Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Dad to son: Defend yourself
Published on March 23, 2005 By Draginol In Parenting

My second-grader son is having bully problems. He came to me tonight crying that this kid in school keeps punching him, sometimes in the head.

I asked him if he had gone to the teacher about this yet? He said he had and that the teacher made the kid apologize for hitting him. But the next recess, the bully was back at it, hitting my son.  He just didn't know what to do.

So I told him: If he hits you again, you need to be prepared to beat the tar out of him. Don't start the fight. But make sure you finish it.  The nose is a tender area on a small child. If the bully is hitting you in the head, you hit him back in the face. Punch him hard in the nose until he's not able to hit you anymore.

His reaction was that he didn't want to get in trouble. That in school, teachers send anyone in a fight to the principal's office.  I told him, "That's right. They will send you there. And they will call us and then your mom and I will tell him that we told you to beat the tar out of this kid. And we will remind him that if the school can't control the bullies, then we will teach our son how to defend himself effectively."

We also assured him that as long as he is defending himself -- not starting the physical fight -- that we will stand by him.  He's a good boy. A gentle, sweet, kind boy. But he has to learn that bullies aren't to be placated. They are to be confronted.  If the bully is too big for him to handle, then he needs to bring it to a teacher's attention again or bring it to us and we will intervene. But we won't intervene if he isn't willing to defend himself from bullies that are his size or smaller. He has to fight his own battles. And we will support him on it, regardless of what the school says.

Anyone who says that if you pretend the bullies attacks don't bother you you will be fine is a fool. Bullies are not to be ignored. They are to be confronted and defeated.

Comments (Page 1)
on Mar 23, 2005
That's a very common sense approach....from a parent....very retro considering how society especially in the education system tends to frown upon anyone defending themself as you prescribed...physical contact of anykind is deemed too confrontational....go figure...

By the way it's the same advice my father (ex-marine DI) told me long ago when I went through my own bully phase in school...and wasnt till I confronted them on my own did I get some measure of all my life, all the bullies I have ever faced I stood up for myself....and when a fight breaks out...only one is the winner...more often than not it was me...but even when I lost at least they knew I wasnt a pushover...that how it is...even if you dont win, you have to stand up and defend yourself...and give as good as you get.....

The same in school goes for the world around us.....somethings never change...just my two cents...tell your son to keep his guard up and wait for his opening.....
on Mar 24, 2005

Now if adults would take the same approach our society would be so much better for it. Reward people for fighting back against muggers, and standing up to people trying to rob their stores. Help them if you're there, beat the asses doing this sort of thing into a hospital bed, then have charges laid against them and put them in jail. Bullies, no matter the age, still need to be deleted.
on Mar 24, 2005
My advice is to have a sit down with the teacher, that you can document in some way. Then, when you kid socks him in the teeth, the school won't be able to feign ignorance.

The best way to a neglectful teacher is through the principal. Sometime when you are picking your kid up early or dropping him off, steer the principal off to the side and ask him something like "Should I be concerned if my kid comes home and says a boy is punching him in the head every day?" Make like you know that kids rough house around, laugh it off, but tell him that it is happening so frequently you are kind of worried that the teacher doesn't seem to respond.

The main thing is just to be able to show that the school was notified and did nothing when they try to punish your kid for decking the bully. Frankly, any teacher that knows about that kind of behavior and brushes it off with a warning isn't worth her salt. I'd make myself known to her at every given opportunity. If she starts feeling pressure, you can bet the bully will.

on Mar 24, 2005

In terms of self defense, elbows, elbows, elbows. A fist to the face hurts, sure, but it is easy to miss. You also stay back far enough for the bully to hit you.

Nothing shocks a bully more than lurching into his face and coming across the bridge of his nose with your forearm/elbow. It even looks kind of accidental if you do it right *cough*.

on Mar 24, 2005
I was fortunate to have older siblings at school with me, so I never had such issues... I got kneed in the balls in year 7 - thats like when you are 11, and at lunch break, my older sister with her 17 year old friends came and beat the crap out of the perpetrator, and i was not touched once after that...

the sad fact is, you may get picked on, but if you stand up to them initially, there is always someone more submissive than you, and you will generally be left alone.
on Mar 24, 2005
It is nearly pointless for me to hand out an Isightful for your articles but here is one for this article anyways...
on Mar 24, 2005

While I do agree that you need to stand up to bullies I disagree with the immediate action of fighting before trying to resolve the problem.

You imply that it is the schools sole responsibility to control the bully, however, it is also up to the parents of that child too.  In my opinion I believe it would be best to bring this to the attention of the parents of that child.  It's possible that this can be resolved first by means of communication by all parties involved.  You should intervene by calling the parents or asking them to have a meeting with you and the school's principal.  If I was the parent of a bully child I would hope that another parent contacted me first before telling their kid to beat the crap out of my child.  Of course not all parents may react in a calm  matter about this but it's definitely worth the call.

