To think that if children were told that actually, sometimes it's ok to hit back, we might not have such a huge bullying issue in this country?

(152 Posts)
wannaBe Thu 03-Apr-14 15:42:13

So bullying is on the increase, and it seems that in truth, very little can or is being done about it.

We bring up our children to know that violence – all violence - is wrong. So if a child is bullying another child by hitting, kicking, etc etc we tell our children to walk away. hmm and because no-one likes a grass, it is almost seen as unacceptable to tell someone you’re being bullied. So bullied child fears the reaction of the playground if they tell on the bully, and if the bullied child dares to hit back then it is him/her who gets the punishment when actually, hitting back is nothing more than self defence.

Bullies are generally cowards. So if someone stands up to them by hitting them back they will often back off.

So perhaps it’s time we stopped being so very correct about all this and accepted that actually, it’s perfectly ok, a good idea even, if sometimes a child stands up for themselves and hits back. And that if a bully has been habitually violent to others, it’s no more than they deserve if they get back what they’ve been giving out.

School bullying policies are clearly ineffectual. Young teen still commit suicide because they’re being bullied. Children are under more pressure than ever to fit in, and part of that is not speaking out because that makes you a grass in the eyes of your peers.

There is something very wrong with a world which often advocates giving children certain clothing labels/gadgets/material goods in order to prevent bullying, yet comes down hard on the bullied who fights back.

wannaBe Thu 03-Apr-14 15:57:39

newt and there are so many other reasons why children so young don't need that kind of technology. The ability to end up talking to people they don't know online; be groomed by undesirables; the inability to judge well when it is or isn't a good thing to put your personal life out there for all to see, something which children don't yet have the maturity to judge well for themselves. Enough adults get it wrong to know that it's clearly not just an issue of using common sense...

LadyInDisguise Thu 03-Apr-14 15:57:53

That's what my dc's teacher has actually told them. That as a teacher he is supposed to say 'just walk away and ignore'. But that in reality when HE was bullied as a child it only stopped when he actually hit back. He said that he wouldn't tell them what he did because it was pretty bad but that from then on he was left in peace.

What is needed are teAching children ways to stand up for themselves and be assertive. I actually think that the 'walk away' advice works when the bullies aren't too bad. Nearly like a home gone too far iyswim. But with someone with the strong intent to do as much hurt as they can to the other? Walking away is more of a sign of weakness and therefore more like a 'go ahead you can bully me' than a deterrent.

Floggingmolly Thu 03-Apr-14 16:00:15

I think not, AskBasil. We were always warned never to start fights, but never allow ourselves to be bullied either. And no, we were most assuredly not bullied and hit at home, or given any indication that it's an acceptable way to behave.

daykin Thu 03-Apr-14 16:03:59

DS1 was bullied for around 2 years. He tried telling the teacher and was told to ignore it. I went in several times and was told 'it's just what boys do' and 'we'll keep an eye on it'.
It stopped the day he put the other kid on his arse.

Fusedog Thu 03-Apr-14 16:04:33

Sorry I don't agree I think oce you become a target weather you fight or not you will still get bullied

I think if my ds had fought all that would of happened is he would of been in fights every day

unlucky83 Thu 03-Apr-14 16:11:15

My DD was being bullied in a particular situation - came home in tears. But wouldn't have said anything if I hadn't asked, I just 'knew' there was something wrong - had been going on for a while but that was a particularly bad day.
Didn't want me to tell the school - or speak to the bullies parents (I knew them)...didn't want to be a 'grass' - but also being a grass is seen as a form of weakness...and also that the bullies are getting to you - it is complicated.
In the end I phoned the school and explained that she didn't want them to know she'd told. School were fantastic - pulled bullies aside and spoke to them generally about acceptable behaviour in that situation. (Also helped that there would have been older witnesses - anyone could have told).
Then the teacher pulled my DD out of a lesson (with a few of the bullies) in such a way everyone (including DD at first) thought she was in trouble...grin
Not gone away altogether but much much better.
DD knows if she tells she can get help so she (and I) feel more confident...and she is less likely to keep it to herself...
She's older so hitting back isn't an option - but she will verbally retaliate...which I don't always think is a good thing - might be better to ignore - but then they might just push more for a reaction...

