How to teach DS4 NOT to bully — The Bump
Pre-School

How to teach DS4 NOT to bully

Hello -

I read the post about 1 page back about dealing with preschool bullies, and what exactly constitutes bullying. Lots of good thoughts.

The situation I am facing is a little different. My gentle, well-socialized, loving little boy has recently been displaying some more aggressive and even bullying behaviors. For example, yesterday on the playground, he seemed to be picking on a girl by trying to keep her off the playground equipment ("no, you can't come up here") and even chased her off the playground. I was sitting on a bench talking with another mom so I didn't see this happen (oops), but the girl's mom came over and relayed what had happened.

I don't think my son was being malicious (he is into superhero fantasy play now and that was probably what he was thinking)...and I think the girl (who was roughly the same size as my son) needs to learn some backbone. HOWEVER, of course I don't want my son to think that this kind of intimidation behavior is acceptable, or that it's ok to pick on girls because (some of them) may be easier to intimidate.

We had a long talk about it, and if I am getting the right info, it seems that he has observed a 5 yo boy at preschool trying to intimidate girls in the same way. DS likes this kid, who is a year older, and enjoys playing with him on the playground. I think DS might have even been lonely on the playground (w/o anyone to play with) before hooking up with this trouble-maker, which kind of explains why he's under this "bad" kid's spell.

I plan to talk to the teachers to ask what they have noticed and if they are doing anything to intervene, but I am also looking for some tips on how to nip this kind of behavior in the bud and redirect my son to having more positive social interactions. Right now it concerns me because he seems to think acting this way is fun, or a way to show he is "tough." Input appreciated! Thanks.
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Re: How to teach DS4 NOT to bully

  • bobbydsgirlbobbydsgirl member
    edited October 2013
    Thanks for your thoughts. We were just leaving anyway when the mom came to talk to us, and I think it had happened a little while earlier, so unfortunately we missed the opportunity that time for a "natural consequence." We did take away treats and videos for a few days, and we talked a lot about the girl's feelings and how he would feel if the same were done to him.

    I don't think he could redirect the 5yo bully, but it is a good idea to coach DS on how to not participate in bullying and how to find others to play with. I will try to think up some role-play ideas to help him with that.

    I've read that they start experimenting more with "power" at this age - power dynamics with parents and among friends. I don't feel very prepared right now. How to teach assertiveness and independence without being overly dominant, bossy, or mean. :) It's hard!

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    BFP #2 10/7/11, EDD 6/14/12, Hb 8w4d, Missed m/c discovered at 10w4d, measuring 9w.
    Natural m/c 11/23/11


    BFP #3 2/17/12, m/c 5w1d, CP


    RLP, Sonohystogram, HSG, no sig. findings, only poss. endo


    BFP #4 5/20/12, EDD 01/28/2013, 3 wks on beta roller coaster, 7w1d u/s: irregular hb/1 wk behind on growth. 8w2d u/s: no hb, still measuring 6w1d. 3 rounds of cytotec.
    Natural m/c 6/27/2012.
    Proceeded to more testing with new RE in July 2012, which revealed endometritis. Treated with antibiotics and had biopsy to confirm it has been resolved. TTC again starting Jan. 2013.


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    [Deleted User]
  • -auntie- said:
    A couple of things jumped out at me.

    1. "I think the girl (who was roughly the same size as my son) needs to learn some backbone."

    Way to blame the victim. You don't know that she isn't a tall girl who is younger than your son or a child who might have an invisible disability that makes self advocation more challenging.

    It would be convenient if she'd bitch slap him into submission, but that's your jobbie job. You need to stop chatting up moms on the bench and teach your son to behave like a gentleman. I know this is inconvenient, but for now you need to be up his ass so long as this phase persists.

    2. "We had a long talk about it, and if I am getting the right info, it seems that he has observed a 5 yo boy at preschool trying to intimidate girls in the same way."

    Way to not take personal responsibility for your actions. It doesn't matter what other kids, psychos and douche bags do- I hold my child to the standards of behavior and character I determine. This is no excuse. He needs to learn to follow his own moral compass and not the too cool for school kid or his teen years are going to be very exciting for you both.

    I would suggest lots of practice at the playground. If he acts in inappropriate ways, insist he apologize and remove him from the scene immediately after. 
    I was thinking alot of the same things.  You seem to have alot of excuse and judgements of other children.  Is your 4 year old really that articulate that you can determine his friend at school is such a bully?  Honestly it doesn't sound like your son is a bully either, just kids being kids.  I also would assume your son was bothering this girl for a while that the mother found it necessary to interrupt your conversation and I highly doubt she decided to come up to you a while after the situation was over.  What would the point of that be?

    My DD can be a bit of a PIA and rude to other kids.  I make it a point of watching her at all times.  I'm not a helicopter parent, but no matter who I'm speaking to, and how far away from her I may be, I know where she is and what she's doing so when she needs to be redirected I can get to her.
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  • ITA with Auntie. I think the whole "you can't come up here" is very normal for the age; chasing someone off the playground seems a step up from that. And LOL that this girl needs a backbone...was she supposed to tackle your son so he didn't chase her anymore? It kind of sounds like you were irritated with the girl's mother coming up to you and reporting your son's behavior, so you find a way to make the little girl a part of the problem.
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  • Yeah, your post totally rubbed me the wrong way before I read the replies. I don't think this is bullying but I find it very odd that your response to not watching your kid chase another kid off the playground is oops and she needs to have a backbone. Obviously you are here asking for advice so you want to change it but you should not expect all kids to stand up for them self and it is unrealistic and judgmental. Imagine if the kid sitting there just shoved your kid off the playground? Another thing that rubbed me the wrong way was the sexist comments that some girls will be intimidated. Is it ok if your kid was doing this to a boy because they both have penises? Seriously not all boys will stand up for them self and not all girls are pushovers. Work on the behavior, he is only 4 but please don't pass along the chauvinistic thoughts or you will have more issues.
    Jen - Mom to two December 12 babies Nathaniel 12/12/06 and Addison 12/12/08
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