5 reasons why your toddler is bullying

May 18, 2018
  • 1 / 6

    Toddlers show their aggression in different ways.

    Some strike furniture, some lie on the ground screaming, and some simply lash out, bite or even pull your hair.

    Here are five reasons why your toddler may be hostile, and how you can help.

    Related: 6 ways to teach your kid to deal with bullying and teasing about her weight

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  • He is self-centred
    2 / 6 He is self-centred

    The typical one-year-old is full of his own self-importance.

    He sees the world only from his perspective and he expects everyone else – children as well as adults – to do precisely what he wants, when he wants.

    As far as he is concerned, the world revolves around him, and if he doesn’t get what he wants, he becomes aggressive.

    How you can help:

    Teach your toddler that other people have feelings, too.

    For example, tell him that he can’t play with that valuable, fragile ornament because you will be unhappy if he breaks it.

    He needs you to point this out so that he begins to understand everybody in the family is important, not just him.

    Related: 10 ways to help your child overcome bullying

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  • He lacks control
    3 / 6 He lacks control

    At this age, your little one hasn’t yet gained control over his temper, and so he struggles to keep his anger in check.

    He is on a very short fuse, ready to explode with rage at a moment’s notice.

    Once his tantrum has started, it becomes hard to manage.

    How you can help:

    Don’t take his violent behaviour personally, even if it physically hurts you – his fury is almost certainly an involuntary action.

    When he has an outburst, speak to him soothingly and reassure him that he’s safe.

    Do this until he has calmed down.

    Related: Why does Singapore have the 3rd highest bullying rate in the world?

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  • He thinks it is funny
    4 / 6 He thinks it is funny

    It is possible that your little one finds it highly amusing to pull someone else’s hair or to slap his sibling in the face.

    It may not occur to him that the individual on the receiving end of his bullying might not find it funny.

    (Of course, he doesn’t laugh when someone is aggressive to him.)

    How you can help:

    If you notice that he smiles or giggles when he strikes his sibling or friend, point out that this is no laughing matter.

    Tell him that his action has hurt the other person, and encourage him to consider how he would feel if someone did that to him.

    Say to your toddler, for example: “Your friend will not play with you any more if you hit him.”

    Related: 10 steps to bullyproof your kid for Primary 1

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  • He copies others
    5 / 6 He copies others

    Consider the possibility that your one-year-old behaves aggressively to others when he can’t get what he wants because he has seen others behave like that.

    For example, he saw this in his playgroup, or maybe he has observed hostile behaviour from his sibling at home.

    How you can help:

    Set a good example yourself and try to reduce negative behaviour among your other kids, as well.

    Don’t lose your temper when your toddler is acting up.

    Stay in control, and act firmly, quickly and rationally – remove him from the victim while repeating “no”.

    Related: Bullying in Singapore: When your kid suddenly has no friends

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  • He has learnt that aggression works
    6 / 6 He has learnt that aggression works

    It may be that your toddler has learnt from previous experience that bullying is a very effective means to get what he wants.

    He could have found that when he issues a threat, he usually get his own way.

    How you can help:

    Stand your ground in the face of his temper. If you give in to his raging demands, you’ll simply teach him that his anger is effective.

    There will be times when he deals with his frustration without acting up – use these moments to praise him for showing control.

    This focuses his attention on how you want him to behave.

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

    Related: 5 signs that your child is a bully

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