Difference Between Teasing and Taunting

Always stop to think whether your fun may be the cause of another’s unhappiness – Aesop

It’s important that our kids understand the difference between playful teasing and hurtful taunting. Here are a few differences noted by author Barbara Coloroso:

A. Is intended to get both parties to laugh.
B. Isn’t intended to hurt the other person.
C. Pokes fun in a light-hearted, clever, and benign way.
D. Allows the teaser and the person tease to swap roles with ease.
E. Is discontinued when person teased becomes upset or objects to the teasing.


A. Includes laughter directed at the target, not with the target.
B. Is intended to harm.
C. Involves humiliating, cruel, demeaning, or bigoted comments thinly disguised as jokes.
D. Is based on an imbalance of power and is one-sided: the bully taunts, the bullied kid is taunted.
E. Continues especially when targeted kid becomes distressed or objects to the taunt.


Difference Between Teasing and Taunting — 2 Comments

  1. Ms.Dudley,
    I enjoyed talking with you and looking at your website today. As a former public school special educator, and presently a reading tutor, I am always interested in ideas and books to help children in their busy lives. Margaret

    • Many thanks, Margaret. I’d love to hear and share your recommendations from time to time–and I hope your students will enjoy the free activity sheets on my site. Thanks again for visiting my website.

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