My child says the children at school are always putting each other down. What can I do?

My child says the children at school are always putting each other down. What can I do?

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Children are small in a world full of much bigger people, and young children frequently feel that adults disrespect them and see them as less than fully human. They often deal with these feelings by teasing and putting each other down; in doing this, they're showing someone a little smaller or a little younger how they've been treated themselves.

When your child expresses concern, first and foremost listen, without going off into your own issues and reactions. You can ask, "What do the kids say? What does that feel like? How do you feel when you see people putting each other down?" Let your child express his emotions, by talking about it or by crying or getting mad.

But don't stop there. Talk to the teacher or a school administrator and make sure your child's school has a policy against children's disrespecting each other. If it doesn't, help create one. The policy should state that teachers and parents will step in when a child is saying something mean. The general approach should be: "I know you wouldn't say anything this hurtful unless something was bothering you or something like this had happened to you. What's going on?" If you can keep the perspective that children don't do mean things unless someone does something mean or scary or hurtful to them, then children will feel understood when they're the ones doing the putting down.

If you have a little extra time and energy, you can also volunteer to take small groups of children out of the classroom for a bit to talk about teasing and put-downs. Ask them what it feels like when it happens to them, what it feels like to do it, and what the one thing is that they wish no one would ever say to them again. If the group is small enough (two to three), the children will feel they can talk with one another, and you can help them with their negative feelings. Share your ideas with the teacher, and get her input.

Tell your child that when someone is acting mean, he's feeling bad inside. Say it's not about the child who's being put down, and that the child who's being mean needs help, and that he can ask an adult for help. The main thing adults need to remember is that no child really wants to be mean and hurtful to another. It's a sign that he's feeling bad. Punishment will only make him feel worse, and more prone to act out toward another child when the adults are out of earshot.

Watch the video: My Child Doesnt Want To Go To School (October 2022).

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