AuroraSim Thu 03-Apr-14 16:12:16

I was told this as a child. My parents were in the school daily, until my dad followed the other parent home, and knocked on there front door. That's when it was dealt with!

I will do the same for my child. Schools don't want to deal with it, it seems, and often they can not.

cory Thu 03-Apr-14 16:14:17

motherinferior Thu 03-Apr-14 15:50:26

"I think it is highly unlikely that bullying is on the increase: what is on the increase is kids being able to speak up about being bullied and being taken seriously."

This!!!

When I was at school we were told to deal with it ourselves and fight back. And the bullying problems was HUGE, seen from a child's perspective. Possibly less seen from the adults' perspective because it wasn't talked about.

I doubt my children even know the meaning of the word 'grass' except as a quaint archaism found in books. Their attitude is that if someone is being hurt or frightened you get help.

I was bullied at school and tried to hold my own. It achieved nothing. I was smaller and weaker than my bullies and my valiant attempts to be assertive just served as entertainment.

There is no law of nature that says that bullies have to be physically more cowardly than other people and most bullies are actually smart enough to pick on someone they can easily win a fight against.

When ds was having problems, it stopped when the other children went and told a teacher. They did that because that's what they'd been taught to do. And things were done. Big step forward from my young days.

cory Thu 03-Apr-14 16:16:03

The way it looks to me is:

these days there are two kinds of schools: they ones that deal robustly with bullying and the ones that don't

in my day there was only one kind of school sad

DeWe Thu 03-Apr-14 16:17:09

Then the bully would also hit out and say s/he was provoked. hmm

motherinferior Thu 03-Apr-14 16:19:24

I was bullied - at work, some years ago - by a bloke who was more than a foot taller than me and weighed considerably more. He could have kicked the shit out of me.

Plenty of bullies pick on kids who are small, as Cory says. Or slow, or fat, or weak.

Back in the day, if I'd have told a teacher about the boys who were beating me up every playtime, they'd have told me to sort it out and not tell tales.

wonderingsoul Thu 03-Apr-14 16:20:16

i think tougher policy need to be brought in. the school my dc are at now are very hot on this and it wont be tolerated ATALL.

i was bullied from primary all the way to collage. the bulling only in secondary school only stoped becasue of one of my friends had enough of this one girl bullying me, marched up to the school, to her classroom and pulled her out of it and had a massive go at her and the teachers who had to get infront of her.
sadlymy friend was expelled for this but it deffinlty made the teachers up the game. this was after 2 years of going to the them ,, they woudl have a word, and that was it. so i would say it can work.

i teach my children to walk away and tell some one, but i know when they move schools and get older this prob wont work as well. they dont seem to be as strict on middle/upper schools, but i will tell them if they cant get away safely then give them all you have.

almondcake Thu 03-Apr-14 16:21:57

The same applies to adults as to children. If you are at physical risk, and no authority figure or third party is there to stop it, it is perfectly acceptable to use whatever means you can to defend yourself, up to and including the same level of violence as the other person.

So yes, DS hit back. And the bully didn't target him again. There wasn't a reduction in bullying; the bully just bullies someone else. Just as me being good at verbally defending myself does not reduce verbal bullying. It just changes who gets picked as the target.

Three things reduce bullying of young people - culture of the school determined by adults, bullies not bullying and bystanders not just standing there.

motherinferior Thu 03-Apr-14 16:24:48

My DD1's secondary school is covered in posters about bullying, especially homophobic bullying. You'd never get that back when I was a young warthog.

MrsBennetsEldest Thu 03-Apr-14 16:25:24

It worked for me and my boys. I told mine to hit back as hard as they could. DS1 broke the bully's nose, no one ever bothered him again. He was punished by the school ( rightly so ) but not by me.

Nancy66 Thu 03-Apr-14 16:25:46

this would be me if anyone bullied my kid

www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwWNRj8yJYo

AskBasil Thu 03-Apr-14 16:31:59

hmm
My 11 year old watched that clip and her first response was "she's insane".

anklebitersmum Thu 03-Apr-14 16:42:54

I think you have to strike a fine balance between hit them back, tell an adult and just ignore now-a-days.

