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Bullying as Early as Preschool

Preschool bullying may not be a term that you are familiar with. However, preschoolers and kindergartners exhibit signs of bullying all the time; kicking, hitting, pushing, difficulty sharing. These are all typical behaviors of young children, however they are also behaviors that should be immediately corrected so they are not used in the future.

Bullying is all about Territory

Young children exhibit these types of behaviors because they're extremely territorial. Additionally, they haven't been socialized so they feel this type of behavior is appropriate and their only option to showcase dislike towards something. When your child was a baby, he/she used crying to get attention, now as a young child they might feel bullying behavior gives them what they want.

To prevent your child from bullying others, follow these steps:

  • Intervene immediately. As soon as you notice your child has resorted to violent behavior, step in. Take your child out of the situation and provide supportive, yet stern words of advice. For example, "I know you're upset right now, but we do not kick to get our way."
  • Teach coping methods. Teach your child that hitting or pushing another child to get what they want is not acceptable. Instead they should use their words to ask politely or to use the certain toy next. Resorting to violence should be outlawed as a method to getting what they want.
  • Take responsibility. When your child hits or kicks another child, make them get ice, band-aids, etc. and apologize for their actions. Show them not only how to say sorry, but how to show they're sorry.
  • Consequences. If these methods don't seem to make any changes in your child's behavior you can consider taking away certain toys, playtime, television time, etc. Your child can then earn these privileges back through good behavior.

Patience, Patience, Patience

Teaching your child how to effectively deal with their frustrations can be a long and drawn-out process. Remember to stay patient and have a positive attitude. This type of behavior is all part of a preschooler's learning process and is a natural part of their social development. However, if consequences and time-outs have no effect on your child's behavior after several months, you may want to seek the help of a doctor.