How to Respond to a Bully?
Today a parent sent me a link to a parenting blog. I admit that I don’t read blogs usually, even though I do post this one from time to time. Out of curiosity, I followed the link and was fascinated by the discussion and the response by parents to the subject of a 4 year old bully at a preschool. It confirmed what I believe about the preschool environment, and that is that the children should be safe and feel secure there. That means that the staff has to take the responsibility to protect children from other children. Preschool is a place where we try to teach children to: take turns, use their words, say please and thank you, have fun without hurting others, etc.
At Play School from time to time, there have been children that have hurt others and when the hurtful behavior has continued despite our best efforts, we have involved the parents. As you might imagine we have huge ranges of response. Some immediately take their children out of our program, and then there are the others that embrace the solutions that we ask them to try, which can include-
- Being available to remove their child at the first offense. This is done in a calm manner and the child is told that the behavior is not OK at Play School and they have lost the privilege to attend for that day, and we look forward to them coming back the next day. I tell the parents not to make it a “bad day” at home and not a overly “fun day” at home. I will say that in almost every case where the parent has supported us in this way, the child’s behavior has improved 100%.
- We have asked the parents to go to counseling and share their frustration and get support from a professional. In every case that the parents have done this, they have made small changes in their parenting style that have also made a world of difference in the child’s behavior at school.
Now for the phrases that we have all heard before….
- Everyone is unique, no two children are alike.
- There are no absolutes in how to handle all children in every situation…since they are all different.
- No one has all the answers.
If you have a child that has behavior that causes you and others stress let me encourage you to seek some professional help. If what you are doing is not getting you the response you want, continuing to do the same thing expecting a different response is crazy making. Brain storming with someone that has experience with helping families can be really helpful. If you don’t get the help you need from one counselor, do not give up, but ask around for references. Hopefully you will find a good match and get the support you need.
- Parenting is a challenge.
- Parenting is not easy.
- Parenting can cause you to go crazy if you don’t get support.
Parenting can be like getting lost in a new town without a map. There is no shame in stopping to ask for instructions and for buying a map. If you want a suggestion, here is a link to a counselor, Andrea Seitz
Check out this blog and let me know your thoughts. A Bully at age Four