tce71's picture

Child being picked on because he is short

My son, a 2nd grader, is very short for his age.  He gets it honest as neither his mother nor myself are taller than 5'7".   Though he does not appear to be lacking in confidence, he is beginning to get picked on in school.  He asked me what he should tell other kids when they ask him why he is so short?

Does anyone have any advice that I can give him?  Anything I can tell him to say when that question comes up again from a schoolmate? I told him to blame it on his dad, but am wondering if there are other suggestions out there.   Thanks for any insight.

susana's picture

dear mother,

I`m in the same position as yours , but let me tell you that you must increase your child self-esteem so much because the society builds an image of ideal person that anyone who doesn`t fit it , it mustn`t be there.

My nine year old son is being studied because he hasn`t been growing in a good way, but luckily he understands that people must be judge or measure not because their height ,we have to see if they are good or bad.I hink descrimination is not good or healthy, obviously any kind of descrimination can hurt so much that doesn`t allow people to grow in a good way.

so , help your child and show him how important people around the world can or could do amazing things eventhough their height.

good luck.


itisazoohere's picture

My son vertically challenged.  He is in 4th grade.  A bully at school is calling him Shorty, among other things.  It really bothers my son and it shows.

My neighbor's son is also in 4th grade and is about 1" shorter than my son.  He said someone used to call him Shrimp [filtered word]tail and that it didn't bother him.  The key words in the previous sentence is "used to".  So, maybe have your son say, "That's the way I'm made I guess, doesn't bother me!" 

Hope it helps!

irvicky's picture

I have a 2nd who is not only short but little overall.  He is one of the oldest in his class.  His hardest time is during PE since he can't keep up with his friends.  He really does not like any kind of sports since it's hard for him to be competitive due to his size.

I try to keep encouraging him but I can't turn him into someone he is not.  He is very bright and that's his stronghold.  The bigger kids like him around because he is helpful and funny.  Since he started school his best friend is surprisingly the biggest kid in class.  I know it bothers him when he does get teased by others because of his size but I trying to teach him that it's not size that matters but who he is. The sweet thing is that his friends actually stand up for him when he gets teased.

's picture

No matter how tall or how short you are you shouldnt have to blame it on anyone. Simply that you were born that way and feel proud of it. I honestly feel bad for your son for being picked on but telling him to blame  it on anyone is not the right answer. For he doesn't have to give explanations to anyone about his height. Encourage him that while others are tall their are alot of people who are short too.Remember from the seed grows a root then a sprout, from the sprout , the seedling leaves, from the leaves , the stem, around the stem , the branches, at the top , the flower..... We cannot say that the seed causes the growth , nor the soil does. We can say the potentialities for growth lies within the seed in mysterious life forces, which , properly fostered, take on different forms. He may be short but will grow up to be someone while those who are tall and calling him names may amount to nothing in life. Please motivate him to go on to sports and never be afraid to try anything in life. You'll see !!

victoriousword's picture

That's a good thing he's confident. Though it will be best that he maintains that confidence by reassuring him and ask him to be more patient. At his age, development seems a life time LoL. This is the age when kids grow a little slower.

You can also tell him that being short is no obstruction, since there are many famous people who are short and it never becomes a hindrance to their success. Blaming it on the genes might give him a negative impression. You have to be confident so you can show him that there is really no problem. ;D

chicagomom's picture

My 9.9 yr son is short for his age as well -- his 7 yr brother is only a inch shorter than him, and outweighs him. They are constantly asked if they're twins.

All you can do is say, "You are who you are!" We know some other brother sets that have similar "size configurations", so maybe he sees its not that weird.

LOL -- I love the "why are you so tall" retort!

tce71's picture

Thanks to everyone for your responses.  My son knows that people come in all shapes, sizes and colors and I do not think that he feels he has a disadvantage in most things other than athletics.  Fortunately, this has not kept him from trying and participating.

I think what I am looking for here is perhaps some advice I can specifically give him with regard to what to say to another kid who picks on him.  Keep in mind, we're talking about a response to other children.  Though the advice about the seed, the root, the sprout and the leaves is fantastic...I'm afraid that is probably not the best approach for him to take with his peers.  Can you imagine the consequences of that?

I think I may go along with the response of "that's just the way I am".  As one of you mentioned, it leaves out any blame and it also isn't confrontational.  With time, knowing his personality, he will probably be able to throw in some humor into the subject if necessary and if the other kid sees that it isn't bothering my son, then it's not worth continuing on with picking on him.  Thanks again, tce.

vabc1200's picture

I was just wondering how things are going since you last posted about this. My son, 10 and in 4th grade has dealt with this pretty heavily for the last 2 years. He has become the class clown in an effot to use humor, and so we've had to tame that  a little bit, but it's helped him.  However; it seems like once he wins over one bully, a new one crops up. Just yesterday he told me someone was picking on him at recess because of being short.. calling him "shrimp" etc.  I did step in once last year, when talking to teachers, etc. hadn't worked and called the other mother. NOT good. Very defensive, which I understand. I try to equip him with words, etc he can use but as a kid, it's tough. We also have told him that sometimes there comes a time when he may have to defend himself, physically. Our school supposedly has a zero tolerance policy for bullying, but  I haven't seen much evidence of it. As a former teacher of 16 years, i ALWAYS stepped up to the plate to defend the kids being picked on. So I tell my son to always tell the teacher, but as you would guess, he doesn't want to be known as the tattle tail!   we talk about bible examples (David and Goliath, David and Saul...) but it's still hard to grasp as a child who is being picked on. But it does help him when we pray about it, and can look back and see how God worked it out.

All this to say, I can CO- miserate with you!!!"I feel your pain!" :-)

Marlis+2's picture

Neither my dh nor myself are over 5'3". My daughter is average height at 8 years old. My son who is 2½ is short for his age. I fully expect him to have to deal with this as he gets older. But, I'll simply do what another set of parents of an unusually short boy are doing in my dd's Taekwondo class are doing...teach the tyke martial arts. Not so he can beat up bullies and become one himself, but to teach him that self respect, confidence and ability come in packages that can be of any size.  My son is already really interested but he is too small to take direction so he'll have to wait for some more time. 

BTW, the child in my dd's martial arts class is almost 5 (I think) but about the size of a 3 year old.  He is a great kid though and other than having trouble finding pants that fit (trouble for my dh for sure - they don't do petite in mens)  I doubt he'll ever have any issues. He's got great parents.

himain10ance's picture

My little boy is in 2nd grade and has just started getting teased by other children because he's very tiny. He weighs 45 lbs.Kids call him midget and say" hey your short". He comes back with "Thanks and you forgot to mention , smart, funny, adorable, cute, athletic and he keeps listing positive things about himself. The other kids just start laughing and the teasing has stopped. He also has said " Thanks! I love hearing about myself tell me more" and the other children dont know what to say. You need to approach this in a VERY positive way not negative. He is who he is and you cant change that so teaching him to blame others like his father will only cause resentment and teach him to blame others in the future for things he cannot control.