The Jakarta Post
While preschoolers are still building social skills and testing limits, it is in kindergarten that children grow more and more aware of social power. (Shutterstock/File)
When we think about bullying in schools, it’s common to think about the cliques of high school or mean words thrown around between middle schoolers.
But recent studies have shown that bullying is becoming more and more common among 2- to 6-year-old than among teenagers.
"Young kids are mimicking the aggressive behavior they see on TV shows, in video games, and from older siblings," said Susan Swearer, Ph.D., co-author of Bullying Prevention & Intervention.
According to the National Education Association, 160,000 children in the United Sates stay home from school each day because they fear bullying. It has become such a widespread threat that the American Academy of Pediatrics released its first official policy statement encouraging physicians to raise awareness and provide screening and counseling for child victims and their families.
While preschoolers are still building social skills and testing limits, it is in kindergarten that children grow more and more aware of social power. According to Elizabeth K. Englander, Ph.D., director of The Massachusetts Aggression
Reduction Center at Bridgewater State University, this is when aggressive children begin to target others.
In order to deal with a bully, take appropriate action, including talking to your child’s teacher and reaching out non-confrontationally to the offender’s parents as a way to find a solution. Also encourage your child to always go and get help if anything is wrong.
Experts also recommend always being ready to praise progress and to encourage healthy body language. Michele Borba, Ed.D., author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, suggests you “tell your child to practice looking at the color of her friends' eyes and to do the same thing when she's talking to a child who's bothering her," in order to make sure her head stays high and confident. (sul/kes)