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AIBU to think this is bad advice? (Re. Bullies)

(186 Posts)
Angora831 Sun 28-Jul-13 22:45:49

I've read a lot of threads here and on other Internet hangouts about bullies. Invariably, someone will advise teaching your children 'witty' comebacks to show up the bully. Speaking as a teacher with a few years at the coalface behind me, I'd just like to say THIS NEVER WORKS. This is because:

A) the comeback is clearly practiced at home with Mum. Children aren't stupid and they pick up on this.

B) Bullies are generally clever and charismatic children, and every time I've witnessed a child retorting with an obviously rehearsed comeback, the bully is able to verbally outwit them and make them look small and stupid. Horrid to watch, must be more horrid for the victim (and because I know what Mumsnet is like and where this thread will go, please rest assured that I do punish bullying behaviour when I witness it).

I'm not saying i have all the answers to bullying, but based on my own experience (and my highly scientific poll of the staff room before we broke up last week), the 'hilarious comeback' approach just doesn't work.

Fakebook Sun 28-Jul-13 22:48:02

So what the hell do you suggest then? hmm

Snoopytwist Sun 28-Jul-13 22:50:36

Thanks Angora, but maybe this should be in the education bit - its a bit of a tenuous AIBU...

YouTheCat Sun 28-Jul-13 22:51:19

Speaking as a formerly bullied child, it only stopped when I thumped someone. I didn't lose it. Just smacked her round the head and kicked her in the leg.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 28-Jul-13 22:51:52

A swift punch in the kidneys when nobody else is looking?

Also - you might be a teacher but your assertion that all bullies are clever is a bit hmm. I was bullied by little fuckers kids who might have been more charismatic than me,but I was far and away more intelligent than them. Ran rings around them verbally. No rehersals with Mum required.

WilsonFrickett Sun 28-Jul-13 22:52:48

Well thanks for sharing.

Do you know what else doesn't work? Teachers who ignore bullying and tell bullied children to change their behaviours to appease the bully. But Id never go on to a teachers' forum and say that as an OP because it would be quite rude, really. Which I'm sure you didn't mean to be.

Angora831 Sun 28-Jul-13 22:53:40

Last paragraph:

I'm not saying i have all the answers to bullying, but based on my own experience (and my highly scientific poll of the staff room before we broke up last week), the 'hilarious comeback' approach just doesn't work.

AgentZigzag Sun 28-Jul-13 22:54:51

It's one technique the DC can try, along with ignoring them, walking away, being nice, turning it back onto the bully, having a way of telling the teacher without being obvious, or punching them in the face.

Some might work with some children and not others, at one age when it didn't when they were younger. It's a matter of trial/error.

The alternative is to admit the victim is powerless and has no personal control over the situation, which isn't the case and can be damaging long term.

Children are viscous to each other, working round that is never going to be easy.

I'd rather give my DD options/tools she can use than leave her to work it out for herself.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 28-Jul-13 22:54:52

Ok - so what is the consensus on things that do work?

LilacPeony Sun 28-Jul-13 22:55:15

I'd be interested to know what you think is the best approach to take Angora. What do you think works best when a child is bullied?

YouTheCat Sun 28-Jul-13 22:55:30

Omg! It's the thread police! Hide your stash. grin

valiumredhead Sun 28-Jul-13 22:56:14

You the cat-that'd what stopped my son's bully, never touched him again. Stopped mine 30 years ago too. My advice is always thump back!

NotYoMomma Sun 28-Jul-13 22:56:41

its terrible but bil only stopped being bullied when he hit his bully with a rounders bat :/

and DH's bully hit him with a chair so he broke their nose. luckily witnessed :/

I just hope dds will not be in that situation. I need to teach her my mad social skills (jk - I have none)

AgentZigzag Sun 28-Jul-13 22:57:23

People should talk about bullying everywhere/anywhere Snoopy, the more places it's discussed, the easier it makes it for any future victims to sidestep it.

AgentZigzag Sun 28-Jul-13 22:58:24

<grabs, hides behind back>

YouTheCat Sun 28-Jul-13 22:58:32


Telling doesn't always work, especially post primary.

NotYoMomma Sun 28-Jul-13 22:59:08

sidestep it?

no chance

Demand that it is dealt with and taken v seriously yes, but I dont think you can sidestep the issue

LilacPeony Sun 28-Jul-13 22:59:16

I hope this thread isn't going to end with the OP saying that she and her colleagues have no answers and there is nothing that can be done about bullying. That would be depressing.

hadababygirl Sun 28-Jul-13 22:59:20

Ignoring doesn't work but I do think a few stock phrases are useful.

I plan on teaching DD 'DON'T push (or kick, or insult) me' and 'I said NO.'

I sort of know what the OP is saying but it's expressed so smugly it's annoying.

AgentZigzag Sun 28-Jul-13 23:00:50

I would say there isn't one thing you can advise, but rather talk about different ways your DC can deal with the bully.

Not only in the physical situation, but also in their heads.

Nothing worse than feeling your esteem and confidence ground into the dirt by bullies.

hadababygirl Sun 28-Jul-13 23:01:47

It depends on the school, youTheCat. We don't tolerate it at our school, no excuses, no ifs, buts or maybes. Bullies are given a 5 day exclusion in the first instance then they are permanently excluded. Zero tolerance is the only way to deal with bullies.

Our school is (local village) High School. I say every year 'you all live in Local Village and have every right to attend Local Village High School.'

AgentZigzag Sun 28-Jul-13 23:02:40

I meant children in the future being more likely to get through school sidestepping other children bullying them Momma.

Angora831 Sun 28-Jul-13 23:04:36

What I've seen work: anti bullying policies that are effective and actually implemented.

snoopytwist I see your point, but am interested in getting views from people other than teachers.

3birthdaybunnies Sun 28-Jul-13 23:05:13

Off the record CAHMS worker said two things usually work with prolonged bullying, either hitting back or changing schools. Obviously advicates second option -and this is non-scientific observations of children severely affected by it.

LilacPeony Sun 28-Jul-13 23:05:49

That sounds good hadababygirl

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