If this doesn't work then by all means your son should defend himself.  But I think you would be missing out on a great non violent opportunity to resolve this issue by speaking to that kids parents first.

...Passing thought...I wonder if the school has contacted that child's parents yet?  I hope so.  If not I would be giving the school a piece of my mind!

on Mar 24, 2005

My advice is to have a sit down with the teacher, that you can document in some way. Then, when you kid socks him in the teeth, the school won't be able to feign ignorance.

I made the teacher sign a statement on the contents of the discussion.  My Daughter did not have any more problems with that hooligan (that was first grade).

Course they transferred him to an alternate school about a month later when he threw a desk, so I dont know if the teacher would have made a real difference or not.

on Mar 24, 2005
We were in Augsburg, W. Germany, and there was only one school for the American kids stationed there.

Frankfurt, class of 74!!!!
on Mar 24, 2005
Bullies are not to be ignored. They are to be confronted and defeated.

ABSOLUTLEY! This is so very true. I know that in prison you had BETTER fight back. It does not matter if you loose or not, the thing is to fight. A bully does not want a fighter. One thing I alsways told bullys in my younger days: you may whip me, but you gotta sleep sometime!Paybacks, as they say, can indeed be a bitch...
on Mar 24, 2005
Listen to T-Man and BakerStreet. Tell the teacher, document, contact the other kid's parents....AND have Alex ready to defend himself. You don't want him being blamed as the aggressor. That gets him in trouble and, more importantly, teaches him NOT to defend himself.

Being right is one thing, being able to prove that you are right is another. Who reading this has not been blamed as the "bad guy" (or gal) when all they did was defend themselves?
on Mar 24, 2005

To those optimistic people who think telling the kid's parents is going to work, I have to respectfully disagree.  I used to think the same way but have had far too much experience witnessing action to the contrary.  Too many parents of bullies are bullies themselves and see agression as strength.

Also, even if the parents and teachers talk to a 2nd grader, do you really think that is going to make a difference?  Have you had much experience with a lot of 2nd grade boys recently?  I have.  A good number of them don't have a lot going on upstairs and will act out whatever impulse strikes them at the time.  If the bully gets socked in the nose for beating on a "nice" kid, he isn't likely to have that impulse again.

I, as a fat kid, got bullied a lot.  I was a nice, sweet little girl and was told that if you are nice to people, they would be nice back.  I got the whole "turn the other cheek" and "be a bigger person" sermon.  I found out the hard way that those ways don't work.  Anyone who believes that there is always a "nonviolent" solution is ignoring human nature.  I tried everything including telling teachers and having my parents talk to their parents.  Guess what, that only seemed to fuel them.  It is like my "squealing" only fueled them more.

I have never punched anyone in the face but I certainly did some shoving, kicking and my favorite move, grabbing them by the back of their shirt (sweatshirt hood worked best) and twirling them until they go tumbling into an embarrassed heap.  Once a little fat girl makes you look like a fool, you don't tend to go back for more.

on Mar 24, 2005
Too many parents of bullies are bullies themselves and see agression as strength.

Jill is correct here. I'm speaking from personal experience. Most times when the child is a bully, it's the parents who are also doing the same kind of behaviour. Going around intimidating others because they feel they are bigger or badder. I don't blame Brad for telling his son to stand up for himself. I've done the same thing.

My older daughter was bullied during her years at elementary school. It stopped when she finally stood up for herself. My son was being bullied from time to time. So after contacting the teacher, and even after he reported to the teacher the incidents, the bully continued. I told my son what to do. In short, how to defend himself, he did, and the bully left him alone. Unfortunately, there seem to always be a bully in each grade. My son is a very peaceful, loving and friendly person. He's slight in built and doesn't look very strong. He likes his games and walks around with his baseball cap and sunglasses. Kids who are bigger sees him as someone to pick on all the time. So it's a constant problem.

As much as I would like to go pummel the bully myself, I know I can't and it's wrong, but I refuse to stand by and let my kid be harrassed by some jerk of a kid. So, I'll always have his back and I'll always tell him to defend himself.
on Mar 24, 2005
Bullies usually are dealing with emotional problems stemming from homelife. It is an easy outlet to feel in control and to have some power over someone, especially when you have no control over anything at home. Ergo the constant bullying is about satisfying some need to be in position of control. Take that away from the bully by taking control no matter the situation. Defend yourself physically if neccessary. Once the bully realizes they cannot control you (and that it would be a giant hassel to even attempt to do so) they're more than likely find someone else to exhault over. Pity that child because (s)he will be the one who has been told to not fight back.

Larry, one thing I've learned from life.. to hell with trying to prove yourself right to everyone. If you know you're right, that's satistisfaction enough for me.. it appeals to my strong sense of justice and fairness
on Mar 24, 2005
To be blunt, tell him to kick him in the nuts. Works every time...