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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.

mummytime Sat 05-Apr-14 17:00:43

"Nobody has yet addressed the three key questions begged by the OP

1. Is bullying on the increase?
2. Are bullies usually cowards?
3. Are anti bullying policies ineffectual?"
Not in my experience.
Not if they are the right ones.

hackmum Sat 05-Apr-14 13:44:29

I don't think bullying is on the increase. I think bullying has always been rife in schools.

I think some schools are much better at dealing with it than others. My DD's primary school was very good, for example - when another girl in her class was bullied, the bullies were hauled in front of the head, the parents were called in, words were had, and the bullying stopped. (The head, incidentally, could be absolutely terrifying when she was angry - never shouted but had a steely calm which was very scary.)

At DD's secondary school, bullies were generally mollycoddled, given pathetic punishments (like a lunchtime detention) and then given achievement awards if they managed to go a couple of weeks without thumping anyone.

Nataleejah Sat 05-Apr-14 13:41:23

Sadly, whacking the bully isn't an option in a great deal of situations -- often bullies are physically stronger, stay in gangs, some even have weapons. Also bullying "techniques" are more refined than a physical fight.

Martorana Sat 05-Apr-14 13:27:44

Well, if you're saying that bullying is definitely on the increase then no. You can't just say "I think it is, therefore it's so" Ditto with school bullying policies- you having a bad experience with one does not prove that they are all rubbish........

Smilesandpiles Sat 05-Apr-14 13:25:36

Experience isn't enough?

Martorana Sat 05-Apr-14 13:20:13

Anything to back that up, smiles?

Smilesandpiles Sat 05-Apr-14 13:14:32

Yes it is.
Yes, usually.
and Yes, they are crap.

KiteAttack Sat 05-Apr-14 13:04:25

When my brother was tormented and racially abused daily by a bully and his friends, he approached the bully when he was on his own once and threatened him. The bully was scared on his own and never tormented my brother again and in fact tried to befriend him. A year or so later my brother maintained that the bully had changed and was ok.

Who knows, maybe sometimes bullies need a dose of their own treatment to make them realise what they're doing is quite harming and scary and not the skewed sense of fun they think it is.

Martorana Sat 05-Apr-14 13:03:50

Nobody has yet addressed the three key questions begged by the OP

1. Is bullying on the increase?
2. Are bullies usually cowards?
3. Are anti bullying policies ineffectual?

differentnameforthis Sat 05-Apr-14 12:42:43

And if you teach a child to fight to sort out their battles, they can often grow to use violence too. And as we know, as they get bigger, they get stronger.

"king hits' are a one off punch that has killed people. No, of course this isn't likely at primary school, but teaching that violence is the answer to our problems creates problems, not solves them.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 05-Apr-14 11:17:35

I have always taken it further, both inside and outside of schools.
I have seen fare to many children get punished for defending themselves because the bully is given some excuse for their behaviour.

Martorana Sat 05-Apr-14 11:08:03

Must be a rubbish school I hope you took it further.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 05-Apr-14 11:04:45

"yes.for hitting somebody smaller and weaker?"

That backs up my point up thread about smaller children bullying larger children.

Your experiences differ from mine, I accept that. but I have seen girls (single and in groups) bully boys and when the boy retaliates the girls get off with no punishment because the buy hit them. (this is even after the boy being slapped or held down and kicked in the testicles).

Martorana Sat 05-Apr-14 10:27:43

Well I can't imagine that happening in any school I've had anything to do with- being up in front of the Head for hitting, yes.for hitting somebody smaller and weaker? Yes. Specifically and more seriously for hitting a girl? I very much doubt it.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 05-Apr-14 10:23:52


Yes he would. there are still many old fashioned views out there and its one of the ways that bullies get away with it (IMO).

dancingnancy Sat 05-Apr-14 07:37:42

Wish a boy I was at school with had punched his girl bullies faces - no one would have blamed him.

And sometimes hitting back does work but it depends of course and probably more at the start of the bullying.

