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Do you teach your child that if they're hit, they should hit back?

(62 Posts)
IcouldstillbeJoseph Wed 22-May-13 16:25:06

I remember being taught this as a child but now I have 2 small DC I have told them they don't hit back but they come and tell me, or CM etc.
DS is 2.3 and runs and tells me he's been bashed or whatever. Anyway, was at a playgroup last week and a friend (who incidentally is a police officer) told me that she has told her daughter if someone hits her she should hit them back harder as "I dont want her to become a target".
It got me thinking....
What does everyone else do?

FortyFacedFuckers Wed 22-May-13 18:11:06

I didn't tell my child to hit back until he started school and a little boy was hitting him every day for months and months after trying to get the school to sort it out with no success I eventually told my son to hit him back harder, he did once and has had no trouble since.

Mominatrix Wed 22-May-13 18:25:28

But what message does it give the child? Be more violent than your aggressor and it will solve your problem?

VerySmallSqueak Wed 22-May-13 18:31:22

No,I think it teaches them that they are not a punchbag.

TheFallenNinja Wed 22-May-13 18:31:36

Mine were told to hit back but harder.

I believe that if someone hits you and you don't hit them back harder they will forever occupy a small part of your mind and it will slowly grind away at you.

DameSaggarmakersbottomknocker Wed 22-May-13 18:33:06

Mine are grown now but were taught to not hit back in the first instance but that if telling a grown-up didn't work that they have a right to defend themselves.

This was based on my experience that my own school bully didn't desist despite tellings off from adults but did when I slapped her back.

It's difficult.

VestandKnickers Wed 22-May-13 18:38:07

I teach my children to move away from a child that hits. If the other child keeps bothering them or hurts them to tell an adult. I tell them not to hit under any circumstances as it is nver the right thing to do.

VestandKnickers Wed 22-May-13 18:39:50

Telling a child to hit back but hit harder just createa a circle of violence. What happens if their attacker is bigger and they can't hit back harder? Should they go and grab a brick? How can violence ver be encouraged?

VerySmallSqueak Wed 22-May-13 18:44:16

If I am attacked in the street I will fight back,if I am able.
I think if my child is attacked they should be able to do the same.

TheFallenNinja Wed 22-May-13 18:48:43

It is difficult but I don't want them being victims, at least if you have a go you tried.

VestandKnickers Wed 22-May-13 18:49:52

A child is not likely to be mugged in the playground or the park! Children quite often give each other a bit of a thump or a shove and they have to develop a strategy to deal with that. They also need to understand what to do if a child really hurts them.
Violence against adults in the street is a completely different thing and really no a helpful comparison.

TapselteerieO Wed 22-May-13 18:51:11

Dd was bitten v badly at nursery by another girl, she was caught biting the other girl back - dd got into a lot of trouble, she was never asked what had happened, I got a lecture from the nursery staff about how bad biting was - I was surprised, because dd hadn't been a biter as a toddler. It wasn't until she was having a bath that night that I saw the teeth marks /broken skin on her shoulder and when I asked her where the marks came from she told me the girl she had bitten had bit her, so she bit her back.

I think this is why hitting back can be a problem - your dc gets caught, they get into trouble, the other child might get comforted whilst your child is the bad one! It can be pretty hard for a small child to tell an adult this if they have been caught in the act, out of context. I teach my kids to say loudly X stop hitting me! Dh on the other hand has taught them how to throw their weight into a punch...

NotWilliamBoyd Wed 22-May-13 18:56:24

No I have not taught my DC to hit back, I will never forget the hospital visit to see the pupil who had been told to 'hit back harder' - he had done this, but the other child plus cronies lay in wait for him on his way home and badly battered him.

They were all 11.

VerySmallSqueak Wed 22-May-13 19:01:58

Vest I don't think it is an unhelpful comparison.

For example,hair pulling is reasonably common in the playground.
If a woman came up to me in the street and pulled my hair I would belt her.

I don't see why it's worse for that to be done to me as an adult than for it to be done to me as a child.

VestandKnickers Wed 22-May-13 19:10:47

My point is Squeak that children do pull hair, thump occasionally, push etc because they are still learning how to deal with their anger and frustration. Children have to learn that being physical in that way is not ok. They also have to learn how to react if a child does one of those things to them.
How often does an adult go up to another adult in the street and pull their hair or give them a slap? Certainly never happened to me. I actually don't think it would be appropriate as an adult to belt someone if they pulled your hair, but I also think it is a non-argument because I can't imagine that it would ever happen.
An adult being attacked or mugged is a totally different thing and requires a different response.

TwasBrillig Wed 22-May-13 19:12:16

Oh Not that's so horrible. How frightening that must have been.

