Bullying a Cat

I had the pleasure of presenting two sessions at the annual conference of the National Middle School Association. The day after the first presentation, an attendee related the following to me:

I used your approach on my daughter last night. She had  often picked on our cat in a rather mean way and was doing so again. I ASKED her if she was bullying the cat OR being respectful.

After what seemed a long period of reflection, my four-year-old responded, “Bullying.”

I then asked her what we should do? After more reflecting, my daughter suggested that we get rid of the cat so that she couldn’t bully it any more.

The mother will not get rid of the cat, but she was so pleased because it was the first acknowledgment by her young daughter that being mean to the cat was not the right way to treat the family pet. It was the youngster’s first acknowledgment that a change in her behavior was necessary.

The combination of an understanding of the Levels of Development and reflection were the keys.