Bullying has negative impacts on both the perpetrator and the victims. Parent and educator involvement in the early years can do a lot to prevent bullying behavior which can escalate in the first years of elementary school.
Brightside Academy has often discussed anti-bullying initiatives with our parents during parent-teacher conferences and other family events. Research has found that parent meetings, training, and parent-teacher conferences were associated with reductions in bullying especially when problems were tackled while children were still in preschool.
“Kids whose parents monitor their behavior and have consistent rules are more likely to have healthy and close relationships with their peers, be more engaged in school, have higher self-esteem, and are less likely to bully others” (Stopbullying.gov – CDC’s Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers: Using Positive Parenting to Promote Safe, Stable, and Nurturing Relationships).
Teachers who spend a lot of time with kids on a daily basis can often tell when an issue is minor or is becoming more of a problem. They can notify parents early of signs that their child was showing aggression or unfriendly behavior toward others. Parents can then seek professional help and other resources to work with their child on improving their behavior. Many available parent therapies teach age-appropriate ways to model behavior and establishing consequences to encourage good behavior for their children at home.
In the classroom, teachers can do their part by working with children to help them identify the feelings which may cause aggressive behavior and how to manage their emotions in healthy ways. In preschool, aids such as emotion charts, red-light-yellow-light green-light strategies, and discussions on appropriate reactions to our emotions help children build self-regulation and self-control early on.
When parents and educators work together to address behavioral red flags while children are still in preschool, they can achieve improved behavior outcomes which reduce the risk of long-term, more serious ramifications of bullying in later school years.