Parenting Now!

How to Address Bullying With Your Child

Understanding the B’s: Being Bullied, Being a Bully, Being a Bystander. Read about it on our blog.

We’ve all seen kids pulling toys out of another child’s hands or screaming they won’t sit next to a particular kid. When young children act in these ways, they are often expressing frustration, anger or other emotions they are struggling to deal with.

When your child starts pre-school or kindergarten, they will surely act out of frustration at times and will experience other kids acting out of frustration too, especially if they don’t have a lot of experience in group social settings.

It’s important to distinguish between occasional actions that come out of frustration with bullying, which even young children can experience.


Defining Bullying

Younger children are still testing out behaviors, figuring out what is acceptable and seeing how adults react. There is a difference between one-time or occasional negative behaviors and bullying.

Bullying behavior is:

Young children can engage in bullying that is physical or verbal, such as name calling or yelling. They can also bully another child by excluding them, getting others to gang up on a particular child or with subtle actions, such as hiding another child’s lunch.

Young children are generally very responsive to how adults and peers react to their behaviors. Intervening with bullying at a young age can be very effective for preventing bullying later.


Understanding the B’s: Being Bullied, Being a Bully, Being a Bystander

Children being bullied, who are bullies or who are bystanders all can use clear guidance from adults.


What Parents Can Do

Positive Healthy Relationships Start Now

Bullying can affect even young children. Talk openly and directly with your children about bullying, help them learn preventive skills like relaxing and responses like ignoring. Give them lots of support when they act kindly and generously. They’ll learn not just about bullying, but will also be on the road to having healthy and positive relationships throughout their childhood and their lives.


This article is brought to you by Parenting Now! Parenting Educators and authors, Tova Stabin, Claire Davis and Lynne Swartz and consultant Jay Thompson ( Parenting Now! is passionate about happy, healthy families. For more information about Parenting Now! contact us here.

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