Bullying – A Parent’s Perspective

A Facebook friend just asked advice about how to handle a bullying situation. His young teenage son has been experiencing relentless bullying from three boys in school and he is to the point where he is going to instruct his son to “handle it”, meaning, physically put them in their places.

That’s not good news for the bullies. My friend (and his son) have grown up in a very well known martial arts family and can most definitely put this issue to an end.

They have gone through all the proper steps and channels but nobody is handling it. It can be handled with physical retalliation, but that’s an ethical issue that isn’t popular with a lot of people.

So many of you may not agree with the advice I gave him; I told him to intice the bullies to throw the first punch and then take care of business. And that’s because I was never one to walk away from these situations in my own life.

I had some sensitive family issues when I was going through school. I didn’t have the time to be hanging with all the popular kids…I was at home most of the time taking care of my family. So when I would be embarrassed, humiliated, and chastized by anyone, I took it very personally as an attack on my whole family, so I handled the situation. Back then, in the 80’s, it was easier to get away with fighting; I only got in trouble with the school once. BUT, my bullies NEVER bothered me again.

As a parent of a now 18 year old son, I’ve only had to contend with this situation once in his life. And they worked it out. They both agreed that they would duke it out to settle the situation. My stepson video taped the three minute scuffle. It was hard for me to watch, but I wanted to see for myself how they handled it. A few punches were thrown. A fat lip and a couple of bruises later, they both ended it and shook hands. This wasn’t a bullying situation, but a disagreement among friends. Not the same, I know. But they both thought they were handling things like men. It may be primitive, but in a weird way, it was very respectful.

I do not agree with walking away from a threat with my tail between my legs. It will settle nothing with bullies. Bullies are looking for a confrontation, and it seems to me at least, when they get what they are looking for, they respect their opponent and it is settled. It’s a sport to them; and they are looking for worthy opponents.

Now, all of this is easy for me to say, because my perspective is formed from my experiences as a school-age girl in the 80’s. We didn’t have the threat of sharp weapons, or even firearms, at school. Standing up for one’s self these days could mean literally taking your own life in your hands. And as a mom, that scares the shit out of me. So if a bully is a known gangster who is believed to be packing…my advice is to walk… RUN…and report the harassment to authorities. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

Where do you stand when it comes to bullies harassing your children? What would you advise them to do?


3 thoughts on “Bullying – A Parent’s Perspective

  1. I think my husband and I (when we have kids) will have a nice dichotomy here. I’m kind of a pacifist and he has your perspective, that there comes a time when kids have to stand up for themselves.
    It’s so cool that your kids have the confidence to be ABLE to stand up for themselves. That’s a point where my husband and I totally agree. I want my kid to have a fighting chance should they find the need to defend themselves or someone else.
    I don’t know, maybe always running to an authority can teach a kid that he doesn’t have to fight his own battles, that somebody else will take care of him. And there comes a time when that doesn’t happen. I want my kid to be able to take care of himself and take responsibility for his actions and his life.
    Those were just a few of my thoughts. 🙂 There’s too many victims in the news. I never want my kid to have the attitude that they are a victim.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Having raised two boys, I would like to comment from that point of view. (I also raised 4 girls 🙂 ) We taught our sons to NEVER EVER throw the first punch! BUT, we also taught them how to fight back! And we also taught them to stand up for children who were being bullied. I know it’s not a popular stand to take to tell your children to fight and not take crap from anyone but there comes a point when you have to fight. My oldest boy was expelled from school, in grade 3, for three days because he beat the crap out of a boy bigger than him. This boy was beating up, tormenting and generally making the life of a younger boy with learning disabilities miserable. When I arrived at the Principals’ office my son looked up at me and said “I’m not sorry Mom and I will do it again if I have too”. After I heard him out, I told him, in front of the Principal, that I was proud of him and that I agreed with him. I also told him he had my permission to do it again if he needed too. The Principal was shocked at my reaction. He said if Roy apologized that he would lift the suspension. I told him my son had nothing to apologize for and therefore we would be headed home now. Before I left I asked if the other boy was being suspended as well. The Principal said as Roy was only one the teacher caught so only he was being suspended. I asked if other children witnessed the other boy beating up the younger boy. The principal looked at me and said, “Yes, but, you know how kid’s are they lie.” I said” Ok, then understand this, my son has my permission to beat the kid up anytime he needs it! Since none of you are going to do anything, my son will handle it!” The Principal informed me that he knew Roy was in martial arts and I said yes he is, but first of all he was protecting someone else, second he used his fists, not his martial arts and he will do it again if necessary!” Two days later on the school bus this same bully tripped and girl as she walked down the aisle of the bus…Roy lost it, he walked down the aisle and hit the bully in the face with his lunch bag. Roy still had an apple in his lunch bag. It broke the kids nose. The bus driver “saw nothing” 🙂 Roy was angry when he got home because his apple was broken. lol Well that ended the bullies rampage. He stopped picking on other children because he knew that Roy wasn’t going to put with it. Was my son right? Absolutely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When my kids defend other kids to me, it makes me so proud. My son has always been that way…sees the good in people, even people I believe he should not associate with. He will learn with experience that there are some you can sympathize with, some you can empathize with, some you can be good friends with, and some you should seriously consider being a part of your life. But regarding your son, I think his actions are commendable and yes, you should be proud of him.


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