What to do about bullies?
What to do about bullies?
Is your kid being bullied? Do you sense something’s wrong or even see the signs in the form of a bruise or something? Yet when you ask your kid about it they withdraw and say everything is fine?
Before this starts to sound like a public service announcement I am going to stop these questions right here.
Just let those questions roll around in your head. You’ve probably already answered yes or no if you’ve experienced those situations.
At some point almost every child has to deal with bullying in some form.
Whether it be your child doing the bullying, your child being bullied, or simply your child having to witness other classmates being bullied.
It’s one of the sadder parts of human nature yet it never really goes away even into old age. Especially for men because it satisfies the natural male drive of domination and power.
Even women like to feel superior especially when it comes to social status and standing with their friends. In her peer group she likes to be above the rest.
I myself was on the bully side of the equation. I had an early growth spurt when I was younger in second and third grades I was about the size of a fifth-grader.
There was a tall black kid I was friends with and also another white kid like me (he wasn’t quite as large but he was quite mean).
So I formed my posse and we terrorized our classmates. Looking back on this I see a lot of things we did were very uncool and can only hope none of the kids we victimized let it have long-lasting effects on them.
Hopefully, they’ve long forgotten these pranks and outright violence.
Fortunately, most of our incidents were isolated and not a long-term systematic torture and harassment of the same individual. We liked to hit on multiple targets and got bored quickly.
This is the main reason I’m optimistic no long-term damage was done to these kids.
However I fully realize not all school-age children are as lucky. There are certainly bullies out there who will go all out and systematically and consistently picked on the same one to three kids in class.
This does have a lasting imprint on their memory and potentially very permanent damage to their psyche and self image.
So how best to deal with the bully you’re asking.
I can tell you from the psychological studies I’ve read most bullies are scared little boys and girls and when you stand up to them (maybe even having to tap them on the nose) they stop.
I can already see you may be out there screaming and hollering “violence isn’t the answer”.
In most situations I agree however when dealing with children violence is usually the least common denominator. Tap a bully on the nose and make him bleed most of the time he’ll stop.
Of course this is only a 99% solution. Studies have shown that around 99% of bullies are just scared little kids acting out to dominate others in order to feel better about themselves.
Unfortunately, I was one of the 1% that was just a violent little mofo. I didn’t mind fighting, and never shied away when someone started striking back. In fact I took it as a challenge.
But, there was also a chance if the other boy fought gallantly enough I would potentially annex him into my posse. Now before you go starting to think this is some highly structured and highly organized gang I can assure you it wasn’t.
Because by the time I reached fifth grade we were pretty strong but we were destined to go to different middle schools and I never talked to those guys after we graduated elementary.
We were just some punk pre-teens picking on classmates.
So my question remains what way are you teaching your kid to deal with bullies?
Clearly, just talking to bullies doesn’t work. Running to mommy and being a tattletale also doesn’t work and usually insights even more ridicule and persecution from the bully.
My advice on this topic is clear… teach your kids rudimentary fighting skills and have them fight back.
Within one fight you’ll know whether your kid was dealing with a 99% bully or a 1% bully.
I highly advise you to explain to them violence is only a temporary answer and should only be used as a last resort. Tell them the proper contexts when violence is appropriate and to only use it under those contexts.
I’m sure many of you pacifists, Buddhists, and other radicals will disagree with me.
I look forward to your lively discussion and your thoughts on this issue. I’m open to learning so when you put forth your view on this make sure to back it up with good reasons and solid logical evidence.
I look forward to hearing how you deal with this issue as a parent.