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Toddler bullying problems

 
 
Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 01:27 pm
I'm having parenting problems. I have a two and a half year old son who can be a bit hyper but is also very sensitive. I quite often have to tell him not to push other kids (he likes to kind of lean on/ roll on/ lightly push other kids, so it's not anything really violent). I stop him from doing this because a lot of other parents get concerned. But I am afraid that he gets bullied sometimes.

For instance, today he was playing with another kid his age and a second kid who is about 3 and a half. The other two kids know/ play with each other a lot. My son (S) and the other 2.5 year old (I'll call him C) each had a ball with them, but C wanted both balls. So C and teh older kid kept pushing S down and taking S's ball. S was really frustrated and kept telling them "I want the ball" and would try to take the ball from C, but both C and teh older kid kept pushing him and S wouldn't fight back. Finally I had to leave anyway, so we got S's ball and left, but it was so heartbreaking to see him that frustrated.

My concern is, I know it's good for kids to figure out how to deal with these kinds of situations themselves, and I wonder if I have made S into a target by telling him in other situations that it is not good to push/ grab. Should the other parents have stepped in at all? If I saw S not sharing or pushing another kid down I would step in immediately, but maybe I should start letting him do things like that? How do you get a 2.5 yr old to not initiate the pushing but still stand up for himself and fight back? How have you dealt with this kind of thing?
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Type: Question • Score: 1 • Views: 820 • Replies: 6
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sozobe
 
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Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 01:45 pm
@tarakesh,
That's really young for "just letting them work it out," I think. If I were C's mom, I'd definitely be stepping in and preventing him from doing the push down/ take ball thing. Especially since they're a year apart, and especially at that specific age -- two and a half and three and a half are light-years apart.

That said, I don't think you need to worry about generalized bullying at this age. Kids that little are still very much learning what is and isn't appropriate and there is going to be some rough-housing. I don't think you've made him a target or that you should cease telling him that it's not good to push/ grab. It's unfortunate that your message was contradicted by C and his laissez-faire parent(s), but not necessarily a big deal.

Is S in any sort of preschool situation? That really helped my daughter fine-tune what was and wasn't acceptable roughhousing -- semi-structured playing with one set of adults who imposed the same standards on every child.
sullyfish6
 
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Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 01:59 pm
At that age, they don't have the skills to work things out - so you have to teach them or at least guide them. He does not have the ability to formulate his own game plan.

At 2-1/2 the best thing to do is: DIVERT.

Change the game, add another ball, or remove your son from this conflict in a happy way by leaving the scene.

Kids need a lot of freedom - but in structure. Your job is to make sure that structure is safe and can be handled by him.
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tarakesh
 
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Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 02:08 pm
Sozobe, you have really put my mind at ease. And thank you too, Sullyfish. I really find that parenting is the hardest thing I've ever done, and I keep freaking out about best ways to handle toddler situations. Thanks again.
tarakesh
 
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Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 02:12 pm
@sozobe,
Oh, and no, S is not in daycare or anything. We plan to start him in preschool in the fall. Yes, I hope (and think it's likely) that his interacting will get better then.
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sozobe
 
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Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 02:28 pm
@tarakesh,
I certainly sympathize, tarakesh! It's really hard to locate that line between being appropriately nurturing and overprotective, and toddler years are when that really starts becoming an issue. (My daughter is eight though and I'm still dealing with it...)
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sullyfish6
 
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Reply Thu 2 Apr, 2009 05:18 pm
There are many parenting books out now. Many talk about the "terrible Two's" and daycare. At that age, kids do a lot of parallel play - playing next to each other and interact only when they want someone else's toy. these are critical years, since they formulate concepts of sharing and learning to delay immediate gratification - something adults NEVER are able to do.
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