Facts about Bullying

Pete bursting through the doorThe National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence found that 20.4 percent of children ages 2 ~ 5 years old had experienced physical bullying in their lifetime and 14.6 percent had been teased (verbally bullied).

To actually prevent bullying before it starts, we need to focus on how bullying behaviors develop—for those engaging in bullying behaviors and those being targeted—starting in early childhood.

When we talk about bullying, the early childhood audience is often forgotten.

Many young children who are aggressive with their peers will not engage in bullying behaviors in later childhood and adolescence. Likewise, being the target of an aggressive behavior does not mean that child will be victimized for life. Still, these early aggressions (and conversely, the early skills of sharing, listening, and empathy) are precursors to later behavior, and it is important to intervene early. –

We identified key contextual factors linked to bullying behaviors:

1. Parents’ treatment of each other, their children, and others influences how young children treat their peers. Specifically, parents’ use of harsh discipline and children’s exposure to domestic violence are related to increases in bullying behavior, while parents’ positive engagement in their children’s lives, such as through interactive play, reading, and meals together, seems to be protective against bullying behavior. Parents serve as role models for their children, and modeling empathy, concern, and care for others may help deter later bullying. –

2. Young children exposed to maltreatment are more likely to be involved in bullying, both as the target and the aggressor. Not only can maltreatment change children’s behaviors, it has been shown to fundamentally alter the development of young children’s brain structures, which can lead to developmental deficits including in the social and emotional domains.

3. Television and other media can contribute to the development of both aggression and pro-social skills. Screen time for your children is one of the most debated subjects among early childhood advocates. Research shows that increased television watching is related to increases in aggressive behavior even if the content is not inherently violent. Conversely, when shows are specifically designed to promote skills such as sharing, empathy, and other pro-social skills—shows like Sesame Street, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, or in past generations, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood—children are more likely to engage in these behaviors after viewing.

4. Building young children’s social and emotional skills and promoting welcoming classrooms can significantly reduce aggression. Evaluations of several evidence-based social and emotional learning programs for young children, such as PATHS for Preschool, Second Step, and Al’s Pals, show that helping children understand and control their own emotions, and understand those of others, can significantly reduce conflict and aggression. Even without these formalized interventions, teachers of young children (and parents for that matter) can work to reduce bullying behaviors. The Guidance Matters column in the professional journal Young Children provides a number of resources that can support these efforts.
Overall, it is clear that more attention needs to be paid to identifying, researching, and preventing the roots of bullying behavior in young children. It is only when we recognize that bullying behaviors do not simply appear in elementary or middle school, but may be part of a developmental trajectory, that will we be able to stop bullying.
Deborah Temkin, Child Trends’ Program Area Director for Education
Dr. Kyle Snow, Director for the Center for Applied Research at the National Association of the Education of Young Children
See more at: http://www.childtrends.org/to-prevent-bullying-focus-on-early-childhood/#sthash.qbghb6fB.dpuf

While much attention is paid to bullying among older children – both in the media and in research – relatively little focus has been paid to bullying in early childhood.
However, measuring bullying is challenging to do among young children. They tend to over-report behaviors as bullying that most definitions would not include.
The body of knowledge on young children and bullying, however, is growing.
A research review paper was published in Educational Psychology Review by Vlachou and her colleagues that provides an excellent overview of current research on bullying in early childhood. Here are a few highlights:
Defining bullying
A series of acts intended to hurt another child, committed by a child to gain or to assert greater power over another child. The definition is important because it distinguishes bullying from rough and tumble play and other aspects of young children’s developing social skills.
How common is bullying in early childhood?
Data from one study of children’s experience with violence showed that 20.4% of children ages 2-5 had experienced physical bullying in their lifetime and 14.6% had been teased (verbally bullied). Estimates suggesting that bullying is more common among young children than school-aged children. They report one study of 4-year-olds showing 25% of children as bullies and 22% as victims and 2% as victim/bully.

In other words, just about half of children studied were involved in bullying – as aggressor or victim. By contrast, data for older school-age children, show 7-15% as bullies, 10% as victims and up to 10% as bully-victims. The limited data also suggest that the roles children assume in preschool are less stable than they are among older children – so a child who is a bully today maybe a bully-victim or victim later in the year.

