As I settled into Little Miss Techie’s bed to read her a story last night she told me that some of Captain Computer’s preschool classmates were calling him names.
“Mommy,” she said very softly. “Brother told me I could tell you that two boys at school are calling him names like baby.”
4 year old Captain Computer usually has little to report about his day in preschool so him sharing this tidbit of information demonstrated his concern. As I listened to Little Miss Techie tell me her brother’s story (later confirmed by my husband’s conversation with Captain Computer over bedtime stories), it became clear that the perpetrators were kids with a history of being mean towards others in class.
Bullying beginning in preschool? It’s not unheard of and it’s good to nip it in the bud in the early years before it can get worse as kids grow older.
While name calling and taunting may have been part of our playground experience as kids, there’s a heightened awareness about any behavior that might be considered an act of aggression towards. Kids are being empowered to take a stand against bullying even if they are part of those developmental childhood impulses that come with age.
According to How to Handle Preschool Bullies on Parenting.com, bullying is “intentionally aggressive behavior, usually involving an imbalance of power and repeated over time.” The Parenting.com article says bullying can be verbal like name calling or taunts, physical, and relational where kids are subject to rumors, social rejection, or even exclusion.
“Remember that there is a difference between play, which builds imagination, develops coordination, and teaches children about rules and responsibility, and bullying, which is chronic, frequent behavior that has, at its core, the intention to harm and intimidate.”
Now that you know your child is being bullied, what do you do? Read Education.com wonderful article called Bullying in Preschool: What Parents Need to Know with signs that relate to preschool ages and a step-by-step guide to handling it, including helpful things to say if you can’t find the words on your own.
What if the bullying continues? Raising Children Network encourages parents to talk to your child’s preschool and involve the teacher but also says that involving the bully, or their parents, can often aggravate the situation. Instead, Bullying at Preschool: Helping Your Child encourages supporting your child at home and teaching coping strategies for bullying.
Does your child know someone being bullied and is wondering how to help? Eyes on Bullying has a list of things for bystanders to do including standing up for the person being bullied and helping the victim walk away but my favorite is “Your involvement makes a difference. Don’t just stand by and watch quietly.”
This morning at breakfast Captain Computer was incredibly open about the kids’ name calling and how he usually deals with it.
I was proud that rather than engaging in more name calling, he prefers to just walk away and tell his teachers. We talked about whether name calling is ok, how he felt about it, and that our kids can always talk to each other as long as they tell one of us too.
Tech Savvy Daddy happened to catch Captain Computer’s teacher this morning at drop off and unfortunately, she was not surprised by this behavior by his classmates and seemed disappointed that it was still going on.
This post is my way of coping as I anxiously await for preschool pickup and to hear how my guy’s day has gone. Chances are, he’ll tell me that his day was fine and will ask if we can stay and play on this beautiful spring day. If he doesn’t volunteer any information, I won’t press him for details but know his protective sister will later in the day!
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