Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Kid, the Bully?

I really wasn't expecting it to start this soon (or necessarily at all, for that matter). But it happened - I got my first note from Monkey's day care teacher about a behavior issue... Monkey has apparently started being more "aggressive" towards his classmates - pushing them down, taking toys away from them, and sometimes pulling hair. Where is this coming from? Is it just part of the Terrible Twos - a child who is gaining independence and wants to do what they want to do, when they want to do it, the heck with what anyone else wants? Or is it Only Child Syndrome - signs of a child who doesn't have to share toys and time at home? I want to blame one or both of these things, as opposed to worrying that somehow I'm doing something wrong and raising a brat and/or a bully, but the real question is, how do we fix it?

You know, it's ironic... Monkey has a July birthday, which means that once "real" school begins, with kindergarten, he is going to go through life being probably the youngest kid in his class (unless we hold him back a year, but we haven't really considered that at this point). So in my mind, I've always worried that Monkey is going to be the small kid, picked on by the other boys. Perhaps he's trying to nip that in the bud by showing his "toughness" from the get-go?? Interestingly, right now he is actually one of the oldest, if not the oldest, in his one-year olds' class, so I wonder if that dynamic isn't playing into this a bit too - he's just showing that he's the big kid in charge because he can?

I'm not sure yet what our plan is to tackle this. Do I start randomly taking toys away from Monkey to teach him that he can't always have what he wants? Or does that just frustrate him more and increase the acting out at school? I hate to be always saying "no," but I also don't want him thinking he can always have whatever he wants. This is such a tough stage - they have the power of the tantrum, while we struggle with letting them have the tantrums vs. giving in just to keep the peace. Yikes - it's gonna be a long year....