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My Toddler was Bullied and It Breaks My Heart

By Emily |

I knew I would have to face this some day as a parent, because unfortunately it’s so prevalent in our culture today, but I never thought I would have to deal with it when my son was so young.

And I really didn’t understand the effect it would have, both on him and on me.

But, let me back up and start at the beginning.

A few weeks ago we stopped by a friends’ house, and they have a boy a few years older than Bren. Because it’s been a long time since we’ve seen them, our kids have never really played together before. There was another family there too, whom we hadn’t met before, and who had a boy similar in age to our friends’ son.

My daughter made friends with their daughter, who is also a few years older then her, right away. Our son really wanted to play along, but both the girls and the boys were kind of doing their own thing, and he was a little too young to really play with either of them, so he was kind of left on his own. We tried to encourage the other kids to play and share with him as much as we could, and he seemed to be fine and content playing on and off by himself, and with the other kids.

After we’d been there for about an hour, we heard our son crying in one of the back bedrooms. At first I thought he must have slightly hurt himself, or was upset that someone wasn’t playing with him, and I thought he’d come out in the living room to tell us about it. But, after a minute or two of crying, it seemed to be getting worse, and neither he nor one of the other kids was coming out to tell us something was wrong, so my husband got up to check on him.

When my husband brought our son out, he was still pretty visibly upset, and looked a little shaken. I asked what had happened. My husband said that the older boys had been holding him in their room and telling him that he couldn’t leave, and telling him they were going to shoot him with one of their toy guns. He said, basically, the boys were bullying him.

I felt so inadequate. I wasn’t really sure how to talk to a 2 1/2 year old about something as serious as bullying.

And oh, how my heart ached for my little boy. I had no idea how much it would hurt to hear that my child had been bullied by another child. And I felt so bad for not protecting him from it. I held him, kissed him, rocked him, and told him everything was okay.

The parents of the other boys talked to them, they were upset about what their boys had done. And they assured us the boys would be disciplined after we left (we were just getting ready to leave anyway when this happened), so after we comforted our son, we basically just let it go.

But today, weeks later, as we were driving, my son started talking about, and replaying for me, what had happened with the boys. Telling me about how they were keeping him in the room, what they said to him, and even what they were wearing.

And the hurt came rushing back, because he obviously remembered it so vividly, and had been much more hurt and affected by it then we had realized.

I let him talk about it, asked him about how he felt, validated his emotions, and tried to talk to him about things he could do if he was in a situation like that again, but I felt so inadequate. We talked about how it is not nice to treat other people like that, and how what the boys did to him was not okay. But, I wasn’t really sure how to talk to a 2 1/2 year old about something as serious as bullying.

Phrases like, ‘Stand up for yourself’, and ‘Leave and tell mommy and daddy or another adult’, don’t really seem be the right things for such a young child to do, especially when they’re being told by an older child that they can’t leave the room, and even being held down so they can’t leave if they wanted to.

So, now I sit here, upset, wondering what I could have, should have, done differently at the time, and what I can do going forward to teach my young children about this terribly hurtful thing called bullying, so that they learn it is not okay to bully other children, and so that they know what to do if they ever find themselves in a situation like that again.

All I know is that I hope I can raise kids for which neither of those things is true for them.

Have you experienced bullying with your toddler or young child? How do you address bullying with your children in a way they can understand, and act on?

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About Emily

emilym

Emily

Emily McClements is passionate about caring for creation while saving money at the same time. She is a blessed wife and mama to three young children, and blogs about her family's journey toward natural and green living on a budget at Live Renewed. Read bio and latest posts → Read Emily's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “My Toddler was Bullied and It Breaks My Heart

  1. mommy Veronica says:

    I have to ask. Are those boys being bullied by there parents? Kids don’t know to do this unless they see or experience it them selfs. mom and dads can always seem so sweet and amazing but behind close doors it could be another thing. Next time if I see them I would watch closher how they treat the kids. Or maybe at school. Almost anywhere kids are bullied. I was bullied at my new elementary in 5th grade by girls. Then again in middle.school. I was pin down in the bathroom stall and the hall monitors didn’t care. Then I got beat up by a crowd of kids the teachers and monitors and the principal did not care. the thing was I wasnt a bad kid I was friendly to all kids. my mom moved me to a better area in town. I had a blast in high school. Only a couple of times I had to stand my grown. by this time and even now I dont put up with anyones bull..I am alot stronger. I wish the best for your little boy. Just keep an extra eye on him how he developes throughout the years. My son right now is 8 months and very aware.

