Teenage boys Being "Dissed"=fate Worse than death?

My stepson seems to have an inordinate obsession with (not0 being “dissed” (disrespected. apparently, being “dissed” by one’s associates 9and not challenging this) are pretty serious issues-your standing in the group can decline quite a bit if you are ‘dissed". What’s this all baout? i know, being a teenager is a tough-it is a time when you forge your identity. but this "dissed’ thing has me puzzled…

It doesn’t sound all that different from when I was in high school (90-94) and I doubt it was all that different when you were in school. We all had a certain level of social status that could change should someome start to pick on you. I think the only thing that’s really changed is the jargon used by kids these days. If someone walked up to me in the lunch room and said “you’re mother is a whore” I wouldn’t think to myself I was being dissed but I certainly would have retalited with words of my own and I suppose there’s always a slim chance of it escalating to the point where I stomp his guts out.


Teen angst, and the concept of “image”, I presume. Teens seem to be more high strung than most, if I may speak in broad sweeping generalities.

“I can’t let folks see me passively accepting disrespect directed towards me!”

Sounds like the male/machismo stuff most of us males dealt with in high and Jr. high schools. The tough guys expected the lowlifes to clear outta their way in the halls. If you don’t, you got cleared. (Fortunately, no knives or guns were thought to be needed.)

Basically, if he is standing up for himself in the face of a bully, that’s ok. But if his sense of being dissed is such that he becomes an overreactive bully, then he needs someone to bring him back down to Earth.

Humble opinion, based on NOT having to raise children myself. But I was one, myself. :slight_smile:

Teenagers can be melodramatic- a lot of things that an older person would just blow off can seem like a “fate worse than death” to them.

Of course, teenagers also don’t really have the options that older people do for leaving a social group that no longer suits them and finding a new one. If an older person were being hassled by their friends, they could stop seeing those people. If the people in question were at work, they might be able to get the boss or HR to step in on their behalf or, if it were really bad and that didn’t work, they could change jobs. A teenager would have to change schools to get away from their former friends in that way, and the vast majority of parents won’t get behind their kid changing schools for a reason like that.

I have a couple of teenaged nephews and being dissed doesn’t seem to be a huge worry of theirs. Would probably be more likely to laugh it off than get upset.

I was a loner in the middle school years. I knew that members of the popular cliques insulted me frequently, but I didn’t care. In high school I found a peer group mature enough that they no longer needed to insult each other or outsiders. I would guess that your stepson is magnifying the suffering. A dis may lead to a minor, short-term drop in status, but not the permanent demotion that he’s imagining. You might try explaining to him that the other boys in school are not taking careful notes so that they can carefully put every boy in the proper place in the heirarchy. Rather, each only cares about his own place in the heirarchy. Further, each one is just as much afraid of losing status as your stepson is.

People need to learn to be internally-directed rather than to worry about the opinions of others. If he allows his peace of mind to be disturbed by the opinions of others, he’s not in control of his own destiny. Tell him it’s pathetic to hand your emotional power to others that way. You keep your power not by beating up people who ‘diss’ you but by ignoring their opinions. The sooner he learns this, the better.

Sounds a lot like the old “sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me” argument. Words can do a tremendous amount of damage to someone and that doesn’t make a person weak. What if someone started spreading rumors around your place of employment saying that you were a poor team player, apt to steal from the company, or sleeping with the boss? Would you just ignore it because you won’t allow your peace of mind to be disturbed by the opinions of others?

We live in a social world. The opinion of others does matter.


The example you gave goes beyond being “dissed”, IMO.

Case 1: People snicker at me, call me “shorty”, call me “four eyes”. (The classic "diss"es of my youth.)

Case 2: People tell my boss that I have been stealing from the cash register.

For me, for case #1, I usually don’t give a hoot. (I’m not perfectly comfortable with myself, but I’m working on it…)

Case #2, I need to nip that sucker in the bud, lest I have legal or employment problems.

Keeping life’s little challenges in their proper perspective is what I’m talking about. Appropriately measured responses to the various social interactions we have are expected by others, once we reach a certain age.

Is the OP’s son is reacting out of proportion to the cases? That needs to be examined on a case by case basis. (He gave no examples for us to weigh in on.)

Some anecdotes from my own childhood: in 5th grade I was transfered from a private to a public school. I was the new kid and I got teased a lot, particularly from one big-for-his-age kid named Josh. Well, one fine day I decided I’d had enough, and I gave him a fist to the nose. It bloodied him tremendously and he burst into tears. That was the day the teasing ended, from him or anyone else.

