What would be your first response if your 4 yr. old is being bullied? This is challenging for any parent and your first response is an important moment in you and your child’s emotional well-being. The first feeling we have is anger and dismay for our vulnerable child. The response connected to the anger is never an appropriate one. We want to lash out, know who the bully is, and someone has to pay for the hurt your child has endured.
Your child does not need to feel your anger. They fear your anger and find it intimating and not all that different from the energy they felt from the bully. They need to feel your compassion and your empathy and you need to ask them how this behavior makes them feel. The feelings piece of this moment is the most urgent connection that is needed between you and your child. You can discuss their feelings and yours. This is different from feeling your anger. This is a validation of the feelings that are appropriate from this kind of behavior. Reassure your child that there will be an action to help resolve this behavior. Be sure your child understands your response and feels comfortable with it.
Bullying no matter what age should never be allowed or condoned. It is emotional abuse and it is cruel on any level and at any age. The next step is to contact the school and be sure you are contained and respectful. The first order of business is to make sure that this behavior is not repeated. Hopefully, your child’s program will have a plan in place to deal with this behavior. An in person meeting is warranted no matter how busy you are. The person to person contact is crucial for you need to assess what is the real attitude of the administrator and the teacher. This can not be done through the phone, email and text.
As a parent, you have the responsibility to protect your child and to help the program make the decision concerning the actions that will be taken to address this child and behavior. This plan needs to be appropriate for your child and your family. When that decision is made and you are comfortable with it, then you need to sit down with your child and share what the plan is. Your child is never too young to grasp your concern, your compassion, your understanding and your responsible reaction.
However, there is always an however. You are not present with your child in many circumstances. What skills can you teach you child to address a bully that helps them feel powerful, in charge and emotionally connected to themselves and their own emotional well-being. The Voices of CJ program provides the skill development that parents can teach to address another child’s unkind behavior. Please go to the EQforChildren website http://EQforChildren.com and also the YouTube Channel, “Children Become EQ Smart with CJ” https://www.youtube.com/c/ChildrenBecomeEQSmartwithCJ to help teach your children this skill with BowsKnows.