  2. Fannie says:

    Wow, this story broke my heart. A month ago, my now 33 month old daughter was teased at a birthday party by a 5 year old about her being a “baby” and she kept on luring my daughter to the front door at a crowded party so that she could run away and leave my daughter far from the other kids. A gush of sadness came over me. It dawned on me that she was going to be hurt emotionally by others eventually and there is nothing I can do about it. It is a part of life, I know, but it is the unknown effect that worries me. My 8 month old baby has ears that stick out and this morning I was wondering to myself, is he going to be teased at school, would it be wrong to consider plastic surgery? I know it’s crazy but with the increase in violence among children bullying is so scary. You don’t even know if because of the bullying your kid may become the bully.

  3. Alison says:

    Poor little guy. It is so hard when your kid is picked on.

  4. Sara Rose says:

    When my daughter, now 6, was almost 3, she screwed up her courage at a library ‘play day’ (once a week in the summer here) and asked to sit at the table with some other girls to color and play. I nodded and smiled. They ignored her. She looked at me and she rolled her shoulders back and smiled and asked again, more loudly. The girls looked up and one snapped, “We dont play with stupid girls.” They got up and walked away. Before she could cry, I came over and said “Hey, should we head to the park?” She sadly nodded and my face burning, we left. I realized then, as I do often nowadays, so many people are raising mean girls. That teasing and bullying have become the stand in for confidence or self worth. It disgusts me to have to keep combating this. To teach her to be gentle but strong. And how to either stand up for herself or walk away.

  5. Jenny says:

    When my daughter was two and a half I taught her two phrases “Back off creep!” and “Don’t tease me, it’s mean.” The first was reserved for physical bullying on the playground (never used) and the second was used often on an overly teasing grandmother (yeah, pretty sad.) We practiced saying them. This is your chance to start teaching self defense and it starts with words and expressing dissent. My daughter is eight now and she is often the first on on the playground to call out bullying and stand up for a smaller kid.

  6. Annie says:

    Hello,

    A few years back, at my husband B’day, we had a bunch of friends coming over to celebrate. One couple has 2 boys. At the time, my son was 2 and half and the boys were 4 1/2 and 6 1/2. They were at our house, playing my son’s toys and they would not let him play with his own toys. My son was so confused that he peed in his pants. The big brother bullies the small, and so on… But both parents don’t act upon it. Actually, the dad is happy with this behavior because he says his kids will not get bullied.

    I don’t think it’s a good way to raise your children. We did explain (now he’s almost six) to him how to defend himself by getting help from a teacher or us. We also give him tricks and tips on how to make friends, but of the ‘good kind’.

    Ans yes, it hurts when you see your kids get bullied or rejected.

    Good night!

    Annie

  7. Ingrid says:

    I also think that the impact it has on our kids depend on how we as parents act when it happens. Though we feel instinctively that we need to protect our children, that doesn’t always mean that we need to wallow in their pain. What sticks out in your story is that he was being treated meanly and that you comforted him and basically went into your inner child. Since the parents were cooperative I think that it would be more helpful to everybody involved that it was talked about with everybody. The parents of the other boys easily could have apologized for their children’s behaviors in front of those children and I think it would have sent a message to the boys, bullying isn’t okay and it will not be tolerated. Instead, your poor kid feels like something awful happened to him that he didn’t get resolved and to top it off, mommy lost her cool and wasn’t able to protect him. Even a simple, “well that isn’t very nice, and it isn’t fun to play with children who aren’t kind to us, so let’s go eat some ice cream ‘ would have been more effective than letting him believe that the most aweful thing EVER happened to him. I really feel that as parents sometimes our emotions on things need not to be so on the surface

