Categorized | Parenting, Toddler Behaviour

Child Bullying - What to Do When Your Toddler Is Being Bullied

Bullying is a major problem of harassment in the United States. In fact, 65% of children have experienced bullying in some way. Toddlers are not an exception. As early as 2 years old, they can either become a bully or be the victim of bullying. If your toddler is a victim, there are a lot of ways you can help him cope with it to minimize its impact and ultimately free him from being bullied.

Child bullying can range from simple acts like children playfully calling each other names to being physically and emotionally tormented. Nonetheless, bullying can easily destroy a toddler’s viewpoint of himself and his self-esteem. Its effect on the physical, intellectual, social and psychological level is permanent. To rid your toddler from the damages of bullying, help him prepare to combat it.

How to Cope When Your Toddler Is Bullied

Talk to Him

Most often, toddlers tend to keep to themselves when they are going through something traumatic. If your little one keeps things bottled up inside, it is very imperative that you get him to talk to you. But, it is also important not to pressure him. To help your toddler open up to you, make light and small conversations. Every day, ask him about his day, what he did, who he played with and if there are any highlights in his day. Most probably, he is embarrassed to admit that he is being bullied. But, once he feels at ease, he develops security and finds solace in talking to you.

Give Positive Reinforcement

His feelings are very sensitive. Hence, it is essential that you praise your toddler regularly. Commend your toddler for being able to open up about it. Remind and assure your toddler that you are always there for him and that you are always ready to listen. Support and guide him throughout this difficult time in his life. Emphasize that nothing is wrong with him, that he is not a bad person. Allot a bonding time once a week wherein you can both do the things he likes.

Provide Him With An Outlet

An outlet allows your toddler to capably process his emotions. Enrolling him in a sports class (e.g. taekwondo, boxing or swimming) helps him channel his ill feelings in a proper and a more efficient manner. At home, occupy him with fun and stimulating activities like painting or drawing. This gives him a clear idea that instead of hitting back, he can ignore the negative remarks he hears and instead divert his emotions into something more productive.

Teach Him to Stand Up For Himself

Standing up is different from retaliating. Ignoring the bully will not make him stop. Teach your toddler to face his bully with courage and confidence. Encourage him to tell the bully “Stop!” or “No!” in a firm and loud voice so everyone can hear it. This gives the bully the idea that your toddler does not tolerate such behaviour and that he is not scared of his bully.

Give A Heads Up

Since children still do not completely understand their actions, inform the bully’s elders instead. If your toddler is being bullied at school, talk to his teacher. The teacher might not have any idea about the bullying. Once the teacher has been notified, she will be able to make some actions to stop it. If your little one is bullied within your neighborhood, talk to the bully’s parents. This alarms them of the problem helping them give proper disciplinary measures to their child.

Surround Him With A Support System

Sometimes, what your toddler needs is an older brother or sister, cousin or friend to help him manage the situation. Having peers who accept him for who and what he is will make him feel good. It may help him hear how his brother was teased about his freckles or how his uncle was pushed off the swing when he was a kid and how they dealt with it. Past victims of bullying give better advices. Plus, this enlightens your toddler that he is not alone and that he can conquer his bully unscathed.

If bullying majorly affects him negatively, it is best to consult with a child psychologist for professional help.

Being bullied is unhealthy. Hence, it is essential that you encourage your toddler’s strengths instead of focusing on his flaws. This brings back the confidence he has lost and will make him strong and invincible no matter how many bullies come his way.

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August 2014
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