Bullying in Kindergarten

Mar 20, 2012 by

At work, I recently ran a Webinar  addressing the transition from daycare to Kindergarten or first grade. We were speaking to parents who had children between the ages of 3 and 6 years old. During the webinar I was fielding questions from the audience and was shocked by the number of questions coming in about one particular topic. Bullying. The webinar team never even tossed that idea out as one to discuss and I was genuinely surprised that parents of children so young were concerned with it. As a parent of a child entering Kindergarten next year, it’s something I’d never even thought of. Sure there have been kids in Max’s preschool class who have called him a baby because he didn’t talk or write as well as they did, but I never considered that to be bullying — just a 3 year old learning social skills. But was it actually bullying? We’re trying hard to teach our boys to be kind and accepting, but have never talked to them about what to do when someone is not that way to them. How do you teach the difference between walking away from “mean” kids and ignoring the talk and needing to tell a grown up that someone is teasing or hurting you?
 
There is a documentary about bullying coming out soon that I’ll be interested to see. Bully is a story chronicling children who have been bullies, children who have been bullied, and parents who have lost children to suicide due to bullying. If you visit the site, you might consider signing the petition to change the rating of this movie from R to PG-13. It was given an R rating due to some saucy language, but the outrage about that is the fact that technically, you can’t see an R rated movie until you’re 17 years old. By then, it’s almost too late. As evidenced by the questions coming in during our webinar, younger children need to see this movie. Middle schoolers and younger teens need to see the impact of their words or to know that they are not alone and can reach out for help before it’s too late.
 
 For more insight, follow our blogger Amy’s step by step suggestions on how to tackle the transition to Kindergarten.

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Kris-Ann

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6 Comments

  1. carlycorrigan

    I definitely agree that the documentary Bully should be seen by middle school and high school aged children! I do feel that first and foremost it is the responsibility of a child’s parents to teach them right from wrong. The golden rule – treat others as you would want to be treated – is so important! As a former kindergarten teacher, when there was any sort of bullying or disrespect going on I always tried to nip it in the bud. My first step was to speak to each child separately. With the “bully’ I would try to get them to empathize with the child they were picking on. With the child who was being bullied I would either talk to them about what they should do when that happens (i.e. so they don’t react in a negative way and get in trouble themself) or commend them on doing a good job with how they responded (telling a grown up and not uding physical means or mean words). Last, I would do a little “mediation” session where he/she would need to apologize for what they did and they could give each other a hug. Especially at that age children are much more likely to forgive and forget… and hopefully learn the value of being kind to one another!

  2. Nice post, KA. As we look at preschools for Reid, I’ve thought a bit about how mean kids can be and how painful it will be, as his mom, when Reid’s feelings are genuinely hurt by someone else. Admittedly, he’s been pretty sheltered thus far, but we do try to teach him, even at this young age, that our words and actions can hurt people. When his little brain can muster it, I want him to be empathetic. But, I haven’t given much thought to dealing with bullying as such (at 2 years old, it’s just Lord of the Flies on the playground and in the sandbox at the park). I’m not even sure what consists of bullying. Sometimes I think that word gets overused. We’ve all been teased. I’m not saying it’s right or should be tolerated, but that’s part of being a kid (and unfortunately, part of being an adult sometimes too). Who didn’t come home and shed a few tears because the cool, pretty girl or hot jock said something hurtful? Being teased sucks, but maybe it can teach us to be more resilient, tougher, maybe even more confident. I’m not looking to raise some sort of overly sensitive kid OR a kid who feels like he has to bottle everything up until he explodes. But when do you know when teasing has crossed the line? How do you know when your kid needs to work it out with his peers on his own, or, unfortunately, just tough it out and when your kid should ask an adult to intervene? Clearly, and resoundingly, way BEFORE it gets to the point that he feels he has no where to turn but to end his life. But there’s some grey area in there. At least for me. I’m still trying to get Reid to share his toys, not throw sand at the park, and maybe not pick his nose in public. I’m hoping I still have some time to figure out the bullying stuff. Maybe in the meantime, kids will start coming with user’s manuals.

  3. kukla1211

    Thank you for posting Bullying in Kindergarten. As a former youth who was affected by bullying in middle school, it is an important issue to be aware of. Lady Gaga has started an organization called “Born This Way Foundation; Empowering Youth, Inspiring Bravery” http://www.bornthiswayfoundation.org. We need to teach our children tolerance and to stand up for the little person.

  4. I was taller than everyone. About 10 years ago in College I watched a smart kid from London, tell another Thats not cool. After being told he was fat. He the victim reiterated no man I am not kidding that really isn’t cool.
    It was a true aha moment, that you must respond to a bully the first time . I have read on this extensively. At the other point telling someone they are a jerk works just as well.

  5. All really important insights. Thanks for sharing. Kathy and Chris, I agree with both of you. Kids need to stand up for themselves but also for each other.

  6. Angela garcia

    it is a good idea to show this video on a big projector in front of the entire middle schools to pick
    pretend to my better choices. and a moment of. slience for the ones the were gone due to bully
    issues. then see if it was a success and move from there

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