Advice for Dealing With Bullies
When I was little, I was teased mercilessly for a variety of things. In preschool it was for my smile, because it wasn’t like everyone else’s smiles and only showed my top row of teeth. While in the third grade it was because my last name was the same as the gasoline provider at camp (causing me to promptly be called ‘Gas’ for the remainder of the year), and in sixth grade it was because my body was adjusting to that ever loving period of life: puberty. It wasn’t until years later as an adult that I even realized that I was something more than a punching bag, or for that matter, that others were teased just as much as I was at some point or another. Now looking back, I’m able to recognize that bullies are everywhere, waiting to prey on those even mildly different from them.
What is perhaps most startling to find, is that bullying does not wait until we’ve reached our brain’s full capacity of understanding. As discussed in a previous post, bullying begins as young as the preschool level, before preschoolers even understand what they’re doing. At 3-5 years old, our kids are only just beginning to learn how to articulate what they mean to say and think, while trying to wrap themselves in the world around them. While this is happening, however, they partake in roles around the playground, finding him or herself as either the alpha or underdog, as bullying patterns are created and honed. Because this age group is unaware of what they are doing and is only exerting qualities of their own personality, it’s important for we—the parents—to keep a keen eye and handle the situations as they come.
If you think your child is exhibiting early signs of bullying you’ll want to visit this post here for advice and tips for how to help your child learn how not to act, if your child is the subject of the bullying, you’ll want to keep reading.
Get To the Bottom of It
Even now, as an adult, I remember being embarrassed by the barrage of bullying I faced in my younger years. I kept quiet, becoming hurt and angry, while trying to keep my parents from finding out what was going on. I’d come home from a day of school in tears because I’d been laughed for one thing or another, leaving my parents anxious and worried over what was happening in school. If your child is exhibiting signs of aggression, loneliness, or acting out in tearful ways, it’s time to ask your child what is going on. Be mindful of the fact that, even as a toddler, they might feel embarrassed to explain what is going on. Gently ask your child questions that he or she understands: “Did someone hurt you?”, or “Can you tell me what happened?” are good examples of how to get the conversation going. While your blood may boil at the thought of your child being teased, remember to keep calm while discussing your child’s situation. They might not have the words to understand what they’re feeling, but they are feeling something, which is why you should always remind them that you love them, are there for them, and that you’ll help them with the situation.
Find A Solution
Bullying is something that most kids, even toddlers, suspect is frowned heavily on by adults, which is why it has a tendency to happen when adults are not around. Help find a workable solution for your child to handle a bully at the moment the situation occurs. Explain to your child that while bullying is unacceptable, so is fighting, meaning that in every circumstance they should be prepared to walk away from the problem.
- Tell your child to be brave and stand up to their bully. If a bully is trying to keep them from playing a game or joining their snack circle, then instruct your child to loudly and bravely tell them to “stop it” before walking away to find another area of play.
- What kids don’t understand is that bullies thrive off the attention they get from doing the action. Instruct your child to simply ignore their bully when they say mean things or won’t let them play with their group. Because bullies want to see the hurt reaction from their peer, they will be less likely to hassle your child if there is no reaction to see.
- Finally, if your child is too afraid or unwilling to handle the bully alone, tell them to let their preschool San Diego teacher know immediately when a bullying instance occurs. Tell your child that they should let their teacher know about bullying always, so that an adult can assess the situation and decide on further action from the parent’s behalves.
Open Up A Discussion
As I mentioned earlier, most parents are blind to the fact that their toddlers are even old enough to be a bully or be bullied, depending on the situation. Not to mention that many parents are wary of seeing their child as a bully, or to accept seeing that their child is the subject of taunting or teasing. The best way to handle a bullying situation early on is to open up a discussion between parents and the preschool San Diego teacher. Talk about your worries and concerns for your child, while being understanding that bully-like behavior does not make a kid bad or even mean. Work on a solution with everyone to provide the best area possible for your child.
Bullying is not a signifier or a mean child who will use the tactics later on in life. It is a stepping point, however, meaning that if left unnoticed it can have serious implications for their future. In the same sense a bullied child, will never learn to stand up for themselves properly or how to handle a bully on their own. Encourage both sets of children, bully and victim alike, to see the beauty in connecting with one another and creating lasting friendships.