Most people think of the physical aggression and social sniping that characterizes bullying as starting around late elementary school and stretching through high school. But, believe it or not, bullying among preschoolers is more common than you think.
Because the behavior is typically associated with older kids, it is often overlooked during the younger years. Some degree of punching, pinching and generally being “mean” is normal in preschool children. However, when children enjoy seeing others hurt, as opposed to just asserting themselves socially, they may deliberately and systematically find ways to inflict injury or harm to their victims.
Start at Home
- Teach self-control through discipline.
- Communicate a zero tolerance of mistreatment of others by consistently applying negative consequences for bulling behavior.
- Teach the “Golden Rule.”
- Teach your child that mistreatment and kindness both create lasting memories.
- Hold family meetings to teach empathy, sensitivity and values.
- Teach your child to control his or her anger.
- Discuss models of acceptance (newspaper stories, movies, etc.).
- Discuss bullying scenes you watch on television or in movies.
- Teach your child to say, “I’m sorry” and, “Please forgive me,” and then be kind to the person.
Your young child may be being bullied if he or she…
- Is suddenly scared to go to preschool
- Complains of headaches or stomachaches for no reason
- Is clingy or whiny
- Comes home with unexplained injuries
- Is withdrawn or depressed
- Talks about one particular child doing mean things to him
- Has trouble concentrating
- Avoids eye contact when you ask what is wrong.