Are you familiar with the story of Cyrano de Bergerac? My favorite scene is where a man points out that his nose is rather large. Cyrano then goes off with all of the insults the man could have used, but didn't.
We have a similar situation going on around here. The seating arrangements in Shea's class were recently shuffled and resulted in Shea being seated by a boy who calls my son retarded daily. Not surprisingly, this kind of bugs Shea. Rich and I both offered our (ahem) sage counsel.
Rich's solution: [aka the boy solution] Retaliate with like insults. There was a brainstorming session which brought up such words as butt licker.
My solution: [aka the Cyrano approach] Point out that this young man's vocabulary is exceedingly limited. Offer up five or six alternatives to the word "retarded". I'm happy to say Shea listed a host of possible words immediately... but we went to the thesaurus for extra firepower.
We'll see what happens. I'm curious though- what would your advice to Shea be?