I'm really surprised to hear all these people say 'hit back'. Isn't that how violence starts and escalates?A accidentjw nudges B in line, B does as told and 'hits back', A knowing nothing other than B hit him, then hits back, and it escalates. Where does that get anyone. Surely school won't teach to hit back and if everyone told the teacher instead it would be better?

teacherwith2kids Wed 22-May-13 19:25:22

DS was badly physically and verbally bullied in Reception.

Teaching staff only said that 'he seemed upset', but because DS is very tall and looks older than his age, and his attacker was a tiny weedy chap, i knew that telling DS to hit back would simply lead to him being told off for bullying the smaller boy...

I taught him to yell 'STOP IT' at the absolute top of his voice whenever it happendd. Teaching staff got involved (apparently the first day was almost entertaining, as DS yelled perhaps 8 or 9 times, all justifiably) and it stopped.

As a teacher myself, I know how hard it can be to identify the 'original perpetrator' when there is an issue. It is often someone who is clever with their tongue, not their fists, and may combine a small amount of physical stuff with a HUGE amount of verbal needling. Sensible victims a) walk away, b) report what is happening (I have several boys in my class who mutter various code words to me on their way into class, alerting me to low-level things going on with their known 'needlers'), and c) use their voices not their fists to resolve issues.

I am a believer in consistent messages for children - if hitting is wrong, it is always wrong, even if someone hits you first. Young children do use their fists and feet to express emotions and responses that as adults we use our voices to explain and express. As adults, our job is to teach our children a better way of managing their emotions, not to teach them an 'interim' unclear rule that in fact it is fine to hit for the moment, but, oh, not unless you are being consistently bullied and not if they are smaller than you and not if it's an accident and not....

Pozzled Wed 22-May-13 19:27:36

TwasBrillig Your scenario is exactly why I will teach my children that the first response should always be to talk. As a teacher I see an awful lot of incidents where pupil A is annoying pupil B (not hitting generally, more chasing, name calling, the odd swear word). Pupil B usually goes straight to a teacher- they almost never communicate clearly to pupil A that they don't like it and don't want to be involved in that game.

With physical violence it's obviously more serious, but I still think the first thing for the child to do should be to say very clearly that they don't like it and won't accept it. It can then be taken further if it happens again. I don't agree with hitting back, although I can see the temptation when the issue is ongoing with the same child or group.

teenagetantrums Wed 22-May-13 19:33:28

I told mine to tell and adult or a teacher, until my dd was bullied at the age of 7 the school seemed to care less so I told her to hit back seemed to do the trick.

MisForMumNotMaid Wed 22-May-13 19:37:26

I've gone with the verbal hit back, shout at the hitter as loudly as possible 'don't hit me, its not nice'. Then if they don't back off tell an adult.

VerySmallSqueak Wed 22-May-13 19:54:20

Vest a random attack in the street is an attack on whatever level.It's nice you've not had that happen,but I have. Of course it is appropriate to strike back if randomly attacked in the street.
I understand that kids need to learn to control their emotions and deal with their anger and frustration.
(So do some men still,btw,but we don't expect a victim of dv to tolerate aggression towards them while those men master their anger and frustration)

While little johnny is mastering his anger,it is not ok for him to randomly attack other children in the meantime.It is not ok for children to have to tolerate aggression towards them when adults don't.

There is not one rule for kids and another for adults.

You have a different view and I respect that.

Shakey1500 Wed 22-May-13 20:00:31

I've told DS that if he's hit to tell a teacher straight away. If it happens again (in short space of time!) to tell the teacher again. A third time and he has my permission to hit back but have explained that it's absolutely a last resort, not great but also justified.

VBisme Wed 22-May-13 20:28:27

I do think that martial arts training is worth while.

The SDs know how to block a punch or kick, but also have licences and know that they must only ever use their skills in self defence.

pennefab Wed 22-May-13 21:40:14

I am of the loud verbal reply followed by telling an authority figure approach.

My DC was with me when someone attempted to mug me/us in car park. A very very loud, "Back off now!" In strong ("mad mommy" my DC calls it - low pitched/angry) voice and confident body language - look in eye, head up, legs apart - planted, shoulders back resulted in guy running off.

I learned it from my DCs martial arts class.

teacherwith2kids Wed 22-May-13 21:45:21


I did very similar when a burglar broke into my room when I was at university - though I was at a significant disadvantage, being a) asleep when he came in and b) in a nightie.

A really assertive, loud 'Go away! Go away AT ONCE' did the trick. Did tell authority figure (police) but tbh in a funny way it gave me much more peace of mind knowing that I had asserted myself, verbally not physically, and had dealt with the issue, than if I had gone straight to the 'authority' [which I couldn't have done straight away, the intruder was between me and the only door]

CheerfulYank Wed 22-May-13 21:51:37

If he's exhausted all other possibilities then yes, hit back and make it count.

But he has been in martial arts since he was three and could probably block, etc.

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