Freshman year of high school: I’m on the wrestling team, completely inexperienced, and I’m taking a lot of shit from some of the big, corn-fed, dirt-bike racing farm kids - particularly one very big, intimidating guy named Billy. One night at a varsity meet, us JV guys were dicking around in the gym as usual when Billy gets in my face over something or other, and I tell him he can go fuck himself and I’ll fight him for real and settle it now. We snuck down to the mat room, turned on the lights, and a huge crowd (the whole JV team, plus a bunch of JV wrestlers from other schools at the meet who couldn’t resist watching) formed around us. Billy and I shook hands and then started wailing on each other. We must have gone at it on that mat for 30 minutes, choking, punching and grappling, before he finally got me in a choke hold and there was nothing I could do but tap out and give up.

I felt completely humiliated and defeated - for about 10 minutes. But after that it became abundantly clear, to myself and everyone else, that I had just held my own for half an hour against a 6’2, 180 pound guy, and the whole team looked at me differently. I was no longer to be fucked with and they knew it. The big varsity seniors could still rib me - this was expected for everyone - but I didn’t have to take any more shit from my fellow JV teammates. Even Billy nodded his head at me in the halls after that. The point is, even though I lost that fight, what mattered is that I stood up for myself.

You have to stand up for yourself. Nobody should overreact to something minor and make it physical, but the OP should tell his stepson to not let other guys walk all over him at school. This is not the same thing as finding insults where there are none and being an asshole over it, or feeling like you need to swagger around everywhere with a mean look in your eyes - I’m just saying that years of potential bullying can be avoided by standing up to one bully one time.

I would think very little of anyone who’d listen to such a rumour and not demand proof before believing it. Certainly nobody that unfair deserves my good opinion and I don’t care about his. And if it’s my boss, I’m better off gone than working for someone who’d believe ‘rumours’ and not insist on evidence.

Yeah…that’s bitch talk (no dis intended).

The “ignore them and it’ll go away” strategy didn’t work as a kid and it doesn’t work as an adult. In the workplace, professional reputation is critical and you don’t always have the option of switching jobs. Not that it matters because the same jerks will be at that next company.
You need to responds to a “dis” but the response has to be proportional and appropriate. If you constantly overreact, people will think you’re a psycho and having that kind of reputation is usually worse than the original affront.

In some of the neighborhoods I have lived in (L.A.) the concept of being “dissed” is so out of proportion it is rediculous. These little gangsta shiites are so ignorant they consider anyone even glancing at them in passing to be a “dis”. Knives and guns ensue. Talk about a hair-trigger linked to a short-fuse. Lord deliver me.

So, your boss hears rumors you’re not a team player, or that you’re a thief or worse, and he supposes, not unreasonably: Why would people spread such rumors if there weren’t some truth behind it? Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. What happens when your next employer calls your last employer for a reference? Or if you refuse to give your last employer as a reference, what do you say? The truth would sound very sketchy: “I can’t give my last employer as a reference, because I left that job over a nasty rumor about my character.” What happens when someone recognizes you and casually mentions to someone else, “You know, I heard Quiddity Glomfuster can’t be trusted.”

Now, it is now longer a rumor. Now, it has metastasized to your reputation.

I agree with this.

Don’t forget advertisers throw it in our faces too. Look at the new cell phone ad. I forget the company but it’s all about “Are you gonna be in my FIVE?”

In other words the cell phone, which if we all are honest is 99% not necessary, is now being used as a WEAPON to get even with others. In other words you have to be in someone’s five people the can call for free or you’re a nobody.

And the advertisers play up on the fact. (And yes face it you don’t NEED a cellphone)

Now wonder you son feels this way, people all over are telling him it is the right thing to do

It’s important to remember that one really important perk of popularity is that you get to date, and if not have sex, to at least engage in various preliminaries. There are exceptions, but dating in highschool is largely heirarchical–people are only willing to date people they percieve as being as or more popular than themselves, which basically means the top 15% date each other and everyone else alternates between mooning after the people they’d like to date up the ladder and being offended at the thought that someone down the ladder wants to date them. This pattern is stronger at some schools than others. Hormones are a mess at that age, and kids don’t handle sexual frustration well–it can come out in really odd ways.

Not at my high school. Kids from every social clique from the most popular rich kids and athletes to the science nerds, band geeks, and dirt-bike racin’ rednecks, dated each other. Pretty much always inside the clique, but they still dated like crazy.

Tell him to stop whining, that regardless of how it seems now things like this are complete and utter bullsh*t.

And tell him to stop listening to rap and study more… :smiley:

Actually, I only use a cell phone (with email, IM and GPS). Everyone I know has a cell phone as their primary phone.