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During playtime, our two-year-old lets other kids bully her. If she is on a swing and another child tries to shove her off, she will immediately get down and let the other child sit. How can we teach her to stand up for herself?


Stephen Hopson Replied: When I was boy, a neighborhood girl used to bully me at the bus stop. I ran down the hill screaming at the time of my lungs and begged my mom to go back up to the bus stop with me and teach the young lady a lesson or two. But she didn't. She stood at the front door and told me to get back up there and go to school. I thought she was the meanest mother in the world but years later she told me she had to do it because then I wouldn't know how to stand up on my own two feet. Now, I realize I was a lot older (around 8 or 9) than your 2 year old. I have one question for you: Do you let your child participate in the decision making process for herself? The answer to that question alone might reveal the reason she lets others bully her.
Posted On 2008-06-02 09:56:11
Lexi Welanetz, Psy.D. Replied: At her age I wouldn't be too worried about it. Somewhere between two and three and a half, she will start to have reactions to other kids pushing her out of the way or taking her toys. It's a good idea to protect her at this point and stand up for her, by saying to the other child, "right now, it's so-and-so's turn and next it will be your turn." She will internalize and learn from you being assertive. When she does start to have reactions to others, it's important to talk to her about how she feels about it(help her name her feelings, by asking did that make you sad or angry when...). Next, give her some good things to say when someone takes her toys or pushes her out of the way. If you start to notice this becoming a real problem as she moves into being three and four and she is not reacting to others aggression, then I would start reflecting to her how it might make you feel if that had happened to you.
Posted On 2008-03-16 16:46:57
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