When my daughter came home from school upset because a kid had been teasing her in class, I was rational. I told her she should ask him to please quit. Then she told me she had asked him to quit. Not only was he harassing her in their combined gym class, he and another friend sought her out at recess to call her names. I was livid. Bullying is a sore spot for me. Having been a victim of severe bullying in junior high, I’m particularly sensitive to the issue.
I set a goal that even if my kids lacked in nearly everything else they would be kind. And they are. I’ve never been prouder than hearing their teachers tell me how polite and friendly they are. Even if I screw my kids up in everything else, at least they are good, nice people. So when I have to deal with the possibility that other parents don’t care whether their kids are nice or not, it brings out the Rocky Balboa in me.
When I was a kid my mom told me she didn’t give birth to a punching bag. We were not to start fights. But we didn’t have to sit there and let another kid pound on us because we had to be nice either. I look around and I feel like our kids have been born into this generation of people who want to shelter them from everything bad. Kids aren’t allowed to “win” at sports because it’s not fair to the other team, so everyone is a winner. Parents are calling bullies “misunderstood” instead of just saying that the child is just plain mean.
So, how do we handle bullies? When I was a kid, if you got smacked by a bully you stood up and nailed him one right back so he’d leave you alone. Now, you are likely to get sued if your kid defends themselves. Should we teach our kids to fight back? Heck yes we should.
My daughter knows that she should ask the kid picking on her to stop twice. If he doesn’t stop, she informs a teacher. But, if another child hits her, she has my express permission to hit them right back. I didn’t give birth to a punching bag either. While I respect the system in the schools and I encourage my daughter to follow the rules and talk to a teacher if someone is bullying her, I don’t expect her to avoid the confrontation because she’s afraid she will get in trouble for defending herself.
Now, apparently I did such a good job of raising nice kids I don’t know that she even has it in her to hit back. While we were talking about what happened, I told her if anyone ever hit her she was allowed to hit them back in self-defense.
Her response: “No, mommy. I don’t think so. I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
What do you think about bullying? Do you teach your kids it’s okay to fight back?
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