Since my daughter is just three years old, I didn’t give too many thoughts to bullying. I didn’t think it can happen this early. But, lately I’ve been hearing some horror stories about two-years-old being bullied and I thought it’s probably a good time to write a few words about how to stand up to bullying.
My opinion is that toddlers aren’t meant to fight or stand up for themselves. Your role as a parent is to be there for your child and to help them become who the child is going to become.
How To Teach Your Toddler To Stand Up To Bullying
One thing that is most important here is – we have to be seen as protectors whose model behavior our kids can copy. So, when your child is bullied or about to be bullied (for example, a boy is stealing her toy in the park), think of how would you like your child to react when he is a little bit older and then you react that way. Show your kid the right way to stand up to bullying.
If we refer to that park situation when someone is stealing their toys – just take her hand and tell to that boy: “It’s not nice to take her toy without asking. But if you ask politely, she will probably give you the toy to play with it. Isn’t that right, sweetheart?”. She will probably say “Yes.”, and the boy will be ashamed and run away. Let your kid see you are handling the situation with clarity, diplomacy and non-violence.
The wrong way to approach bullying is to teach your toddler to fight back. At the age of 3 you don’t need to teach your kid to fight anyone. You need to be protecting him from those who are aggressive towards him. We need to teach our kids to solve problems through communication and compromise, not through fighting.
One more thing I can recommend are children’s books that can teach your toddler how to stand up to bullying, such as Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage To Be Who You Are or The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand Up for Others.