Children, especially girls, begin to withhold friendship as a weapon as early as three years old.
Parents are often startled to realize that relational aggression — using the threat of removing friendship, ostracism, and other forms of social exclusion — can appear in children as young as three years old. For children that young, the experience of being pushed away by a friend can be utterly baffling, provoking anxiety at daycare or preschool. Moreover, as parents and educators observe these more subtle forms of bullying, it’s becoming clear that they require as much attention as physical aggression. In an excellent piece in the Wall Street Journal, Laura Barbour, a counselor at an Oregon elementary school, observes, “Kids forget about scuffles on the playground but they don't forget about unkind words or being left out.” Continue reading Continue reading