Advice for Dealing With Bullies
I’d say it’s safe to assume that at some point in each of our lives, we’ve been the target of bullying in some way, shape, or form. Particularly with the uproar of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, cyber-bullying in particular has become a problem with school-aged children as young as fourth and fifth grade. This, of course, is due in large part to our children growing up too fast in a world that is developing at an equally alarming rate, but nevertheless is cause for concern in parents and teachers alike. But when does bullying really begin? And how, once it’s begun, can we as parents and preschool San Diego teachers learn to end it quickly and swiftly.
Firstly, while preschoolers might not have the problems that their future selves will certainly have (puberty, crushes, ect…), and while they most definitely do not need to worry about cyber-bullying issues, they do encounter first hand bullying situations on an everyday basis. From the little girl who openly invites Susie, Sally, and Annie over to play after school, while leaving Cassie out, to the little boy who continually rejects Peter from playing in his sandbox but no one else, bullying is a very real problem. While most children might display feelings of hurt or anger at being forced to the sidelines, others will likely forget their feelings by the end of the day and move on, leaving parents none the wiser about bullying in the preschool San Diego school yard.
Luckily, handling the early signs and stages of bullying is something that most preschool teachers are prepared to do, but even so, understanding what you—the parent—can do while your child is outside of the preschool San Diego realm, can help but a stop to bullying before it gets out of hand as well.
If your child has exhibited bully-like qualities, rest assured that this is a part of them acting out their feelings and emotions albeit in an inappropriate manner. Try discussing playtime with your child and explain that playtime is for everyone, not just those they choose to play with. If this doesn’t work, be prepared to dole out time-outs as you see fit or to invite other kids—outside of the one’s your toddler has stated are okay—to play. While your preschooler may initially feel uncomfortable and even angry at the intrusion, they should come to realize that segregating their fellow-preschoolers in such a way is not tolerated.
It’s possible that your preschooler may not recognize the social and emotional cues from their fellow preschoolers that signify that their feelings have been hurt. Sit your toddler down and discuss empathy and kindness with them. Ask how they would feel if they were told they weren’t allowed to play with certain toys, areas, or with certain people. Chances are your toddler will admit that it wouldn’t feel good, which will get the discussion rolling about how that’s how so-and-so feels when they do those same things to them. Explain that being kind is a something we should be to everyone and that not being kind leads to hurt feelings and sadness.
Work On It
While your child might have a better understanding of why bullying is not allowed, they might still struggle with their impulsive feelings having control over every situation. If you see your child struggling during a play date, or on a preschool San Diego playground, or at the park, explain to them that they should invite the wronged preschooler to play. Have your child invite new members into their playgroup or invite others to participate in a game. While this might not come naturally for them in the beginning, the hope is to see their hard work pay off. Also, always remember to praise your child for their efforts; even if a child does not reciprocate their invitation, by giving your child the advice to invite others to play, you’ve also given them an opportunity for growth.
As mentioned above, if your child happens to have some bully-like tendencies, it is not a reason for you to panic and worry incessantly about their future (which as a parent you probably do regardless). Rather, it’s an opportunity to see the situation for what it is and help your child grow in their understanding of the world around them. Chances are, with a little patience, guidance, and helpful suggestions your child will be playing right alongside kids they’d never realized—all it takes is a little encouragement.