  8. Tia says:

    Our neighbors have a son that’s a year older than my 16 month old son, so at first I thought it would be so nice for my son to have a “friend” so close. The last few times I have had to stop their son from picking on my son, from taking his toys away and running away, to pushing him down and laughing, and I was so irritated that his parents just watched the situation and didn’t do anything to correct it until I finally said something when they were over playing in OUR yard and their little boy, once again started trying to push my son down, and after I started saying something to him, all they offered up was a calm “No, don’t do that.” and left it at that. Needless to say they have not been invited back over, and we will not be going to visit them any time soon. How do you explain to a then 14 month old that what was happening to him was wrong of the other child? Or to ask for help or get mommy or daddy?5

  9. Tia says:

    Our neighbors have a son that’s a year older than my 16 month old son, so at first I thought it would be so nice for my son to have a “friend” so close. The last few times I have had to stop their son from picking on my son, from taking his toys away and running away, to pushing him down and laughing, and I was so irritated that his parents just watched the situation and didn’t do anything to correct it until I finally said something when they were over playing in OUR yard and their little boy, once again started trying to push my son down, and after I started saying something to him, all they offered up was a calm “No, don’t do that.” and left it at that. Needless to say they have not been invited back over, and we will not be going to visit them any time soon. How do you explain to a then 14 month old that what was happening to him was wrong of the other child? Or to ask for help or get mommy or daddy?

  10. ElizaBeth says:

    I think you handled the situation well. Part of him telling you what happened is his way of working it. You validated his feelings and told him its not okay to treat others in that way. He needs to know he can come to you with anything. You’re teaching him that. I’d try not to put much focus on the event for him so he doesn’t become focused on it to the point of obsession. I’d just reaffirm that it was okay for him to be sad about being treated badly, and that it was not okay for others to make him feel that way. AND that you are glad he talked to you about it. Remind him that he should be kind to others by sharing and taking turns, and using kind words. Because those things make others feel happy.
    My son, as a toddler about 15 months old, was bullied by an older child. The parents were not concerned about this boy’s behavior.(We lived in an apartment and the parents would send the kids out unsupervised.) I would just remove my son from this situation and tell him he doesn’t have to keep playing with a child who is not playing nice. Eventually, my son bit the other boy. I talked to the parents about the event and they were appalled that I “let” my son bite their’s. The other child stopped bullying my son. After that, when I brought my son out to play in the courtyard, the boy would head to his own apartment.

  11. NMcD says:

    This was sad and unpleasant but it was not bullying. It’s really indicative of how promiscuously we use the word that anyone would seriously think it applies here. No one likes to see their child picked on, and at this age adults should intervene to protect very young children from potential hard (very young kids lack the judgement to understand how they can physically harm a younger child) but this is a far cry from real bullying which is a complex social phenomenon much confused these days with banal conflicts and shifting social cliques or routine interpersonal conflicts.

    I think rather this is a case of a concerned mother projecting her own fears on to her child. I know because I have done this about fifty million times myself. But what I’ve found is that despite what “experts” would have us believe, these early experience DO NOT stay with us (at least not without help in the form of adults going on and on about the). We usually simply forget about them or perhaps remember the emotion as being bad not the circumstances. And that’s not a bad thing. What sorry creatures we’d be if our only experiences were uniformly happy. It is our capacity to feel the whole gamit of emotions that is the miracle of our humanity. Otherwise how could we ever really empathize with others?

    We all feel this pain when our kids have a hard time but let’s not be too quick to jump on the bullying bandwagon, not least because in so doing we demean the real thing.

  12. Crystal says:

    My son just went through something like this . I had just met this women at church and a few days later she asks if I wanted to go for a walk and so I said okay. Then after a while she wanted our kids to keep playing, she asked if I and my son wanted to go to her house for play and coffee. I said okay. Well big mistake! Not long after we got there her son who is three started hitting and pushing my son around and this women just sat there not caring. She was like what did he hit your son and never once disaplined her son for anyting he did to my son. Then a few weeks later, I realized real quick where he learned it from. His mother.

  13. Nathalie says:

    My 2 1/2 daughter was bullied at daycare by a 3 1/2 girl: pushed, hit with toys… I noticed very early that the girl was sneaky, acting when caretaker had her back turned, but it was never aimed at one kid and as bad as it became. Then, her mommy had another baby, and that’s when things got worse. She aimed her frustration at the littlest one (my daughter) and would be really mean, all behind the caretaker’s back. It took 2 weeks for my daughter to finally spill the beans. I taught her to just yell “NO! Not nice!”. That works, she even says it to dogs now! :) and we can see right away and deal with it right away.

