Words really can hurt and even preschoolers know how to wield the power of words. When young children are upset with another child, they may express their anger by saying things like “You’re not my best friend anymore!” or “You’re not invited to my birthday party!” Ouch!
These words are often spoken when children are at the end of their emotional rope. They are a way of communicating frustration or anger. Ideally, parents or teachers can intervene before kids reach their boiling point and start spewing threats. Children need help learning to express their feelings in more appropriate ways.
For example, if you notice children beginning to argue over a toy or how something should be done, you can state what you see. “I see there are two hungry dolls and only one highchair. I wonder how you can solve the problem so that both dolls get to eat.” Encourage the children to come up with a solution agreeable to both of them rather than just telling them what to do.
Eventually the children will learn to problem solve without your help. Then you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor!