Child being picked on because he is short - FamilyEducation
Child being picked on because he is short
09/08/2007 at 23:05 PM

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.

Hey tce71,


Welcome to the boards.  My daughter is very short, she is 15 and just a little over 5 feet tall.  People have always teased her about being so little.  I know it can be harder for boys than girls though.  I am only 5'1 but my husband is 6 feet tall, I guess she just got my genes.


Your son will probably go through a growth spur at some point and the difference in height will be less noticable.  For now, I think the best way for him to deal with it is to deal with it with humor or a matter of fact comment like you said.  Do you think it is bothering him?  You know, if someone asks him why he is so short, he could say, why are you so tall?


Anyone else have any ideas?




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.



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 Cocktail 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!


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.






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 !!


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


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!


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.


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!" :-)


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.


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.

I love that your son can respond in such a way! I'm going to use this as an example for my son the next time someone says something to him. Thx!

Great post! It's very nice. Thank you so much for your post. _______________ Watch The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Online

While the original post is more than three years old, this is something I find myself dealing with today. I hope the original parent who posted comes back and tells us how their son is doing now. I really appreciate everyone's advice and tips. I love the martial arts tip; I think we'll do that. We tell our 5-yr-old son, who is just starting to hear "you're shorter than everyone" and "how old are you? you're really short!" to respond with, "yes, everyone's different. and that's what makes us special." It works for now, but we'll have to think of something cooler as he gets older. What's great is that he seems to take the answer we gave him as simply matter-of-fact, and it suits him fine. The other kids don't usually know what to say in response. So then he'll suggest something fun to do or tell a joke, and they play with him 'cause he's really fun and talkative. He's one of the most popular, and shortest, kids in his class. And the teachers also tell us, he's actually one of the smartest! We know he'll be dealing with this for years to come, but as long as he doesn't ever learn the false notion that there's something "wrong" with being shorter than others, I think this will bother me a thousand times more than it will ever phase him. And that, I can live with.

Hi there. I think humor is the best way for him to handle this situation. What strong characteristic can your son say he has... say something like.... I may be short, but I'm terribly funny or I may be short, but I can kick a football mighty far or something like that. I would maybe suggest something like marshall arts to help build his confidence as well as allow him to gain some self defense moves. This can come in hand with bullies who may try to get physical with him. Good luck. only2boys

My son, a 1st grader, has been getting picked on for his height (or lack there of) as well. He's such a tender hearted child. He never has anything mean to say to anyone, so it's hard for him to react to being teased. He kind of just smiles uncomfortably while these boys laugh at him. Just tonight at a cub scouts meeting, some taller boys were laughing at him and telling him he looked like a one year old, three year old tops. He's 6 1/2. In the past, I've explained to him that his parents and grandparents are short. But one grampa's a doctor, the other a chemist, dad is a computer genius...and we are all smart, funny people who are very happy. That it's okay to not be tall. But after tonight, I started trying to think of some come backs for when they say "hey, you're short" he can say "yeah, I'm short. So what?" Problem is, he's shy. And when he's nervous, he acts goofy. So I don't know how well this will play out. He also has a muscle disorder so he's not athletic and probably couldn't throw a punch if he had to. So I'm also thinking of signing him up for martial arts. He probably won't like it, but I really want to teach him to have confidence and respect for himself, and to be able to defend himself once he's older if this teasing continues or worsens.