If your kid is known as the “bully” on the playground, you probably dread going out in public with him. Getting your child to interact “nicely” with others probably seems like an impossible feat. You want your kid to have friends, but you also don’t want to risk getting into a scuffle with another mom because your little one doesn’t quite know the meaning of keeping his hands to himself.
Yes, as parents you want your child to acquire friends and normal, age appropriate communication and social development. But this is often a challenge when your child is more concerned with turning his buddies into punching bags instead of engaging in exciting games with them.
Although you might be tempted to hide “Timmy” inside the house away from society, please don’t. This will only make matters worse. Inhibiting your child’s exposure to society will not enable him to function more properly when amongst others. Most certainly you’ve heard of the term “adapt”. In order for your child to become accustomed to something, he needs to be exposed to that thing more often. Also, you can encourage your child to play more positively with others by coaching him during role play. Try it!
Grab some dolls or stuffed animals. Pretend that you’re a buddy on the playground. Exhibit to your child the correct way of communicating and interacting with a playmate. Also, display the repercussions, of not playing nicely, to him. E.g. if he makes his stuffed animal hit your stuffed animal, then perhaps you could have your stuffed animal either cry or walk away. This should display to your child the negative repercussions of hurting someone’s feelings or possibly losing a friend if he doesn’t choose to engage in cordial play.
The next time you’re at the playground or another place where your child has access to other children, set expectations for him by reminding him of his playing manners. Playing manners should consist of sharing, taking turns, and keeping his hands to himself. Reveal to him ahead of time that if he breaks the “no hitting” rule, then he will have to leave.
Stick to your word. If your child hits another child, immediately grab his things and take him home. Explain to him why he’s leaving and why he isn’t allowed to play any longer. Also, you might want to utilize behavior charts in attempts to encourage your child to play more fairly with others.
If your child’s negative behavior escalates, it might be healthy to seek a therapist, counselor, or intervention specialist who is able to implement methods that will enable your child to manage his aggression more effectively.