Children safety: peer violence in kindergartens

Dear parents,

many among us are not familiar with the fact that violence among children occurs already in the earliest, kindergarten days. We are talking about this type of violence when a child or a group of children deliberately, over a certain time period, make/s fun of another child, call/s him/her derogatory names (verbal violence), hit, bite, beat him/her (physical violence). Moreover, violence can be indirect, without a physical or verbal element, and we can identify it by excluding the child from the group, by ignoring and spreading false, ugly, harmful stories. Children by themselves are not “evil” and none of us are born violent. However, there are rare kindergarten groups in which roughness towards peers is not present (even in nurseries, children can have bite marks).

✅ Children prone to committing violence in kindergarten age always, as the cause of that behavior, have deeper, suppressed reasons. Some of them may be connected to adapting to a new environment, sharing toys and attention with other children, separation from parents, etc., which can cause a strong unpleasant emotion that the child releases through violence, and that child does not know how to articulate it differently. Furthermore, the cause of roughness towards peers can also be a model of behavior that the child has been introduced to in the family environment. The consequences of violent behavior can be recognized through refusal to go to kindergarten, headaches, stomach aches, irritability, avoiding company, insomnia, withdrawal, insecurity, etc.

✅ Through the cooperation of educators and parents, and other experts, this problem should be detected, recognized and adequately responded to. Otherwise, this problem additionally gets even more complicated, and the violent model of behavior becomes a part of the personality. We need to keep in mind that prevention is something we must not ignore. And how? By teaching them empathy, regulation of emotions, social competences, acceptance of the other and different from us with our own boundaries that are given by the body, privacy, and then children begin to respect their own boundaries but also boundaries of others. These are just some of the benefits that the “Healthy Growing Up” project provides with its activities. Although it includes certain modules, it is reflected on the complete development process and personality formation. Unfortunately, in our everyday life, we are faced with the understanding that this is just one of the stages of growing up that all of us have gone through more or less, and that the problem will be resolved by itself. This is a wrong approach because we must know that children, both the victim and the perpetrator of violence, are truly suffering and need help.

✅ Should you have any additional questions, doubts or need support, the free services of the IPD psychological counselling center are at your disposal. Feel free to contact us via a private message on our Facebook page “IPD Parent Advisor”, by e-mail address or by phone call.

This article was prepared within the project @RELOADWesternBalkans, financed by @eubih, and implemented by @UNDPBiH. The content of this article, as well as the findings presented in it, are the exclusive responsibility of the Institute for Population and Development and do not reflect in any way the views of #EU, nor #UNDP #ReLOaD #ReLOaDBiH #LocalDemocracy #WesternBalkan