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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?

PipPipPip Fri 07-Jun-13 23:08:38

Whoa, totally surprised that anyone would advise their kid to hurt another person!!

matana Tue 28-May-13 21:03:35

When he's older and understands provocation and self defence, damn right I'll teach him to hit back, harder if necessary. I too was bullied. It stopped when I hit back.

AdmiralData Tue 28-May-13 18:56:55

I was bullied horrendously in school (would love to meet the fuckers again) and will be damned if I watch my DS go through the same bollocks. I think violence isn't the answer and honestly abhor it but if telling a teacher/responsible adult doesn't resolve an issue in the future I will be telling my DS to thump the fuckers back. It worked for me, in the end. I do however agree with the more sensible suggestions on this thread but they may not always work smile

EarlGreyTeabag Thu 23-May-13 16:46:35

I have three teenage sons. They have always been quite physical with each other and I don't have a problem with that as that's how boys play, but I have never allowed them to hurt each other in temper.

However, outside the home me & DH take the line that they must never start a fight, they should walk away if they can, but they should defend themselves if necessary.

When DS1 was about 9 another boy at school kept picking on him & hitting him. My son, who is normally very easy going, eventually had enough of the abuse & hit the other boy back, hard. My son didn't get into trouble - the school was well aware that the other child was a bully. The boy never went near my son again.

This had the added advantage that no-one ever bulled DS2 or DS3 either, because they'd heard that DS1 had a fine punch on him.

Hashtagwhatever Thu 23-May-13 16:33:53

Yes. Ive told him never start a fight. But to hit back if hit first

Beatrixpotty Thu 23-May-13 16:31:02

I hate fighting & I don't tell them to hit back.I've really tried to teach them not to hit at all,but I've got 3 boys and it gets a bit rough sometimes at home..Fighting in this house is always one-sided,3yr old DS1 starts on 2 yr old DS2,who retaliates if I don't intervene in time.DS1 always gets told off & time out for starting the fight but I don't discipline DS2 for retaliating so maybe I am giving him the message that it is ok?He never instigates though.Once at a soft play DS1 hit someone & they hit back harder & made him cry.The mum said"Sorry,she's been brought up to hit back" and I thought ,fair enough,DS1 started it and was embarrassed that he had.

IrnBruTheNoo Thu 23-May-13 14:14:27

DH wants our DC to hit back, but I personally do not feel this is appropriate. I think the child should report it to the teacher/playground monitor, etc.

cory Thu 23-May-13 13:58:58

Seeing that ds was the smallest and frailest child in his year, this would have been a seriously bad idea. grin

I am very grateful to the school for teaching all the children that you had to tell an adult if somebody was being hurt and frightened. So when somebody did try to hurt him, there would always be somebody else running off to get help.

valiumredhead Thu 23-May-13 10:55:48

Just to clarify, ds is 12 not a little one anymore.

Chubfuddler Thu 23-May-13 10:53:31

DS is having martial arts training but it is more for confidence, calm/stress management benefits.

Chubfuddler Thu 23-May-13 10:51:54

No. Particularly as there has been DV I do not want them to think violence is ever justified. Not at 2 and 6 anyway. When they are older we can go into the grey areas, but for now "it is wrong to hit, it is always wrong" is simpler.

valiumredhead Thu 23-May-13 10:48:13

We tell ds that if he is hit to go and tell, if the person who hit him follows him or hits him again then he can defend himself and we will back him up if the school ring us.

After months of bullying, ds finally snapped and lamped the little sod and that was the end of that.

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.

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]

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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....

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?

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.

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.

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