Is it possible that you have a young bully in training? With shows like Toddlers & Tiaras we see preschool age girls bullying and hitting other girls and boys as well as their parents also. No matter what your child’s age, bullying is not acceptable.
I can’t think of any parent that is pleased to find out their kid is the school bully. Many parents are trying their best to provide a stable, safe and loving home environment. Many parents whose kids are the recipients of the bullying are now expecting it so they are preparing their children at a young age to combat the bully.
Back in the day we never heard of bullying taking place in preschool. We were to busy eating the Play-dough. Bullying is often mistaken as a form of play fight. It may from afar appear as play fight when in actuality it is intentional hitting, kicking, biting, yelling and pushing. If your child is showing signs of being aggressive with others this is a good indication they may have larger problems when they get to middle and high school.
We cannot allow this behavior to go unnoticed. Many articles are written for parents whose kids are bullied. But what if your kid is the bully?
We have to take responsibility as parents to stop this behavior now. This may come as a shock but you the parent need to ask yourself if you are the bully to your kid? Is there an alcoholic in the house? Do the parents yell back and forth in front of the children? Are you displaying anger as a primary state of being in the house?
Don’t use this word around your young toddler just because they grabbed a toy from a kid. Let them work it out. Toddlers are acting on impulses. They are not trying to be intentionally mean and cruel.
The way children learn is through imitating their parents and through role playing. What do you say to your toddle? How does it come across? Instead of punishing or yelling at your child for misbehaving, tell them what it is about the behavior you do not like and how it can lead to hurting others.
There have been great advancements in media. Reading books to and with your child on a regular basis and asking questions that are open ended is helpful. “Why was the little boy in the story mean and upset with the little girl?” Also watch television shows such as Dora and Sesame Street. This is a great way for toddlers to see how other children interact appropriately.
Your toddler needs hand on training to avoid being the bully. Get them out of the house and switch up their normal routine. Teach them that volunteering and helping others is a valuable lesson. Get your toddler involved with you in organizations such as House of Hope, Goodwill, Meals on Wheels, etc. You are teaching your child respect for others and a heart for caring.
Toddlers believe that the world revolves around themselves. This is why is is so important to help them engage with other kids and learn to be kind and share. If not we keep them isolated and they lack the appropriate social skills necessary for later in life. Set up play dates, go to local parks and playgrounds. Find places and events to expose your child to other kids. Watch them interact and learn to develop the skills they need to be a success. When you see your toddler acting like the bully, pull them aside and ask them if they are aware of what they are doing.
The reason your toddler is acting up and playing the part of the bully is because he or she cannot find the words to express how they are feeling. Parents are to quick to rush in and do the work for them. Watch for your own codependency. Teach them instead to see that anger, fear, anxiety, frustration are all very normal as long as they do not take it out on another child. They will never learn to control their emotions if you do it for them. A toddler able to solve their own problems is far less likely to end up the bully.
Teach them to be assertive and not aggressive. Tell them to “speak their truth with authority.” If you are able to get them to tell a bully “no” and to walk away, then they are on the right path. They will not fall prey to the victim role or the role of the bully. Let your child tell on the bully if they feel it has gone to far. Teach them to gauge when they should let things slide and take it as a joke. They can say to the bully, “Thanks for the kind words.” or “that is the best joke I have heard today.”
Let’s teach our children and toddlers at a young age that the role of the bully serves no purpose. Start implementing the above suggested tips at a young age and you will more than likely have a well rounded caring child. Seek children counseling, Individual counseling or family therapy to gain a better understanding of how to help your child.