Who's a big bad bully?

Who's a big bad bully?

It's quite a shock to learn that your toddler is a bit of a bully at his childcare centre. You heard that he hits and bites his friends whenever he can't get his way to the front of the queue, and that he snatches their toys whenever he wants without asking. You need to work with his teachers to end his aggression now.

Your first reaction might be disappointment, anger or even embarrassment at your two-year-old's behaviour, especially when he seems so sweet at home. Before you take any action, however, consider the possible explanations for his conduct. For instance:

- HE SEES AGGRESSION AT HOME
If a child is raised in a family where physical or verbal abuse is commonplace, he's likely to behave in a similar way outside his home. That's why aggressive parents often have children who bully.

- HIS SIBLING HAS BEEN SEEN INTIMIDATING HIM
Maybe your toddler is on the receiving end of bullying from his elder brother or sister, and displaces this fear by doing the same to others. Remember that bullying can take many forms, including verbal abuse and social exclusion.

- HE BULLIES TO RELEASE TENSION
A two-year-old who's not allowed to express frustration at home will find at outlet for these negative feelings elsewhere - and taking advantage of another kid is a perfect vehicle for this. Feelings of inadequacy can also lead a child into bullying behaviour because this gives him a position of authority.

- HE DOES IT DUE TO PEER PRESSURE
A toddler wants to be liked by others of his own age at the childcare centre, and will follow the group standards of behaviour in order to gain acceptance. If his young friends are antisocial and aggressive, then he may imitate them in order to keep them as pals.

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