It is really easy to dismiss bullying as “Kids will be kids” but do you really know how it is impacting your child? No one should fear going to school, they should feel as if school is their second home. Unfortunately at school, unlike at home, you can not ask someone to leave. Bullying sometimes happens for the benefit of an audience. They want to be noticed and the reaction they receive when they attack, is an essential piece of the bullying puzzle.
Bullying can start as early as in preschool and at such an early age, it is very difficult to articulate what is happening. Even in preschoolers, bullying is used for a purpose. Young children have been observed to pick on peers, exclude them from a peer group, hit or bite their peers, in order to get what they want.
It is important as a Parent to be aware that not just yours but any child can bully or become a victim of bullying, even as early as the preschool years. Kids can be bullied for a number of reasons such as being in the wrong place at the wrong time, they are shy, or maybe because they are different (e.g., wear glasses, the color of their skin, clothes they wear, etc…)
Again, young children have a difficult time articulating what is happening that it is why it is so important to make sure you explain what bullying is. Be prepared for the overkill response (not able to distinguish true bullying and yelling fire for every little incident) and just be patient. Try to help your child understand how people feel when they are bullied. Explain that everyone has feelings and feelings are very important.
But your preschooler can learn ways to cope with the bullying when it’s happening. This can help her to handle any future bullying or negative social behavior. You can try reading books on such topics or even role-play with your child can be particularly useful in helping your child understand what it is like to be in the other person’s shoes. MOST IMPORTANT, you are what your child wants to be, they will mimic your behavior so lead by example. When your child learns to handle conflict well or shows compassion for others, this is the most important step in becoming just a great person!
Remember, the being bullied experience is not something you can easily overcome, especially without consequences.