Now that my site has been up and running for several weeks, it is time to refresh my blog topic. I hope to engage your interest and participation so that we can learn from each other on a casual and friendly basis. It has been suggested that I use this forum to explore the topic of bullying among young children and I am quite happy to do this. Let me be clear though, I am not an expert on this or any other matters involving childhood behavior and solutions, but as a parent and auntie to many little ones, I do have opinions and a desire to contribute my thoughts and recommendations on the matter.
Haven’t we all witnessed bullying among young children – even toddlers and preschoolers? Such incidents can range from teasing, taunting, threatening and even physically attacking the victim. This may sound heavy but I am thinking along the lines of the child who hasn’t yet learned that it is not okay to hurt another child to get what he or she wants. Or, because the child is not yet sensitive to the feelings of other children, threatens and even carries out attacks such as biting, hitting, taking toys and well, you get the picture and little doubt, have effective ways of dealing with this.
Of course, these are common challenges that most parents can appreciate and so, my objective is to share ways to teach sensitivity to these kids – what you feel works and what doesn’t. To start it off, the first thought that comes to my mind is ‘role reversal’. If the children are old enough to understand and participate, they would switch roles so that the person who has bullying tendencies gets to know just how it feels to be on the receiving end and then tell you how that made him or her feel and promise not to do it again. This is just one solution that can be incorporated into a sensitivity program and perhaps adapted to any age but can only be successful if they internalize the lesson.
Then we think about what we can do as parents to set an age appropriate example for our little ones. Given that kids are the proverbial little copy cats, we tend to monitor our own behavior to ensure that they don’t emulate the wrong behaviors. Kids will always judge their parents to be perfect role models and that carries tremendous weight in deciding what we allow them to witness.
As I stated earlier, I am not an expert, just a lady who cares very much that anti-bullying strategies are implemented at a very young age to avoid the serious consequences that are occurring more regularly in our schools. If not curbed at the outset, a child can and often comes to believe that bullying can be an acceptable means to an end, when in fact, it isn’t. It is heartbreaking to realize that so many children are being antagonized in hurtful ways, sometimes even leading to tragic outcomes. So I invite you to reply with your thoughts, ideas and solutions.
And so, the question is this:
As a parent or caregiver, what sensitivity strategies do you implement to teach anti-bullying to your children?