  14. looloosmommy says:

    That must ne really hard. I dread having to deal with those situations. Not that i condone violence (no more than bullying), but my daughter has been in an amazing kung fu program since she was 2. They do an outstanding job of teaching kids to stand up for not only themselves but other kids as well. Im not sure all kung fu programs are like ours but I recommend it to everyone. My daughter now 4 astounds.me with her ability to handle these situations. Just the other day we were at the park with a play group and all the kids were playing in a fort until two older girls blocked the entrance and told my daughters friends little brother he couldn’t play because he was a baby. He ran off crying and my daughter left her friends and rushed after him. He grabbed his hand and led him back to the fort. She told two much bigger girls that everyone could play and that they were being mean. They then teased her about him being her baby boyfriend, and she stood her ground. She told them no one was going to play with them and rallied her friends to the sandbox across the par. Leaving the two girls alone on the fort. I was amazed. I later asked her about it and she simpy told me that its not ok to do that. And he was sad so she wanted to help.

  15. Aimee says:

    Be there next time. Not off in another room socializing. A 2.5 year old is nowhere near old enough to defend himself. He needs his mom or dad right there, to defend him ot help him if need be. He’s not old enough to be responsible for his own safety physically or emotionally, and he won’t be for many, many years. Next time have your talk in the area he’s playing in, not to be a helicopter parent, but to be a PARENT. That will avoid traumatic future situations and more than that, when any kids start to act out in any way, an adult will be there to kindly redirect them and show them a kind way to be. They can’t learn how to act if no one is there to model it. And if you hear a child crying, stop what you’re doing and go to them immediately. Nothing else should be more important.

  16. MamaLuvins says:

    Okay, I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion here…but I think you’re really making too big of a deal over this. My advice to your child would have been two-fold: 1. Since you could hear him crying, you would have been able to hear him yell for you too. Tell him to yell for him if he’s ever uncomfortable. 2. Tell him there are kids out there that aren’t nice, but it’s no big deal, just ignore them, walk away, or yell for you. End of story. Don’t go on and on validating his feelings and blowing this up to more than it sounds like it was: sounds like a game of cops and robbers or something else similar that your child wasn’t a fan of. Just because your son was unhappy does not mean it was bullying. The others kids took it too far, but they are just little kids too. Not bullies.

  17. Angela F says:

    News flash…..it IS a big deal! This has happened to my kids at a young age, too, except with words. The biggest problem is parents who think it’s no big deal and don’t address the behavior accordingly. This only reinforces to the kids who bully that it is okay. Kids are going to disagree, sometimes fight, and not get along, but there is no excuse for intentionally trying to hurt someone else’s feelings or make them feel inferior. If the bad behavior isn’t corrected while young, it only continues as they get older. Anyone who thinks it hasn’t become a big issue nowadays is only fooling themselves. I would suggest they think about the families whose children have committed suicide due to unrelenting bullies.

  18. Giselle says:

    This is so sad and my stomach is hurting now. I have an 8 month old and i am really upset for your baby :(

    I agree with all te comments, but I do not agree with “don’t go validating his feelings”. It’s the best thing you can do is to validate his feelings. He is learning to express how he feels and that he is safe with you and can tell you everything without you getting mad. That’s very important. Especially in this mean bullying world. He can come to you. That is a very important lesson to learn. If all he got out of this is that lesson, than maybe it is meant to be that he learned it.

    I think it’s a great idea to teach a kid to yell for mom, but what of they cover his mouth?

    Maybe I’m too wary, but I don’t plan on letting my son play alone with older kids. Especially if you don’t know them or trust them.

    What is up with all the bullying? I do not remember any bullying incident when I was a child.

    I think something is wrong if two older boys are scaring a baby. 2 IS a baby. Sorry. But I would reevaluate that friendship.

