For example, my son is at an age where his voice is changing and cracking all day. I find it adorable and have laughed a few times it happened at the funniest times. At first, I didn’t realize what I was doing, but my son voiced to me that it embarrassed him. I apologized and had to stop immediately.

Our kids sometimes do the cutest and funniest things, and it’s often hard not to laugh in these situations. But it affects them more than I realize, and again, I just have to be mindful.

Here are some things that kids should NEVER be teased about, no matter how funny we think the situation is.

Be mindful of how you praise your children in front of others

We also must be mindful about how we praise our children in front of others. Saying things in front of our children to others, like, “So and so got straight A’s this year,” might lead your child to think that you are only impressed by their accomplishments, not who they are as a person. As it is not a bad thing to praise your child on their accomplishments, doing it to others in front of our kids is a different story.

Allow your child to express their own accomplishments if they want to share. But speaking for our children and bragging about them to others is something to be cautious of.

family laughing

7 Things Parents Should Never Tease Their Child About

As with the little quirks we find funny that we may tease our kids about, here are a few big no-nos when it comes to teasing them. Some are rather obvious, but not to some. Parents always have to check themselves and remember that children are sometimes sensitive, and that’s not bad. Parents should be the safe space where children can express themselves. When we resort to teasing, this could affect that relationship aspect.

1. Physical Appearance

Teasing (or even making a remark) a child about their physical appearance, whether it’s their height, weight, or any physical features, can significantly impact their self-esteem. Children are still developing a sense of self, and negative comments about their appearance can contribute to body image issues later in life.

Comments like, “You are such a skinny mini!” or “Look at that big belly!” can be seemingly harmless, but not to our children. Our children often view themselves through our eyes.

2. Academic Performance

Every child has unique strengths and weaknesses, and teasing about academic performance can create unnecessary stress. Instead of focusing on grades, it’s essential to encourage a love of learning and provide support where needed.

“What!? our smarty pants got a B?!”

3. Hobbies and Interests

Children often explore various hobbies and interests to discover their passions. Teasing them about these choices can discourage their creativity and self-expression. Encouraging exploration and celebrating their interests helps build confidence and resilience.

4. Friendships and Social Skills

Social dynamics can be challenging for children, and teasing about friendships or social skills can exacerbate their insecurities. Instead of teasing, parents should offer guidance and support, helping children navigate social situations and build healthy relationships.

“I saw you playing with Ella. Is she your girlfriend?!” It’s important not to comment about a child playing with the opposite gender. We need to encourage opposite-gender relationships for our kids so they don’t think that just because a friend is a different gender automatically makes them a “girlfriend” or “boyfriend.”

5. Personal Habits or Quirks

Children may have personal habits or quirks that make them unique. Teasing about these idiosyncrasies can lead to feelings of inadequacy. Encouraging individuality and respecting personal boundaries helps children develop a positive sense of self.

“Is that REALLY your laugh?!” Even if your child is being goofy, be careful not to tease them at that moment.

6. Personal Challenges or Struggles

Everyone faces challenges, and children are no exception. Teasing them about personal struggles, whether it’s being shy or a particular difficulty, can erode their confidence. Instead, offer support and encouragement to help them overcome obstacles.

“Don’t be so shy! Go say hello!” You can avoid pointing out their possible struggle with socializing while still encouraging them to say hello.

“Do you want to go say hello? I’m sure they would like to play just like you.”

7. Future Aspirations

Teasing a child about their future aspirations can stifle their dreams and ambitions. Instead of discouraging them, parents should foster an environment where children feel free to explore their passions and set their own goals.


Teasing, when done thoughtlessly, can leave lasting emotional scars on a child. It’s crucial for parents to be mindful of the impact their words can have and to create an environment that promotes emotional well-being. By avoiding certain topics and embracing open communication, parents can build a foundation of trust, respect, and support, ensuring their children grow into confident and resilient individuals. Remember, the words we choose today shape the adults our children become tomorrow.