One finding that emerges in studies of bullying among preschool-aged children is that bullies tend to be well embedded in social networks (that is, they have many friends), though they also tend to associate with other bullies. There is an interesting gender difference – girls who are bullies are more likely to be socially isolated. It seems like bullying is more acceptable for boys than it is for girls. By contrast, victims of bullies tend to have fewer reciprocal friends in the social group. Whether victims’ social isolation is the result of bullying or a contribution to it is unclear – having few friends makes children vulnerable to a bully, but bullies tend to enjoy higher status among their peers than do victims.

What can be done about bullying?
Both the bully and the victim have poor social and behavioral skills. So programs that focus on building children’s social skills are often considered to be one broad bullying prevention measure.

Improving Social Development
Playdates are a crucial part of growing up, but kids with social issues can have a hard time making plans. “Having a playdate is a great way to introduce your child to the concept of using rules when a friend comes over and to teach him how to be polite to guests.
Go over all the different things the kids can do together, and then have your kid offer his guest three activities to pick from. Have them take turns picking activities from there, to avoid fights and to help teach compromise.

To enhance your child’s social development further, Lawrence Balter, Ph.D., child psychologist and parenting expert, suggests the four strategies below.

Teach empathy: Run through different scenarios by asking your child how other people might feel when certain things happen, and substitute different situations each time.
Explain personal space: Tell your child that it’s important for everyone to have some personal space to feel comfortable, and practice acceptable ways to interact with someone during playtime.

Practice social overtures: Teach kids the proper way to start a conversation, get someone’s attention, or join a group of kids who are already playing together. These are all situations that can be discussed and brainstormed at the dinner table, or in the car on the way to school or activities.

Go over taking turns: Sit with your child for at least an hour a day and play with him to explain what it means to wait, take turns, and share.

There are plenty of good apps available that reinforce social skills. “Model Me Going Places” allows kids to look at photos of other children modeling appropriate behavior in certain situations (the hairdresser, doctor, playground), “Responding Social Skills” teaches kids how to respond to others and how to understand others’ feelings, and “Small Talk” presents conversation fillers for awkward social moments. But if your child still seems to have difficulty keeping up with the skills she should be developing for her age group, it may be time to give her a little help. “Some children have problems with impulse control and self-regulation; some have a problem with processing information,” Dr. Balter says. “These issues can lead to [kids] having awkward interactions with peers.” So if social issues cause your child fear or make him feel isolated, seek help from your pediatrician or another child expert, such as a therapist.
Resource: Parents.com

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Pete’s Monster ~ My New Friend

Pete’s Monster My New Friend, is a continuation from the first book called Pete’s Monster.

In the first book, the story ends with Pete escorts the Blue Monster to live in his older brother George’s bedroom. Even though the Blue Monster had not caused Pete any harm or concern for him to be afraid of the Blue Monster. Pete wanted the Monster out from under his bed and George’s room seemed the obvious place for the Monster to stay.

It wasn’t till in the second book, Pete’s Monster ~ My New Friend, that we watch a friendship grow.

PETE's MONSTER_My New Friend COVER resizedThe Blue Monster knocks at Pete’s bedroom door one night and asks to return to sleeping under Pete’s bed. Pete is happy that the Monster wants to come back as he missed his companion, the Blue Monster. His new friend.

Pete leaves his bedroom after lights out against his Mother’s orders. He goes into the kitchen to get his new Monster friend something to eat, after the Monster tells Pete that he is hungry.

Pete’s Monster ~ My New Friend is also a rhyming storybook. It subtly and creatively covers the topic of friendship and was created to inform children at an early age that a friend can be of any size, shape or color.

The moral in the first Pete’s Monster book is that you should never lash out and hurt anyone, (bullying) because the true person who gets hurt the most could end up being you as you could be labeled as a bully at school and no one will want to be your friend.

 

Please enjoy reading Pete’s Monster and if you have any questions, please contact us.

Pete's Monster kindle edition

Pete's Monster available on Amazon

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