My toddler is an accidental bully

Elfrieda - posted on 09/26/2012 ( 2 moms have responded )




How can I get him to play nicely with my friends' kids and cousins? They are 6-9 months younger than him. He'll be 3 in December, and he's bigger than them and VERY social. They're used to each other and used to play wonderfully, we didn't even notice them and just chatted and made crafts all morning while the kids played.

He wants to play and he'll drag one around by the hand, steal a toy to try to initiate a chase, and give hugs whether the other one wants it or not. Sometimes he'll run up to a kid, give him or her a push, and then wait to see what will happen next. I think he expects that the pushee will push back, or chase him, or start laughing or something. This is usually okay with his boy cousin, who likes running and dancing and kind of goes along with him, but the girl screams and fights and then will scream pre-emptively if he walks by her. Then he's concerned and wants to pat her on the back, she runs away and he's all, "hooray, we're running!" and runs too and is disappointed when she runs straight to her mom and stops running. Then he tries to pull her back to run some more. Then she screams right in his face and he gets mad and shouts NO and pushes her hard and she hits him, etc. Gah. He's several inches taller and heavier than her, or I'd be tempted to just let them fight it out.

Anyway, that was all this morning. It was exhausting constantly getting up to intervene! (I would take him away from the action and give him a sort of time-out away from the kids and explain what he did wrong and get him to repeat "No pushing" or whatever after me. I also smacked his hand for stealing from the girl which I don't normally do. He cried a lot about that.) How can I teach him to be gentle? I can see his intentions and they are not actually bad most of the time, but he's so big that he's scaring the other kids. He's got a very gentle spirit but he's boisterous and insists on interacting with the other children. I think the girl would be most pleased if they could ignore each other, but he doesn't understand that.


Katherine - posted on 09/26/2012




Just keep redirecting him. It's hard at this age because they don't understand and it's sad to watch YOUR kid all playful and sweet get rejected. I have 2 girls and my older one used to be the same way. Just a tad bit overzealous. I just kept moving her without saying a word. It was exhausting but I didn't want her hurting the younger kids.

I had also taught her "gentle" from 6 months. So that kind of helped.


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Amy - posted on 09/27/2012




I agree with Katherine just keep reenforcing that he needs to be "gentle" and show him how to play nicely at home. He sounds exactly like my nephew who is all boy and he gets pretty rough with my daughter who is a month younger than him, I have to usually bite my tongue and since his parents won't stop him I end up redirecting my daughter to play with something that he won't have any interest in because he has hurt my daughter in the past.

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