Relational Aggressiveness In Our Children

Relational Aggressiveness in Our Children - Anchor Of Promise

We have always known that two is company and three’s a crowd when we were growing up, but little did we know that today, children’s aggression towards others has escalated using bribery and threats as young as two and a half years of age.

Pain and agony of the pre-teen years in which I viewed my own daughter’s struggles, only brought more tears and hurt by the things said and done all in the name of friendship. In society it has worsened through the years as more victims arise and voice the hurt that has left them with life-long eating disorders, depression, self-harm and suicidal tendencies.

The recent article, “Little Children and Already Acting Mean” in the Wall Street Journal (see link below) only solidifies the seriousness of type of behavior, especially on ones so young.

If we as parents do not actively involve ourselves in the relational aspects of our children, I sense that many of them will be left with detrimental after effects. If we do not break this continual pattern, will we be responsible for the aftermath of what happens to these kids in the long run?

Don’t wait to find out if your child is the aggressor or the victim. I have seen it both ways and know all too well that many parents are not aware of their child’s involvement in this type of activity. So let’s inform each other, support each other, and show our kids what real friendship and relationships are.

Little Children and Already Acting Mean

5 thoughts on “Relational Aggressiveness In Our Children

  1. Dear Stacy,
    Thanks for drawing attention to this unsettling escalation of aggression in young children-even among friends. I’ve witnessed it as a teacher and (sadly) as a parent (when our son was mistreated and ignored even by friends).
    When people think of bullying, they often overlook (or aren’t aware of) this subtle form of bullying.
    I’m glad you shared a link for the Wall Street Journal’s article. Yes, engaging students in activities which promote empathy would be one solution.
    Thanks again for sounding the alarm.

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    • I, too, have seen this happen. I do believe however, that many children as young as 5 are making statements without really comprehending what they are saying. But there are some that do understand and need correction immediately or they will be the future bullies that many innocent victims are dealing with now. I also believe that many parents fall into two categories. They either cannot fathom that a young child would even consider making threats, especially their own so it becomes a denial issue or they truly are not aware of this issue in general. In either case, this problem needs attention and we as parents need to be pro-active in getting that child help whether they are the victim or the one showing the aggression.

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  2. Thanks for drawing attention to this overlooked form of bullying. Though parents, like me, are painfully aware of how it impacts a young child…my 33 yr. old son is still scarred by past mistreatment from friends. It’s extremely unsettling to see how relational aggression is increasing. I witnessed it when teaching second graders. The Wall Street Journal article included news of an encouraging trend: to engage young children in activities designed to promote empathy. Certainly a change of heart and thinking is needed. Thanks again for sounding the alarm.

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  3. Okay, yes, there is bullying and yes, kids are mean. But kids have ALWAYS been mean and there has ALWAYS been bullying. I remember it vividly in middle school and high school. The schools didn’t handle it then and they don’t handle it now. It really is up to us parents, whether it’s the same or worse than it ever has been.I would hope most parents say to their kids that they can tell them anything, but we really, really mean it. Middle school/tween/preteen are the hardest years for a kid and that’s when the mean kid/bullying things began for us. I want to equip my son first of all, not to be that kid, but to know how to deal with it if it happens to him or if he sees it happening to another kid. I think that’s something we all want for our kids. We’ve been reading a great new book that we are really excited about, so I just have to share. It’s called “MiddleSchool: The Inside Story- What Kids Tell Us, But Don’t Tell You,” by Cynthia Tobias and Sue Acuna. It has interviews and feedback from middle schoolers, parents and teachers (and a little humor) to help us deal with tackling social media, technology, Internet, gaming, faith, purity, puberty, communication, independence, discipline and accountability, and deepening and strengthening positive, loving relationship. It’s so rich in valuable help as we face these transitional years with our kids. I think everyone with a middle schooler or who will have a middle schooler will benefit from it. I highly recommend it!

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    • Thank you for posting your comment. I agree with much of what you shared. However, the issue that I am speaking about is in regards to small children (kindergarten age). I know of two situations right now as I am writing this in which it was outright aggressiveness. The first involved a 5 yr old in which she was pushed off of a chair in class all because a boy wanted to use the computer. He did not apologize or feel sorry for what he did. The second case involved a 5 yr old girl in which she threatened my teenage daughter that if she was not friends with her, she would kill her with a gun. And it wasn’t the first time she made threats like this. I have also seen kindergarten age children make guns out of lego’s and encourage other children to pick on someone. I am not the only one seeing a rise in this. There are plenty of others. It was not like this years ago. But with the very quiet way that violence is being added in cartoons and being influenced by others, I am not surprised at this. I absolutely agree that parents and teachers need to be more aware and informed to these issues and find ways to counter this abuse. I think it is great that people are stepping up to the plate and even writing books to help learn about this issue. If we don’t start to bring positive ways for our small children to handle their emotions and aggression, we will soon have a larger group of violent tweens and teens. Thank you for sharing the book. I will definitely look into and even promote it after seeing it.

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