  19. Tia says:

    You should ALWAYS validate your childs feelings! If you, the one person in the world as their mother don’t, what is to make them think anyone else will? If you teach them young that their feelings don’t matter, they will end up learning to bottle their feelings and that can cause a lot of hurt for a child growing up. And yes, two older kids “playing” that way with a younger kid, holding them down while they’re crying, it IS bullying. You think just because they are still younger themselves that it isn’t, but every bully starts somewhere, they don’t just wake up one day 17 years old deciding ‘hey, i’m going to be a bully today.”

  20. Mary Beth says:

    That *was* bullying. “Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance of power. It can include verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability.” They were forcing a smaller child (with less power) to stay in his room and threatening to shoot him with a toy gun. Duh.

  21. Suzanne says:

    I agree with Ingrid. If you make a really big deal out of it, the child will pick up on it. Especially if you start coddling him. It would have been better to address it with all the kids right when it happened. It would be like your child getting a scrape or cut – if you freak out, they will too. I’m not saying it’s not a big deal but it’s better to calmly address it & explain phrases or strategies he could use next time (because it will happen again with those kids or others).

  22. CC says:

    With a 2 year old: Affirm his feelings. Comfort him with hugs and kisses, and pray together with him that the scared feeling will “go away” and the Lord gives him peace and protection. (And gives you peace at heart too.)

    Teach him that if he ever gets scared at what “bigger” people are doing to him, yell for mommy, daddy, or the caregiver. Also, if he sees other people getting scared the same way, yell for mommy, daddy, or caregiver.

    I’m thinking it may have been helpful for him to actually SEE the bullies receive discipline immediately after the incident. And receive apologies from the bullies.

  23. ajc says:

    i really have to wonder why you weren’t right there overseeing your 2 1/2 yr old playing with children several years older. sure, everyone wants to socialize as adults-but if you have a young child with you it is probably not a good idea to have them just go off with other children who are not old enough themselves to supervise play & intervene as necessary (perhaps if there had been a 10 yr old + present)
    your child was not bullied-he was picked on by older children who have no real sense of right or wrong yet themselves and who still also needed supervision in this situation
    both sets of parents are at fault here

  24. Can Mom says:

    I hate to say this as I know that in this day and age it is frowned upon by many to condone physical violence, but this is why I will put my son in martial arts. I feel being able to defend himself is an important lesson that my son should learn. He is small for his age and I want him to have a strong sense of self, which I think is partially fostered by knowing that he can defend himself. What many people fail to realize is that boys express themselves often times by being aggressively physical. Play-fighting is a natural expression of emotions for boys and I know it can extend into bullying. This is apparent if you are around boys or if you do any reading in developmental psychology. My son will know that it is never ok to start a fight but it will be ok for him to defend himself.

  25. Christine M says:

    I remember one day at church my daughter was playing with the little girl she always plays with (they are about 18m apart). So they went to the bathroom and there was a bunch of other girls there too. They told the one girl to come on lets go and she was off running and left my poor baby behind who just smiled and said ‘wait for me’. I told my friend the little girl’s Mom about it and her answer was “ohh she’ll get over it they did the same thing to my daughter when she was that age”. I was heated and cried for my baby (might have been the preggo hormones) and even now my heart aches for her even though she has long forgotten it.

  26. MMMR says:

    I’m on the fence whether this was bullying. Boys playing with guns is an issue for some people -my daycare included – and if they were playacting something they saw on TV or the movies that could be an explanation (not an excuse). Then would it bullying? No.

    But that said I sympathize with you. My older daughter and her cousins are of similar age but my younger daughter is 2 years younger so they tend to exclude her. When she does get to play there’s some crying and aggressive behavior. We’ve sat the older ones down and asked what’s up. They say it’s because she’s younger and doesn’t know how to play. A valid reason. Sure we can force the older ones to play with the younger ones – but is that right? They would be segregated in the elementary school playground. Besides Friendship is a choice and a continuum. As she gets older its getting better between all of them but there are times when each of them feels left out – or better yet, chooses to play alone.

    We’ve told all of them they should play nicely, but at the same time, alone time is a valid choice. We just redirect them.

    His remembrance of the incident could also be because of how you reacted – right or wrong they take our cues. I’ve noticed my eldest is really working me at times.

