Pushy toddlers get pushed around later

Volatile, angry, aggressive toddlers are more likely to be bullied when they’re older, a new study concludes. From Newsweek:

“They’re easy marks,” says Kenneth Dodge, a psychology professor at Duke University. “You know you can get a rise out of them, you can push their buttons.”

Pushy children are unpopular with others. What goes around comes around.

The new study, which followed 1,970 children in Canada, traces behavior all the way back to toddlerhood. Mothers of 17-month-old children were asked how often their kids hit, bit or kicked other children and how often they fought or bullied their peers. Later, when the kids were between the ages of 3 and 6, the moms reported on how often their kids were made fun of, how often they were hit or pushed and how often they were called names. Their answers showed a link: kids who were aggressive early on in life were more likely to be victimized than non-aggressive kids.

Interesting, if true. This might account for the large number of children who admit to bullying others and being bullied.

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  1. That is nice to hear as I happen to live in the neighbourhood of a really aggressive kid and his mother tells me always that kids like that are tend to grow up to be more intelligent and smarter then rest of the lot. Now I have something to tell myself even though not her when her kid happens to hit mine next time.

  2. Mansha:

    I don’t know that it’s something to feel really good about. I have seen some kids who are on both ends of the bullying spectrum (although they do not comprise the whole population of who gets bullied). I would say in general they are kids who have some really bad social skills either because of bio-chemical set ups that interfere with the normal development of socialization (perceiving cues, etc), or because of a social environment in which they are frequently on the short end of the stick–and therefore perceive the world as a pretty risky place that needs to be controlled through manipulation or force. In either case, they are kids with needs, and I think that this is something that the adults who come in contact with them should be aware of.

    I personally have very little hesitation in explaining to somebody else’s kid about the way that we do things at my house (or at church, or on the playground, or where ever the encounter takes place). I also have little hesitancy in saying things like “I know your mother doesn’t want you to act that way,” (OK, OK, I give them the benefit of the doubt), or explaining that they are such a lovely person that I don’t want to see them acting in such an ugly way. If I know the parent, I can tell them about what happened and how I handled it (not always the case).