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Thread: DD and Friend (both 3) bullying others...

  1. Default DD and Friend (both 3) bullying others...

    So tonight for the second time in three weeks, we've gotten together with friends for a play date with our three year olds. Twice now my DD and her best friend, both three, have ganged up and picked on another child, who has always been very a very close friend. It has happened with two different friends. We don't know what to do. We don't know why all of a sudden they have started bullying and picking on the other friends. Does anyone have any experience with something similar? We have tried explaining that we don't treat our friends that way, but obviously that didn't work as they did it again tonight.
    Sarah (31) & DH Matt (35)

  2. #2


    We've also noticed this behavior from some of the other girls on Piper's class. There is a click of 3 friends that get together and are pretty mean. When alone, all 3 girls are just fine. At this age, I have no idea how they handle it at school. I just know what I hear from my 3 year old. As far as my own home, I think it would be an immediate end to a play date. Unfortunately, I think it's one of those situations that I just wouldn't tolerate. Also, maybe you should look for books, perhaps Bernstein bears, where bullying is addressed so you all have very specific examples to talk about. I know they empathize with others and get that part but I also know they are mean to each other too. My daughter will tell on herself quite often about hitting, kicking, pushing.....and tell me she used up all her sorrys.

    Mommy to Piper 6/5/09 and an 11/2011
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  3. #3


    What kinds of things are they doing when they're bullying or picking on other kids? I need to know that before I can say how I would handle it.

  4. #4


    I would split the two bullies up for a while; let one kid and the "victim" have some playdates on their own before getting all three kids together again. It's pretty normal at 3-4 years old so while you do need to address it I don't think you need to be overly concerned.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Toeing the edge between sanity and insanity


    Quote Originally Posted by tapir View Post
    I would split the two bullies up for a while; let one kid and the "victim" have some playdates on their own before getting all three kids together again. It's pretty normal at 3-4 years old so while you do need to address it I don't think you need to be overly concerned.
    We had to do this with our oldest last year. I think it's really common, not just at 3-4 but again at 6-7 when kids start asserting their personalities (leader, follower, etc). We had a group of like 4 girls that became a problem. Keira wasn't an instigator, but definitely involved. And it mostly centered around one little girl being picked on. The teacher worked hard on making sure that K and two other girls were rarely paired together and used distraction on the playground, always trying to put T (the one being picked on) with just ONE of the other girls.

    This year T is one of K's best friends. A couple times a week she'll tell me "you were right, mom. My best friend is someone who I never thought I could like!".

    Keeping the bullies apart and going out of your way to mix the bullied with the bullies in a benign situation-usually where only one of the former bullies is present-is a great place to start. Especially with such young kids.

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  6. Default

    They will say that the third friend can't play because he is a boy, or that the third friend is a monster while running away and closing the door on the little girl. Both times they've blocked the third from playing in the playhouse with them. We have stopped them both times, but they keep doing it. I think the suggestion of separating for a while is a good one and we will be trying that. I'm going to look for the Berenstein Bears books. I am also planning to ask how they address this type of thing at her school as I'm sure they have experience. Thank you all for taking the time to comment.
    Sarah (31) & DH Matt (35)

  7. #7


    Honestly to me that doesn't sound like bullying or picking on someone. That's normal 3 y/o stuff, and also just repeating things they've probably been taught from older kids (no playing with boys). They don't usually understand at this age that something they're having fun playing (that some else is a monster they're running from) may not be something that everyone enjoys playing and may even hurt their friends feelings. My nieces 3 y/o DD Emily looooves to play monster (she'll be the monster or the runner/screamer, she doesn't care) and she completely doesn't understand that my DD (who is 6 mths older) hates that game. Freaks my DD out every.time. But that doesn't stop Emily from trying to play it at least once every time she comes over lol.
    I will say I try to avoid groups of 3 because it can be hard for them to split their attention between 2 other kids, even if they're friends with both. Really any odd numbers can end up with someone getting left out.

  8. #8


    That is true about odd numbers and I also agree that when they are that age, it doesn't qualify as bullying. Even so, I can see how it would be upsetting for the child getting left out and for the adults to try to keep everyone happy. Truth is, they don't have the social maturity to understand that it's hurtful. In this situation I would completely change the direction of play by initiating a new game. This will likely break up the pair or involve all the children and at that point find opportunities to praise cooperation. At this age it may be neccessary for the adults be involved in the children's play as they are just now coming to an age where they may begin to understand and practice cooperative play and could use positive guidance.

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