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Identifying the Differences

Scientific studies have determined that preschoolers do indeed exhibit bullying behavior.
This behavior is harmful to everyone. It is emotioanly and potentially physically harmful to the victims of the bully. It is harmful to the bully's family, as they must deal with the little tyrantd any repercussions his behavior may cause. It is also harmful to the child's caregivers, who also have to deal with the behavior of the overly aggressive child.
It is also harmful to the bully himself. Children that have a history of bullying are much more likely to be angry, unemployble adults, substance abusers, spouse abusers and/or child abusers. t is in everyone's interest to stop the bullyng child before the behavior becomes a lifelong habit.
So, the first step is to identify the pre-K bully. The most frequent characteristics of a potential bully are:
  • Multiple temper tantrums each day or several tantrums lasting more than 15 minutes.
  • Consistently choosing not to follow adult directions.
  • The desire to be the boss all the time.
  • Impatience.
  • Indifference to hurting others physically or emotionally.
  • Insistence on always hving their own way.
  • Use of threats.
  • Use of anger to intimidate.
  • Failure to seek physical reassurance from parents in a strange environment.
  • Low self esteem.
Before you determine that a child with some or all of these characteristics is a bully, it is important to determine if other factors might be driving the behavior. Some possibilities are:
  • An inability to hear others or to communicate thoughts and feelings.
  • An inability to gain the attention of adults.
  • Displays of physical or emotional violence among adults at home.
  • Being the victim of bullying in another environment.
If any of these situations exist, fix the situation and monitor the child's behavior. If none of these situations are present, it is important to address the behavior for everyone's benefit.
As you develop an action plan, remember it is the behavior that is objectionable, not the child. You will need to work with the parents in order to develop an effective plan. The plan needs to include:
  • Consistent enforcement of boundaries.
  • Teaching instead of punishing.
  • Addressing self esteem issues.
  • Educating the bully's victims on the importance of setting and enfocing boundaries and using the word "no" with the bully.
Bullying has become a scourge in our society. It will benefit all of us to address these issues as they are just beginning to emerge.
I value your feedback. Please email comments or suggestions to beth@blockinsurance.net
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