Q. I have noticed lately that my 2-year-old does not defend himself. Why?

Answered by
Dr. Suresh Kumar G D
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 07, 2020 and last reviewed on: Mar 06, 2021

Hi doctor,

I have noticed lately that my two-year-old son does not defend himself. His younger cousin pulled his hair and bit him. She does in front of me, and he stands there wining without trying to hit back or saving himself from her. He is now in kindergarten, and I am afraid that his peers are hitting him.



Welcome to

As a parent, I can understand that it will be difficult to see your little child being hit by others. It is commonly encountered in real life and can be managed gently with helping your son to be more assertive, develop boundaries and relationships with his peers. Each child has a different temperament and personality. Some children, like your son, maybe more gentle, may not naturally defend themselves against bullying peers. But you can teach him to stand up for himself. Teach him to say 'Stop, do not do it' if someone is hitting him. You can play with him and train him to say 'Stop' in a loud voice. If done regularly, your son will learn that he can control the situation and become more confident. Also, support him to develop peer relationship skills and how to play together with other children. This can help to avoid other children targeting him. Encourage your son to talk to you if someone is hitting him. Also, put in a word with your son's kindergarten teacher if you have any concerns about his peers hitting him. Teachers have a responsibility to ensure all kids are safe in the classroom. I hope this helps you.

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