Saturday, January 5, 2013

The littlest bully?

We've gotten several comments from L's teacher in day care that he is a bit rough with the other kids. His behavior was described to us with a barely suppressed smile, because if you saw this kid.... He is all of 18 lbs at 15 months, all dimples and cuddles and tiny tiny tiny! Add in the fact that he still has no words, its hard to remember that he really is old enough to know better.

From the get-go he's had a problem with personal boundaries. He loves to run up and hug, to stick fingers in mouths & noses, grab hard onto ears, paw at chests, pinch and worry on any inches of skin he can get between his pointy nails.

As adults, it is a mixture of sweet & super-annoying*. But it must be absolutely terrifying to young children. We've seen him knock over a friend's 8 month old, trying to give him a hug. And he often paws at B's face which B (who is so NOT cuddly and really really likes his space) hates.

He also has no problem at all simply taking what he wants, and frequently leaves B in tears as he considers the half-finished puzzle, or half-read book that suddenly disappeared from his hands. We generally intervene when this happens.

The teacher said they remove him from the situation and make him go back and show "nice hands" or to give back the item and give a little hug, and that we ought to be consistent with that at home...we're trying it, but he really does not seem to understand.

Every time I go to the daycare, the director mentions how L is SO SO different from B, so self-assured and confident (as opposed to shy, often frightened B, I suppose?). She says it as a compliment, but I wonder.

*This post written while L pulled up my shirt and alternated pinching and nuzzling my belly and then grabbing and twisting my nipple.


  1. Huh. I wouldn't classify L's behavior as "bully-like" really in any way. He just needs to learn about personal space. He sounds like a totally sweet, affectionate little boy. It will come. It all goes to show how different kids can be from one another!

  2. We've had similar talks at Isa's "school". The teacher's talk to us about Isa's hitting a lot, but unlike most kids she isn't hitting out of anger or in retaliation for a lost toy. She hits out of excitement. She just walks up to a kid all excited so see them and shoves them or grabs at their hair. My daughter is super smart but it's clear her emotional intelligence needs work. She has "boundary" issues as well and a lot of trouble controlling her emotions. She has no idea when other people are upset or want her to back off. She is completely oblivious. So far we've just tried consistent reminders. We practice gentile hands a lot. There is some progress but it's agonizingly slow. I wish I had suggestions. I hope it gets better with time.