Difference Between Teasing and Bullying

Teasing vs Bullying

Were you upset when the first time your child came home from his school crying, because he was teased by some fellow students about the way he dresses or walks? Did you counsel your son studying in High School when some students tried to dominate him physically? Teasing and bullying are two commonly encountered social behavior problems indicative of discrimination and use or threat of use of violence. Teasing is considered to be comparatively less harmful while bullying may be harmful not just physically but also for the psyche of the victim of such incidents. There are many differences in these two socially unacceptable behaviors. However, there are people who feel that teasing and bullying are the same as far as the result on the victim are concerned, and they even use the words interchangeably. This article tries to highlight the differences between teasing and bullying by describing their features.

Teasing and bullying start, rather surprisingly, at home between siblings when the elder one tries to dominate the younger one physically or threatens to use force to make him bow to the whims and eccentricities of the elder one. The younger one, as he cannot hope to conquer elder sibling physically, retaliates by teasing him in front of the perceived security of parents. This goes on for long till both siblings become mature.


When you make fun of sense of dressing, way of talking, gait, or some other behavior of a person, you are teasing him just for the sake of fun. Teasing is very common in society and is often considered a way of relating with others. It starts on the first day of the school for a child as when he or she faces remarks from other kids in the school. It is obvious all kids cannot be similar or alike in all ways. But coping with teasing may be different in different kids. Some get irritated and upset while others take it sportingly. As long as teasing is for the sake of poking fun at others, it remains harmless. It is when teasing becomes intentional and repetitive, it becomes a kind of bullying, as the victim of teasing feels humiliated being taunted in front of others. Normally, intimidation and aggressive behaviors are not involved in teasing, and it is more to have fun than causing distress for the victim.

Teasing is more of a social disappointment when dealing with others and an imbalance that takes place in interactions with peers or colleagues. Often teasing takes an ugly turn in small schoolchildren and may take the shape of a scuffle or fight, but that does not convert it into bullying.


Has your kid changed the route to school he used to take going on a bicycle? Do his items get stolen, or clothing often found torn? Does he feel powerless and cries because he can’t take the humiliation? These may be signs of a problem much deeper than encountered with teasing. Bullying is an unacceptable social behavior, which can cause insecurity and inferiority in the minds of the victim and the victim may start to feel unsafe in the premises of school or office. Bullying affects the mental make up and the psyche of the child or adult and makes him withdrawn inward, socially fearful, and a misfit. Bullying is a crime, and it should not be tolerated by parents when disclosed by the child.


What is the difference between Teasing and Bullying?

• Teasing and bullying are social behaviors causing distress for the victim.

• Teasing is harmless and more for fun than bullying, which can be harmful both physically, as well as psychologically.

• Teasing is mostly verbal or copying actions of the victim while bullying can take many forms, which can involve the use of force or threat of use of force, to invite meek submission from the victim.

• Teasing becomes bullying when the victim is upset but cannot retaliate for fear of harm to him.