Does your kid tease others?
When is it just joking and jesting?
Is it OK for your child to chide classmates?
I remember watching my 6-month-old reach out and snatch a toy from her older sibling and then laugh when she screamed in response. Normal resentment and occasional anger felt by kids results in aggression. Kids seek to establish a dominant-submissive hierarchy. Calm, passive parents call my office frantic because their two-year-old pushes other children down. Teasing, picking on others, aggression IS a part of normal development!
It's normal, folks, but (before I get hostile comments) . . . and here's the big BUT; that doesn't mean you shrug your shoulders and say, "It's just kid behavior," or "Brenda says it's part of normal development" and let it slide. You must still step in and teach (discipline) appropriate behavior.
Accept that some aggressive behaviors are norm and keep a vigilant eye on your immature little darling. Be ready to intervene and teach simple conflict resolution whether your child is on the giving or receiving end.
My first daughter was emotionally tormented all through her first grade by a larger female classmate. I constantly reminded my daughter, "Practice your ignoring skills." I encouraged her to talk to the teacher. I rehearsed with her when to respond. I even tried the, "Try to make friends with her" talk. Somedays I resigned with, "Just toughen up!" It was a grueling year but, she learned some negotiation skills and gained new insights about herself. And, hopefully, I strengthened as a parent.
Sometimes parents are so exhausted they don't want to go to the "trouble" of supervising playgroups or sibling interaction. But, and here's another big BUT, don't let your exhaustion weaken your parental responsibility. Dr. Karl Menninger wisely observed, "What's done to children, they will do to society." Your precious little one grows up to either contribute to - or take from - society. What are you doing to teach your child about communication, conflict resolution, and compromise?
Believe me, I know child discipline is never-ending. But whether tots or teens, kids need adult guidance! For the sake of your happy homelife, your child, and of our society, I encourage you to remember the value and purpose of discipline . . . and just do it.
We can't cease all bullying - that'd be like stopping the wind from blowing - but we can do our best to model and teach how to get along with others. It's also important to coach the victims in developing inner fortitude.
Need more discipline help - or know someone who does? There are 8 effective methods on my 1-hour CD, "Creative Discipline." You can order it now for $12 at http://www.brendanixon.com (see right column for more info). It's easy listening for busy parents on the go.