Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My Child: The Bully

Dear Internet:

I need your help. My kid? He's a bully. At school he hits whomever he wishes if they have a toy he wants. I know, I know...he's only (almost) 3. Kids his age do this. But, dear Internet, here's my problem: he does not do this when he's home, or with his grandparents. I have had friends and their child(ren) over before, and he has not hit those children. Is it because Mark and I are present?

How do I stop this? Can I? If I'm not there when it happens, can I discipline him after the fact? Do I leave this up to his day care providers? They have put him in an age-appropriate time out, but apparently that's not working! Can I deny him a privelege at home because he is bad at school? Is he old enough to understand that?

Mark and I do not tolerate's simply not allowed at home. Anthony is spoiled, and we know that. But he is disciplined and expected to act nicely (again, age-appropriately). He can tell you that hitting is wrong, but when I ask him WHY he hit a friend at school, he doesn't respond. Should he be expected to?

I am at my wits end with this! He will shortly be moving into the three-year old program at school. I'm hoping that a "bigger" kid will hit him back and let him see that hitting is so not cool. I cannot believe I just typed that, but it's true! Maybe that's the only way for him to understand!



Richard said...

I think he's probably old enough to understand that he's lost a privilege at home because of misbehavior at school, especially if you explain it to him. I do think it's important to nip bullying behavior in the bud, and I don't think it's best to hope that someone else hits him. I think it's important for him to know that he shouldn't do it because it's wrong, not just because the person might hit back.

You also mention he does it when someone has a toy he wants. There's an element of wanting instant gratification here too then. He doesn't want to wait for what he wants. When you decide how to deal with this problem, be sure you also deal with the problem of not accepting delayed gratification.

Anonymous said...

My son is 4 and goes through this too,, I leave it up to the day care to discipline him because 5 hours later is to late to punish him I think,, when it gets bad my husband and I do discuss it with him and explain why he doesnt get a treat at home if he has hit someone,, so its not an actual punishment but withholding the extras,, i think little boys in general go through this ,, i think as he gets older he will grow out of it ,, the daycare needs to be consistent and fair with him,, they need to explain to him taking turns etc,, ive learned one thing though with having 3 children , it takes 2 to fight ,, im not saying Anthony is right for hitting as a reaction but i doubt he is always the one doing it first,,, the teachers need to explain to both children involved the importance of playing nice and sharing,, sorry im not much help