I have to admit, I don’t love the title of this post and went back and forth on what I should call it. Do I call it bullying? Do I title it, “How to handle when your kid is picked on”? I don’t think that, at this age, kids really understand bullying and would hate to ascribe particular motives to three-year-olds, but I struggled with an alternative title.
Basically, over the last year, we have dealt with some difficulties with Lion and a couple of classmates. Lion has some really good friends at his new daycare and transitioned much better than we thought he would. Now that he’s been there for a year, I can say that we are so grateful that his old daycare closed, because his new one offers so much more and he (and Panda) has thrived. But one thing that surprised me was the struggle he has had with a couple of classmates. I’m not talking about the typical arguments that children have, or a rare incident of biting or being pushed, but instead about a situation where Lion started to feel very uncomfortable at school.
To be honest, at first I didn’t even realize there was an issue because Lion often would complain that he didn’t want to go to school. He struggled a bit with separation anxiety (though those issues seemed to have cleared up significantly) despite having been in daycare since he was two-months old, so I chalked up his behavior to that. Mr. Dolphin seemed to sense that more was at play, though, because Lion became increasingly insistent that he did not want to go to school. Mr. Dolphin finally asked, “Why don’t you want to go to school today?” And Lion responded that two other kids were tackling him, pushing him, and hitting him.
I felt a swirl of emotions and struggled a bit in figuring out what to do because I wanted to address the problem without overreacting, make sure that Lion felt safe, not put blame on anyone, while also using it as a learning experience. We have been raising our kids in the hopes that they will grow up with a servant’s heart and emphasize kindness, and I wanted Lion to be able to view other peoples’ actions with generosity while also knowing that he was allowed to stand up for himself.