There's no 'he hit me first' rule anymore and in my personal experience the parents of bullies are usually either bullies themselves or 'not my Johnny' parents.

A little bit more Judge Judy style questioning in and out of schools would go a long, long way to squashing bullying at the root.

MammaTJ Thu 03-Apr-14 16:50:08

My DD has been told very clearly, both by DP and the sensei (?sp) who teaches her karate, that she is allowed to fight back.

She can kick and punch hard and fast. She could hold her own against the girls who bully her.

On one occasion she has done this. A girl punched her in the stomach and she had had a really bad day of it and punched her right back. My DD did not cry, she had not been hurt too badly, but the strength of her punch and the quickness of it stunned the bully and she has never touched her again.

I just wish she would do it to the persistant offender. She has been told by the school to keep reporting, she has done so. But the 'chats' and the gets togethers do not stop the nasty little * from repeatedly hurting my DD. I tell DD that she can hit her back, but she won't. I have made it clear that if she does and gets in trouble at school, it will ony be like the chats that she has been involved in in school as they do not punish and I certainly wouldn't, but for some reason she won't.

Martorana Thu 03-Apr-14 16:50:14

My first three questions about the OP are-
1. Is bullying on the increase?
2. Are bullies usually cowards?
3. Are anti bullying policies ineffectual?

Surely until we are clear about this the rest of the discussion is pointless?

wonderingsoul Thu 03-Apr-14 16:58:13

1- i dont think its on the increase.. maybe its been reported more.. or people are realizing name calling is bullying to.
2- i fully belive cowards are unhappy and the bullying is away to make them selfs feel happier/vent. and or are bullying to stop them selfs being builled.
3- depends on the school. my dcs school is very good. but the ones i went to and have heard about no. they are rubbish.

eltsihT Thu 03-Apr-14 16:59:15

Surely if we all taught hitting is unacceptable ever the whole world would be a better place.

I was brought up never to hit back - I was bullied at school, mostly verbally the one time it turned physical I didn't hit back, the girl was pulled off me by her mates, someone else grassed her in and she was suspended, she never came near me again and the bullying stopped.

My husband grew up with domestic violence and his dad resorts to hitting and fighting to solve many problems there is no way I want my child to learn that hitting can solve problems.

likeaboss Thu 03-Apr-14 17:16:00

As someone who was horrifically bullied throughout most of my childhood, I can categorically say that ignoring bullies DOES NOT WORK.

Yes, I'm talking about the face-to-face bullying as opposed to internet bullying, but in my experience (and that of others I know) bullies respond to strength. Whether that's physical or verbal, they do.

The day I stood up to one of my bullies was absolutely one of the best days of my life. I humiliated her in front of the entire class and she never bothered me again. She even went out of her way to be nice to be after that.

My brother was bullied for months by a nasty little boy in his year. It finally stopped when my brother picked him up and threw him over a bench. Fantastic.

A girl in my year of 6th form found out her cousin (year 7) was being bullied by a couple of year 9s (this was absolute fact). A group of us went to find these girls one lunchtime and warned them off in no uncertain terms. They went crying straight to a teacher who 'told us off' with a great big grin on her face.

The bullying I suffered still impacts on me today, maybe not every day, but I'm still scarred by it 14 years later. Not providing a proper and adequate response to bullying is an absolute travesty.

For what it's worth, I was bigger and stronger than my bullies, and my brother was bigger and stronger than his.

When I have children I will most definitely be teaching them how to defend themselves, and that it's OK to hit back. The way most schools respond to bullying is shocking.

HowContraryMary Thu 03-Apr-14 17:39:11

So if a child is bullying another child by hitting, kicking, etc etc we tell our children to walk away

I would never tell my children it was ok to be a victim.

Never hit first, you hit hard and last. And they are shown how to hurt other in self defence.

Oddly my children are neither bullies nor bullied.

Martorana Thu 03-Apr-14 17:40:59

"When I have children I will most definitely be teaching them how to defend themselves, and that it's OK to hit back. The way most schools respond to bullying is shocking."

How do you know that the way most schools respond to bullying is shocking?

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