July 02, 2015

Q: How do I get my son to stop bullying his cousins & other children?

A: Your 2-year-old might be aggressive, but isn't capable of being a bully. A bully intentionally picks out smaller, more vulnerable children to harass and humiliate. Your 2-year-old's brain simply isn't capable of doing that.

But aggression IS something that's common in toddlers. Don't label your child as a "bully" -- help him to learn about how to play well with others. These social skills are among the most advanced skills the human brain gains, and aren't fully formed until adulthood. So take heart! This is an ongoing learning process.

This is a great opportunity to get down on the kids' level to help them work out their differences. Help them take turns, use their words instead of their hands, and learn to identify their -- and others' -- feelings. You'll be helping him become a respectful, helpful, and patient child -- skills that will serve him well for a lifetime!

Answered by Dr. Heather Wittenberg

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Comments (1)

Anonymous
May 4, 2019
Wrong a child can bully no matter what age . Especially if they are two years old and they know right from wrong especially if they are being put in time out. If a child is going around pinching or pushing another child down at the age of two due to thrills that is considered bullying. When they have been told that that behavior is incorrect and they have been put in time out and they wait for the parent to leave the room to continue that bad behavior towards the other toddler that is considered bullying. Pinching or pushing or taking away toys for the thrill of it and laughing about it while the other child is crying and scared and running away is bullying. It’s probably based on if the child has eaten and if the child is tired and what time of the day it is because an aggressive child will be more aggressive if they are tired. Also a child is a reflection of whoever is raising them so you can teach a child to be sweet and nice from a very young age.