Yesterday, while trick or treating, several of my 5 year old's friends were making fun his name in an unpleasant manner. The mom of these other kids were there but they did not notice this behavior or perhaps chose to ignore it.

I was unsure how to react in the above situation and would appreciate some tips for the future.

4 Answers 4


I would say something along the lines of "That's not a very nice way to talk to our friends" to the children in question. The parents would invariably notice what you said and may choose to follow it up with more stern words if they feel it appropriate, depending on the situation.

If the child/children continue at least the other parents are now aware of it and will hopefully step in. If they do not then you need to choose whether to raise the stakes between you and the other parent. If so, you can follow this with a "do you mind if I stop your child talking to mine in that way?" ... i.e. a request to be more stern with their child. As adults and friends this should result in resolution quickly about how to move forward. Just be sure to respect their point of view too!

  • Excellent approach re: the other parents! Nov 8, 2011 at 19:39
  • 1
    That's-a not-a very nice should be said in a Mario voice?
    – Konerak
    Nov 16, 2011 at 12:11
  • :-) Good point! I'll edit it. If you ever do it please use a Mario voice and let us know how it goes. It'd probably help as the tone I had in mind was not at all cross, but more "factual".
    – noelicus
    Nov 16, 2011 at 14:01

I think you have to model for the other children and your child how to respond to a bully. And although we throw this word around a lot, it sounds like that is what was happening, your child was being bullied. Studies have shown that when people stand up for the "victim" the bully will stop or move on. So, in this case I would suggest just simply saying, "That is not nice. You wouldn't like it if people were making fun of your name." If it continued, I would find a way to leave the situation. I would explain that we are not "running away" but let your child know that he doesn't have to hang around with people who are not kind to him. I wouldn't worry about what the other mother thought about the comment or your leaving.
Your child needs to know that you are there to stand up for him, then he will have the courage and self-worth to stand up for himself in the future...and maybe the next time this child begins teasing another child, your child (or another) will follow your lead!

  • Hi Bonita, and welcome to the site. This is a great answer, +1!
    – user420
    Nov 11, 2011 at 18:37

There is a lot to be said for letting children sort out this sort of thing, but the final call needs to come down to you as a parent - do you think your child was getting upset by it, or treating it as banter.

If it upset my child I would have called it out then and there - the same way I would if it were my own children making fun of another, pointing out to them that it wasn't a nice thing to do.

Then the parents would either back you up, or have to take an opposing standpoint. I can't think of any of my children's friend's parents doing this, more likely would be they either weren't paying attention or just leaving it up to the kids to sort out.


I'd suggest to the kids that it's not nice to talk that way, but unless my kid was upset I wouldn't do more than that and steer conversation away from the incident. With 5 year olds that is easy, and on Halloween it's even easier "hey look at those decorations!". Thing is if it happens in front of you, it can happen when you are not present. Try and find out from your child if it is constant and see what you can do about it, your child may not care or if he does its a good time to talk about it. Parents may back things up when they are around, but its a good life skill to be able to teach your children how to back themselves up sometimes.

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