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Bullies

When my children were growing up, the rule in the school was that fighting was prohibited and that engaging in a fight would result in discipline up to and including suspension.  Basically, it was a hands-off policy.

For the most part, my children did not have much in the way of physical altercations.  Things were relatively peaceful.  They had their friends and they kept to them.  No trouble.  However, the youngest found himself being taunted in school.  It appeared to be about sports but I could not say for sure.  I, willing to adhere to the school regulations, told my son to walk the other way and ignore it.  My husband, Bobby, did not agree.  My husband told my son not to start a fight with anyone, but that if someone hit him to hit back and with such force that the kid would remember it the entire length of time he would be placed on suspension.  “You don’t walk away from the fight,” he told him.  “The only thing that does is guarantee that more will follow.  You give it back to them in such a manner that they remember it – spread the word and leave you alone.”

I found myself unable to leave this situation at that fearing what would happen to my child.  Would he be hurt; ganged up on?  I went to the school authorities and explained what had been going on.  They asked, “You do know we have a no fight policy – don’t you?”  “Yes I do,” I replied.  “However, my son has been instructed to give it back to them on toast if they lay one hand on him.  I’m here telling you so that you are fully aware of the situation and if you would like to stop that from happening, you can.”

In that particular instance, the school teachers and coaches were on it like a rash (as they say).  No altercation took place and the back and forth between the boys stopped.  However, that advice stayed with him as he grew and the next time he did find himself picked on, out in the world with no adults to intercede, he fought back.  Did I like it?  No.  But the problem was solved.  It ended that day.  Bobby was right.

The more thought I gave to this advice my husband provided the more I came to realize that children need both parents to balance out raising the child.  Take the teachers and coaches out of the equation and my son would have found himself ‘taking it’ for a very long time. 

Now….25 years later, I realize that many of our children now grown adults have been brought up the same way.  Do not fight back.  Let the adults handle it.  All well and good when adults are around.  But they are now the adults.  There are people in this world who thrive on picking on people just to prove they can do it.  I could name them all – but it is unnecessary.  We all know who they have been.  The United States has walked around the school yard for a very long time and because we are a tempting target to a bully, we get picked on.  There’s always that one guy who wants to show the world he can push our buttons and nothing will happen.  Well, the no-fight policy would be great if there were a policing adult around.  But there isn’t.  So the bully hit us – and we hit him back; hard enough so that he will remember it.  Swift enough so that others will remember. 

I’m sorry every day that my husband has passed on.  On this one occasion, he would have lived to hear those words, “You were right, dear.”

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