Little People Gone Mean

Does bullying really exist among pre-school aged children? The answer is a clear and resounding yes.

Bullying has been found to be just as prevalent in younger grades as it is in the older ones, unfortunately there is much less research surrounding it, so there are less programs to address it, and thus less effort made in preventing it.

Children don’t need to be mean to be a bully, they just have to learn that there behavior is rewarding to continue the attacks.

Here’s an example:

Mike would very much like to play with Sarah, Andrew, and Simon. He sometimes asks but usually gets the same answer: they don’t want him. They habitually ignore him or they tell him he is good for nothing. However, sometimes they ask him to join. That’s when they want to play family and need a dog. Dogs do not speak and they have to do everything they are told to. After some 5 minutes Mike usually gets very sad and runs away.

This is neither a conflict nor a playful situation among equal peers. This situation has all the elements of bullying.

  1. A child who the victim  of repeated attacks,
  2. Several children who stay together to help facilitate the bullying
  3. A situation where the victim has no chance to defend themselves.
  4. No intervention from a teacher or parent, because there not sure if they should intervene or not.

Reading, writing, arithmetic, name calling, teasing and pushing, all have something in common. This might surprise you…they are all taught in school, well perhaps only 3 are part of the actual school curriculum, the other 2 are just as prevalent.

Even if a child is not a victim of harassment and bullying chances are that they have witnessed it in some form or another.

For some parents, the topic of bullying seems irrelevant. After all that sweetly dressed 4 year old at the bus stop can’t possibly be a threat, can she? The fact is that bullying can start at any age and pre-schooler’s are no different. It might be as subtle as a push in line to making demands on other children.

In our society today there is a tendency for kids to grow older younger. This could be due to increased peer and social pressure to conform, some parents tend to be there kids BFF (best-friends-forever) instead of the responsible parent or it could be the interfering helicopter parent that is constantly ready to pounce at a moment’s notice.

Anyone one or a combination of the above is a recipe for disaster. Kids tend to bully when they are lacking, structure, guidance or self-esteem in their lives. Bullying is a way for them to take back some control or in some cases emulate what they deem as perfectly acceptable behavior.

Pre-schooler’s, especially young girls are taught at a very young age to act and look mature, what we see is 4 year olds that take on the persona of a 14 year old. Unfortunately having Miley Cyrus & Lady Gaga as your role models doesn’t help much in the high morals or mentoring departments.

Kids are constantly inundated with images of aggression and bad manners, be it through violent video games, movies, music, professional sport or the constant supply of unsavory role models that seem to turn up like weeds.  Kids are taught to believe that Bad Manners + Bad Attitude = Popularity and Acceptance among their peers.

As long as we continue to assume that a sweet looking 4 year old is too young and innocent to be a bully, our perception will continue to be clouded and skewed.

We all know what happens when we assume (ass-u-me).

By: Master Tim Bell

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One Response

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