Is your kid being bullied? How would you protect your child?
Bullying is definitely a worrisome behavior for any kid who gets close to harming others or is being harmed. But it can be dealt with.
Find out what's going on
· Often little kids can’t label what they are going through. You got to dig into the details subtly. Ask pointed questions like, “Did someone hurt you?” or “What made you feel bad?”
· Remain calm and reassuring for your kid. If he/she sees you becoming impulsive, they are likely to hide the entire scene from you.
Teach him/her how to respond
· Act brave. Confident children are less likely to be targeted. If you act as if the bully doesn't bother you, he/she'll eventually stop.
· Ignore the bully. If you don’t give him/her attention, he/she’ll stop it.
· Make a friend circle. As the saying goes, there's safety in numbers. More cases happen when bully finds you isolated.
· Tell an adult. If someone is troubling you such that you can’t handle, tell an adult what's happening. The teacher is the best help at school.
· If your child is facing the problem in his/her preschool, set up a meeting with the teacher or caregiver. It may be that she is unaware of the situation since bullies prefer to act when adults aren’t watching. Allow the teacher to observe children closely and counsel the child individually.
· Make friends with the bully. Try to help children make friends through play dates or activities that make them realize that together they can make a good team. The one-on-one playdate can change the dynamic between them.
Is your kid the problem?
· Tame insensitive playfulness. Discuss how empathy and kindness are signs of good behavior and make it clear that insensitive behaviors are not acceptable.
· Explain consequences. Explain that if the bullying continues, the other kids won't want to play with him/her and that you will cut down his/her playtime.
· Right the wrong. The child who your child bullied can be invited for reconciliation.
· Praise him/her for good behavior.
Bullying or is it just a fight?
Preschool going children are energetic and impulsive. They have spur-of-the-moment friendship squabbles during a sand play or kitchen play. Something like “That’s mine!”, “I saw it first!”, “I win, you lose.” during play that occasionally gets out of hand. Such play-related conflict is not dangerous. It is through these experiences, kids become stronger to stand in a group, accept defeat and learn to forgive.
Bullying, on the other hand, does the exact opposite. It uses verbal and physical attack as fun. A bully might snatch the toy away and tell the other child that she'll beat him/her if he/she tries to take it back The red flag is when the bully child seems to enjoy threatening, insulting, embarrassing or attacking other kids.
Being put-down, name-calling, pushed around, and shunned is not acceptable at any age. It steadily weakens kids' self-esteem; whether it's physical or emotional, it can cause hurt feelings, fear, and anxiety.
The reasons kids bully vary
• Often kids imitate behavior learned from experiences in the home; from a parent, sibling or peer.
• Some kids do it to get attention, either from adults or peers.
• Bad behavior can spark from the "good" kid, too. As my friend was telling me, her 3-year-old girl, Annie, was teased by a boy in her nursery class. The boy recruited a few more girls and boys to collectively chant “Annie Nannie, Annie Nannie, Annie Nannie” until Annie got angry and hit the boy and got caught by her teacher.
• Sometimes it can be for more complex reasons. When a child bullies because it makes him feel good to see signs of injury, fear or misery in his victim, the issue is much more concerning. That type of bullying needs a serious call to action.