What we perceive as bullying nowadays is just how children learn social skills. Of course, there are real bullies out there that aim to hurt and disempower their victims, and these bullies should not be ignored. However, most children are not real “bullies.”
When we label children as bullies, especially young children, we impose labels on them that they are not developmentally capable of. Instead, we should stand back and watch our kids interact with others from a distance, and allow them to explore the boundaries of social interaction themselves.
Avoid the “bully” label.
Avoid labelling your child or any other child as a “bully.” Young children rarely bully others due to a desire to disempower, demean, or hurt other children. In fact, relational aggression is a normal process in developing children.
Of course, it’s difficult to watch children interact in negative manners. However, the developmentally healthy thing to do is step back and allow them to learn social skills on their own.
If a child is bullied, understand the situation thoroughly before taking action.
Sometimes, “bullying” is not truly bullying. It could just be a misunderstanding between two children, or it could have even been an accident. Most of the time, and especially with young children, simply asking the “bully” to apologize to the the “victim” resolves the issue completely.
Teach your child to handle bullies on their own.
When you consistently step in and handle difficult situations for your child, your child will likely feel incapable and powerless. This can be extremely disempowering for a child; therefore, it is better to teach your child how to handle bullies, and then step back and let them shine.