  27. Kim says:

    Taking a deep breath – but here I go. 1) I am the biggest mama bear out there so I do get it. and 2) I have the perspective of having older kids now so it is a little different. I am not going to say “it’s no big deal” but I am going to take the more “it’s normal” route. And I could go on and on about the bratty kids out there so believe me, I am well aware that there are parenting issues. But from a childhood development stand point, I think older kids have always tried to maintain an authority over younger kids. One of my favorite childhood stories was one my mom told of my grandmother being a kid growing up on a farm and when the city cousin came to visit all the farm cousins brought him up to the second floor of the barn and told him that the always jumped from there into the haystack but since he was the guest he was the lucky one who got to go first (let me clarify, said child was between 8-10, not 2 and a half) and city cousin jumped. And got pretty scraped up. And farm cousins got in deep doodoo. But even as a child, I related to the story as funny, and normal. Not as a big bullying incident. Now whether or not city mother felt that it was, I cannot tell you. I have experiences from my own childhood when sometimes I was the troublemaker and sometimes others were making the trouble. There was the time we were playing kick the can and when my sister had to go find everybody, one mean boy sprayed her with bug spray. And boy did I let him have it. Neither one of us ever told my parents. As I am writing this, I thought of another, but I will spare you. Point is – it happens. And the younger you introduce them to social situations that they are navigating on their own, the younger they will be when it happens. By all means, arm them with a plan for the next time. But then change the subject, make a joke, sing a song. Move on. Especially if they are a kid who fixates! I have one who rolls with it and one who fixates and we can’t give the fixater an inch! On a happy note, some of these kids that you write off as brats early on, do come back and surprise you with how neat they are as teens and young adults. There is hope!

  28. heather says:

    Fannie i was teased in elementry school for my ears too. they stuck out. i came home crying alot and when i was in the 5th grade my parents did get surgery to pin them back. i can honestly say i still thank my parents to this day for doing that. i couldnt imagine jr high or high school like that.

  29. April says:

    How sad. Next time tell him to scream for help as loud as he can when someone bullies him and don’t stop till someone comes. That might scare them off and you will know to come right away. Just talk to him about it and let him know he is loved and perfect just the way he is.

  30. Kevin tippit says:

    I think those people who answered that its no big deal are full of Cr*p… Children at that age do understand their feeling and should express them. If you stop it early it won’t be a problem later in life….

    Let me tell you my son’s story, When he was a young teenager One of the local kids bullied his younger brother. Well I told and have always taught him NEVER to start a fight but NEVER walk away from one when someone hits you or it’ll get worse (Which it always does). When the kid started picking on my son he turned on the boy and beat him up, not bad but enough to say “I can do worse to you so stop” That same bully then went to school threatening my son saying he was going to shoot him. Well needless to say the Bully was kicked out of school for a month. As I talked to his (Bullies) mother she was mad at my son for defending himself and for her son being kicked out of school. She had no clue that her son did anything wrong at all….

    Its parents like that, that scare me… So to this day she tells everyone we know (WE did grow up together by the way) that I’m trouble…lol

    When people ask me why and I tell them they laugh at her and say oh she’s the crazy one, a few friends have even told her so and that my son was right for defending himself and that if it was their kid they would want them to do the same thing….

    Moral of my story: If you start early your kids wont turn into bullies themselves and continue the cycle of violence…No child should have to have that happen to them..Because Bullies never learn till they are told its wrong or do some thing stupid like her child did…

  31. lizzie ellis says:

