How to Handle a Child Who Doesn’t Play Well With Others

how to handle a mean kidIf you don’t have one of these kids, you surely know one. For whatever reason, he/she just doesn’t play nicely. They skip turns, take toys, and are generally abusive to other kids.

If you have a child like this, it doesn’t meant they will be mean forever. It usually means they struggle with empathy: understanding how other people are affecting by their actions.

These tips will help you with a child who doesn’t play well with others.

Speak in emotional terms

When you tell your kid to “be nice,” you aren’t giving them much information. You’re just telling them how to behave, not how to feel. Speak in emotional terms when you can to let your child know that they have affecting the feelings of other people. Say something like, “Michael is sad now because you made fun of his shirt.”

Expand on “I’m Sorry”

You’ve probably insisted your child apologize when they treat someone else badly. That’s a common parenting tactic and a good one. But often kids mumble the phrase quickly because they know that’s what you want to hear, not because they mean it.

Help your kids learn empathy by expanding the conversation. Make them tell you what they did wrong and why it was wrong. You’ll force them to work through the situation and see it from the other person’s perspective. Then ask them what they will do the in future so you give them a goal to strive towards.

Don’t give your kids a label

Kids internalize the things we call them. If you often say “Benny just doesn’t play nice with other kids,” Benny is going to meet those expectations. He’ll figure, “Well, I guess I just don’t like other kids” and continue behaving poorly. What’s more, you’ll begin to accept the situation and stop trying to improve it.

Avoid saying things like “you’re mean” or “you bully other kids.” Those are labels. Address the behavior: “That is very rude” or “That’s a mean way to treat someone.”

Speak to a counselor

If you think the problem is more than just bad behavior, it can never hurt to ask your doctor for a referral to a child counselor. There are plenty of reasons why a child may not be able to understand how they’re affecting others.

Have you ever struggled with an out-of-control child? How did you overcome it?

Written by Stephanie Parker from, inventors of the Zipadee-Zip

The motto for Sleeping Baby, makers of the Zipadee-Zip, is: "Inspiring Dreams One Night at A time," and that, in a nutshell, is how it all started…with one little dream that has since become the Parker family's reality. When Brett and Stephanie Parker's daughter, Charlotte, was born, the feeling that welled up inside of them was indescribable; they never realized until first looking into those baby blues of hers that they were even capable of that kind of love.

When it was time to transition baby from swaddling, the Parkers tried every sleep sack on the market and everyswaddle weaning trick they could find for nearly two weeks and nothing worked to get baby Charlotte to fall and stay asleep.

Stephanie became determined to restore sleep and sanity to their household and set out to find a solution that would soothe Charlotte's startle reflex and provide her the cozy womb-like environment she loved so much but still give her the freedom to roll over and wiggle around in her crib safely. Out of sheer desperation and exhaustion, the Zipadee-Zip was born. The first Zipadee-Zip(R) Stephanie put together on her little sewing machine worked like magic!

To date tens of thousands of Zipadee-Zips have been sold and all from word-of-mouth marketing. It is so rewarding for the Parkers to see other parents and babies getting the sleep they both need and deserve!

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