Bullying is an unsettling topic for any parent, but it’s an important one as it can start early. Read this article to pinpoint five behaviors that could point to bullying and learn what you can do to teach your child awareness.
Observe your child in different settings if you have concerns, and look for these signs:
- Increasingly makes fun of or tries to aggravate younger children or siblings;
- Begins to blame others for his or her mistakes;
- Is overly competitive and puts down others who struggle;
- Consistently makes derogatory comments about others (adults and children), such as “So-and-so is fat” or “He can’t run as fast”;
- Makes fun of others within a group of children and encourages friends to tease another child.
The best way is to address the behavior immediately when you see it. Talk to your children about how they think other children feel when your children act cruelly or say hurtful things. Help your children feel more secure by praising them when they do things for others, help you at home and accomplish something they have worked hard on. Discussing their behavior and providing immediate positive feedback for good behavior is essential. Also, watch what you say around the house. Young children reflect what they say and hear. Be careful not to put down others in front of your child, even that driver who just cut you off!
Another great way to begin the discussion on bullying and bullying prevention is through reading. Children often relate to the characters in the story, and it makes it easy to discuss difficult topics. Here are five great books for early learners to help them understand the hurt that bullying can cause:
- The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig and Patrice Barton
- Tease Monster: A Book about Teasing vs. Bullying by Julia Cook and Anita DuFalla
- Billy Bully by Alvaro Galan, Ana Galan and Steve Simpson
- Me First by Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger
- Dragon and the Bully by Steve Herman
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