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Different Families


In small groups (of twos or threes) ask the Pioneers to make a list of all the things they can think of which people get teased for – give them a few examples to start them off: being overweight, wearing unfashionable clothes, having spots, liking someone etc.

Get the whole group back together and compile the lists on a flip chart sheet. Discuss how teasing / bullying can make people feel.

Ask the participants:

  • Are some of these reasons for teasing OK and others not OK?
  • Is it ever OK to tease someone?
  • What do you do if your friends are teasing someone?

Get the group to line up in order of height. Who is the smallest in the group – who is the tallest? What difference does it make to the way these people participate in the group? Return to the circle. If the list of teases includes references to being gay, being a lesbian, or having an unconventional family, pick up on this for further discussion. If none of these were included in the list, ask the Pioneers whether they have ever heard someone being teased because:

  • They have a close friend of the same sex;
  • their behaviour or interests don’t fit those of the boy or girl stereotype (you may need to remind the Pioneers what a stereotype is);
  • they have an unconventional family.

Point out that this sort of teasing relies on pointing out that someone is different from what is ‘normal’.

Discuss with the group how we decide what is ‘normal’. Take the example of families: Ask the Pioneers what sorts of families they can think of and make a list on a flip chart. They list could include:

  • families with a mum and dad,
  • two mums,
  • two dads;
  • one-parent families – one mum, one dad;
  • step families;
  • foster families;
  • adoptive families;
  • families with grandparents instead of parents;
  • single child families;
  • families with two, three or more children;
  • extended families.

If your group are confident with each other you might invite them to say what sort of family they live in. How many different sorts of families are represented in your group? Alternatively you can ask the group ‘who knows someone’ who lives in each of the different sorts of families identified. Ask the group to say what they think makes a good family. The answer you’re looking for is one which loves, cares for and supports all its members – not one with a particular number of adults and children of certain genders.


  • Are people excluded on purpose?
  • Why might a group of people exclude others?
  • How does being excluded make people feel?
  • What can you do if you are being teased or bullied?
  • How can you make sure you include people?
  • What can we do, as a group, to be better at including people?

Resources Required

Flipchart paper; pens and paper


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