    Things don’t seem to change. This happened to my youngest son now(32) when he was 6 at his school. He was such a quiet child. He always seemed to be on his own. This particular morning when he was ready for school he stood in the corner of the room pleading with me not to make him go. I sat him down and we talked about what had happened to him. He told me and it broke my heart. I was so angry that I asked my husband to take me to the school there and then. On arriving I dashed into the secretary’s office and kind of demanded to see the headmaster. His office door was open and he had heard me. He came out and asked his secretary to make me a coffee, I refused and asked him if I could have a word in private. Six boys had surrounded my child in the playground and been pushing him around between them. I told the headmaster that because he was in charge I thought that the buck stopped with him. Luckily he agreed with me and said to tell him who the boys were and to bring my son back into school that afternoon. He also assured me that if he had anything to do with it it would not happen again. My son went back tpo school that afternoon and the headmaster had the boys into his office one by one. We never found out what was said but my son said they were all visibly upset when they came from his office. What these boys need is definitely more discipline. As the other people have commented and I would agree its up to the parents to teach their children not to bully. 25 yrs later my son is a well rounded young man with a family of his own and probably does not even remember this incident. But even after all this time I can still remember how hurt I was for him. Thankfully it never left any lasting scares. My advice to all parents of children who are being bullied is talk to the parents of the bullies ask them how they would feel if it was their child being bullied. If it happens at school always involve the teachers/headmaster teach your child coping mechanisms. Always be there for them and always make sure you tellthem that it is not their fault.

  32. LizB says:

    You need to protect your son. Collecting him from that room was your husbands chance to defend your baby. Telling those boys that what they did was wrong and cruel, then taking then to the parents to tell them what happened. Telling other kids they aren’t welcome to monopolise your child’s toys when they’re playing; they share or miss out. Correcting the behaviour when you see it without going into a rage shows your child a. You’re on their side b. ways of dealing with it next time. C. That the behaviour isn’t normal. Parents, be parents; don’t let a bully be a bully but don’t you be a bully in the process. Stand up for what’d right. It does start this young.

  33. Elise Small says:

    http://www.facebook.com/imnobully

    We are working on an anti-bullying campaign so kids can learn the harmful effects of bullying. Please support us so we can help as many kids as possible.

  34. k.u. says:

    ” I DON’T WANT ANY TROUBLE! KIIIIII-AH!” Yeah, mess with that! ;) My kiddos go to karate ( youngest is 2 1/2) and I am fully confident that she could and most likely would use this if and when the need presented itself! They learn respect, perserverence, and self defense… I was bullied myself, now I send my kiddos to karate! No better feeling than to know that they can handle themselves, if needed!

  35. Nmcd says:

    These contributions really illustrate the point that bullying as a term is meaningless. We’ve gone from talking about toddlers to school aged children and one person is seriously talking about a power imbalance and habitual harrassment– Between toddlers!!!

    Think about that for a moment… No toddler has power. Yes, there are toddlers who are bigger and meaner but it’s up to adults to intervene and set them straight. They aren’t socialized yet. That’s why we sometimes need to step in.

    When we start using the Wikipedia definition of bullying to describe the behavior of unsocialized toddlers we are doing a real disservice to the kids involved, first by abdicating OUR responsibility for not supervising closely enough, by bringing all the baggage about bullying with it (as in it defines you for life – remember, we’re talking about toddlers) and by labeling children under five with a very potent and negative word. Real, actual bullying is horrible but it’s horrible because the people involved DO understand what they are doing. Their actions do not flow from their developmental stage but are intended to wound. Their action are a REAL power play because they are intended to galvanize a social group around the bully. It’s really just absurd to suggest there is and comparison between that and this. OF COURSE it was a big deal to the child involved and the parent but it incredibly naive to call it bullying and as I said before minimizes real bullying to the level of childish misbehavior.

    As someone who was seriously bullied for a time in high school I promise you what you’re describing is quite different. And if it’s any confort there are quite a few of us who are just fine.

  36. Steph says:

    Hi Emily,

    I totally understand how u feel! Cos when my toddler tends to get bullied when he was 1, 2 yrs old. bullied by older n same age kids. My boy nvr hit back. (he has a very mild type)
    Maybe I’m a bit paranoid but I nvr leave him alone playing wif other kids when he
    Was dat age.
    Wat u explained to him is totally fine cos dats wat I do too. Chn r smarter dan we think. If needed, i will even talk to d other party involved.
    I will let my boy know its nvr ok to b bullied or bully others. If he bully others, I will get him to apologise. I will teach him ways to protect himself n Shout for help.
    Now at 3, he’s able to stand up for himself.

    Take care

  37. Steph says:

    To add
    U can role play out “bulky scenes” at hm n teach him how to react in situations like dat. Read bks on tis topic helps too

  38. Jackie says:

    This isnt bullying imo. An overreaction by mom. All of lifes experiences will not be pleasant

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