By Yvette J. Brown
Sherrod is only seven, but already, he says, the victim of bullies. Sometimes it's verbal, at other times, physical.
"They tell me to do stuff and then they push me into a wall."
"'They don't like me,'" Sherrod often tells his mother Sherry Thornton. "They don't like him. They won't share with him. They do things and just blame it on him."
According to the Journal Child Development , as young as kindergarten kids can be bullies.
Researchers studied more than 200 five and six year old and found that on average, physical and verbal abuse happened once every three to six minutes.
Experts say as kids learn to socialize, sometimes they're nice and sometimes mean. It's the mean behavior parents should focus on.
"We can't assume that kids will be kids-at some point, they will grow out of this," says Louise Myslik, a licensed clinical social worker. "We need to really pay attention to it and help them understand what it means to be mean, what it looks like, how it feels and why it's not appropriate."
Experts say parents should first talk to their children about bullyijng. Also, ask detail questions.
For instance, says Ms. Myslik, "'Do you think your school has bullies? Do you have bullies in your class? What do they do? What do they say? Whom do they hurt? Have you ever been hurt?'"
Myslik says if your child is the bully, don't ignore the behavior. If your child is the victim, like Sherrod, teach them to speak up- tell an adult, stand up to the bully.
Sherrod's mother offers him these words, "'Stop. Don't do that to me. I don't like that. You're hurting me or you hurt my feelings,' she says, "To me, communication is key."