|Don't touch my cookie. I am not sharing.|
We talk a bunch about bullies and the different ways they act and talk. Some bullies are obvious- a kid too eager to take things away from others, call people names, or make other kids afraid of them for personal gain.
We talk to him about sharing and saying nice things to people, and loving others and letting them love you. "Don't be a bully," we say. "Bullies don't have friends." This helps him navigate typical toddler scenarios in concepts familiar and understandable to a kid his age. But some things are just over his head. And we struggle to explain them.
Recently, he saw pictures I was looking at on the internet of police brutality. Mama reads stories like that and he saw the picture of a police officer choking an unarmed person. It was a scary picture. I am sure that his grandparents have told him that policemen are nice and that they help people. So this picture confused him. "Is that police man a bully?" he asked. I think how to respond: "Yes, Rowan. He is." Sometimes people take a job with authority not to help others but because they are handed power with that job. And they abuse that power." Hmmm, time to scale back the language to toddler level. "Yes- Rowan. he is a bully. Not all cops are nice. Some are, some aren't."
|Learning empathy and helping from a friend.|
We here at Kunning Hallow talk a lot to Rowan and play games getting him to guess the motivations or thoughts of others. As we read a story, we extrapolate for him: "I bet that duck is sad right now, thinking he won't see his mommy again. What do you think he is feeling?" I also have a chart that shows cartoon faces for different emotions and I ask Rowan to point to the one he is feeling at times. He is developing the language around feelings and I hope that we are imparting to him that others have feelings, too- and he can influence feelings for good or ill.
What are some things that you parents of toddlers (or former toddlers) have done to curb bullying? To cultivate empathy?