Martorana Sat 05-Apr-14 00:45:02

"That is my point, but if a boy hit a girl back they would be hauled up in front of the head for hitting a girl, it wouldn't matter that the girl was the bully. "

Really? Would he?

wol1968 Sat 05-Apr-14 00:22:48


I think Nigel Molesworth had it spot on when he said:

some people say stand up to bulies they will run away but they do not they just stand there, and then where are you? I will tell you you are in the duck pond and it is joly freezing.

(can't guarantee, as a pedantic speller myself, that I've got either the precise wording or the creative spelling right, but this is the gist of it!)

Morloth Sat 05-Apr-14 00:16:30

I have never differentiated between boys and girls as far as who you can and can't hit.

Don't hit anyone if you can at all avoid it, if you can't avoid it then be prepared to wear the consequences.

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 04-Apr-14 23:42:13

"Hard cases make bad law. Bullying is so complicated that it is hard to have absolute rules about things - hence it being wrong to absolutely forbid a biff back."

That is my point, but if a boy hit a girl back they would be hauled up in front of the head for hitting a girl, it wouldn't matter that the girl was the bully.
If a bigger child hits a smaller one people say that they should be the one to walk away, it wouldn't matter that the smaller child was the bully.

dancingnancy Fri 04-Apr-14 23:37:21

I wasn't a fighter. Luckily I wasn't bullied as such but there was a few instances where I still wish I had punched the pain in the arses face rather than walking away.

I have boys, I don't want them to be afraid. We tell them they can defend themselves but not to start it. They now go to jujitsu to give them confidence and the skills to defend themselves- hoping that bullies will Leave the kids that do martial arts alone.

As for emotional bullying, if it's persistent, can't say I would probably be that angry if my kids struck out.

Morloth Fri 04-Apr-14 23:13:55

Where I grew up it was survival of the fittest. Still is in that school (it was on the news not too long ago when a kid broke his bully's knee).

My kids are having a much gentler childhood then I did, their school is hot on bullying and it hasn't been a problem for us.

Telling a teacher got you hammered at my school.

I will not send my kids out with softly softly advice that I know won't work for them because it is the right and nice thing to do. I will send them with advice that I know will keep them safer.

Shrug, I know it is not a popular view on MN, but the world isn't a nice place really and school is the first place many people learn that.

BookABooSue Fri 04-Apr-14 23:07:11

mindosa I respectfully disagree. There are lots of examples on this thread of bullying when the posters were children so unless you think society's standards of behaviour started to erode decades ago then bullying can't be blamed on 'erosion of standards' and decline of the family unit hmm

I have a meeting with dc's school about bullying. There is a bully in dc's class and the school's inactivity has meant the entire dynamic of the class has deteriorated.

If children walk away then the bully continues to target them. If they tell an adult they are told off for 'telling tales'. And if they hit back, they get into trouble as the school doesn't distinguish between cause and effect. They don't seem to realise that they are asking the dcs to ignore their automatic boundaries and accept bad behaviour. As adults the teachers can make allowances for any mitigating factors that they think may impact on the bully's behaviour but they are entirely wrong to ask other children to compensate for the bully's issues. All children should feel school is a safe environment.

If anyone has experience of any successful anti-bullying policies then please share as I can use them for the basis of my meeting.

InTheRedCorner Fri 04-Apr-14 23:02:34

I've used my own horrible experiences to help guide my daughter who is in her first year of secondary and having some hard times with bolshy girls.

I've told her not to let them shout at her or get in her face and to defend herself. I've reminded her about trusting her feelings and that she won't be told off for defending herself.

She wouldn't hurt a fly and I worry about her everyday, the rage I feel on he behalf is hard to handle.

mindosa Fri 04-Apr-14 22:36:30

The issue is more around the gradual erosion of standards of behaviour in society and the generally poor standards in which many families operate. Indeed the family unit itself is in decline and this affects childrens behaviour

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