Bullying can start young, teach polite behavior early

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The stories of bullying in the classroom, on the school bus, and at the playground seem to grow by the day.

At what age do those behaviors start? Can parents and teachers prevent them?

Some pre-school teachers said they see kids start to show signs of bullying as young as four or five years old.

Cathy Clark owns A Small World Pre-School in Cape Giraradeau, and said she starts to see it around 2nd grade.

Clark is persistent on teaching the kids good manners and kind behavior. She said bad behavior can start early, and only grow as they get older.

"I just see a lot more of the disrespect, and that's sad, because these are all good kids, and they're looking for lines not to cross, and a lot of parents aren't putting those lines down anymore and as a result these kids will talk to their parents, they'll try and talk to my teachers in very disrespectful ways, and that's sad when they start that," said Clark.

Clark said she doesn't tolerate bullying at the school. Clark sets limits for the kids so they know when they're actions are out of line.

"There's times when they don't want somebody to play with them and we always come back with everybody's our friend, be nice to everybody, obviously not everybody's your best friend, but you have to be nice about it, and our kids really are a good set of kids," said Clark.

The teachers stress good manners and polite behavior, and work to set a good example for the kids.

"I see the real young ones say excuse me, or would you please do this, and I think it's a matter of they're not thinking oh that's good manners, they're saying what they're hearing, so as a result it becomes good manners, so it is a matter of whatever you're saying and whatever you're doing, they're going to mimic it," said Clark.

If you see your child act out, Clark said parents can ask their kids how it would make them feel if someone acted like that to them.

At a young age, she said kids don't realize the effects from their actions. So if they learn the actions early, it can help them later in life.

"I want to see these kids go on in life and be polite, and be well liked, and do well in their jobs, if they don't learn the manners now, and get along with everybody now, that's going to be a problem when they get older, and I want to see the success of these kids," said Clark.

Clark said she wants to see these kids be successful later in life. How people act in job and adult settings can all start at a young age.

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