Keeping children safe from bullying

I remember when my son was being bullied in 6th grade… In front of the principal I said next time-- deck him… the principal said “you can’t tell him to do that” and I told her I was the father and I told him to do it… He never had another issue with that bully.

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What you went through clearly crosses the threshold for being unacceptable. Hindsight makes things clear enough: if you have “demons” because of something, it was too much, and that is precisely when we would wish somebody could have intervened to correct the problem.

I remember being bullied. I have no demons from it. Policies against bullying are good as far as that goes, but it sounds to me like people are embracing a huge social experiment where we strive to make kids feel utterly safe and secure always and protected from all adversity. That doesn’t sound like a safe social experiment to me. I think they would fail to learn important life lessons and interpersonal skills in that bubble, and it will be a different kind of cruelty to subject a child so raised to the real world. Apparently I needn’t worry because despite being at zero tolerance for bullying for a couple of generations now, we’re still talking about it as if nothing has really changed for kids.

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As do I.

You are indeed fortunate.

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You make a very good point… life is not safe, and will never be safe. We strive to make it safe remembering that we will never realize it on this side of Heaven. I’ve never sugar coated life for my kids and the way this nation is going we must see reality. Just ranting …

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Why we’re here, yes?

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So I always taught my daughter to do the right thing. She knew how to defend herself but also knew if she ever got into a fight in school there would be heck to pay at home. My son knows that as well.

When my daughter was in her final year of elementary school she actually almost got suspended. Apparently at lunch this particular day a boy in her class came up to her table and made very inappropriate gestures and comments to my daughter. She chucked her lunch tray from across the table and nailed him in the face. This was not the first time the boy had done this to girls in the school. This time ended. Since I was working my wife went in.

The principal wanted to suspend my daughter. My wife said fine she can get the same as the boy. She absolutely lost it when the principal said the boy was just being a boy and was not getting anything. Needless to say my daughter didn’t get suspended and never had a problem with anyone again.

When I got home from work she met me at the door. She told me what happened. We all talked through it and we told her we were proud of her for sticking up for herself. From that day forward if she saw anything she tried to help other kids not be bullied or at the very least reported it.

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I was bullied in elementary school and middle school. As a result, I got into a fair share of fights, spent time in detention and even a couple suspensions.

My parents were pretty worthless as they didn’t provide any support through this and blamed me for getting into trouble. Things got pretty dark for me and I became withdrawn, wrote up a hit list of who I wanted to kill and wrote down ways i would kill each one on the list. I even told one kid as he was heckling me during PE that if I wanted his opinion, I’d shoot him in the head and sift through his brains for it. As you can imagine, that didn’t sit well with the teacher who overheard that and off to the principals office I went. Verbal abuse was fine, but making a threat was too much.

What stopped me from doing anything bad was that I felt that suicide was the cowardly way out and there was no reliable way to ensure that I could check off every name on the list and not have collateral damage. I made it my goal to get away from that town after graduation and find enjoyment in my life. That gave me something to focus on.

I may have moved on, but I’ll never forgive or forget. When I see how outgoing my daughter is compared to how reserved I am, it definitely had an effect on my life and I sometimes wonder how different my life could have been. Unlike my parents, my wife and I have let our daughter know that if she gets bullied, we’ve got her back and will support her, even if the school administration won’t. We’ve tried to instill in her self confidence, resourcefulness and good morals.

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The best defense against verbal bullying is solid self-confidence. If the bully does not get a response, they move on to someone who responds in a way that encourages them. Then it just gets worse. Yes, it should be reported, the bully is also getting hurt and needs to find positive ways to interface with people.

As for physical bullying, it probably will not stop until there are immediate and significant consequences.

Schools usually fail miserably at handling a bully, either kind.

I taught our boys to avoid a fight, forget the words and walk away. If they can’t walk away, go all in and be the one willing to stop when the bully has had enough. I taught them to put their body weight into a punch and to not hit the head with a fist (no broken knuckles). There were few incidents, but one was in college, serious and dangerous bullying stopped when my son decked a football player in the hall. Then everything changed, for the better. A poor way to have to do business but sometimes the best defense is a good offense.

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False, in my experience. It really depends on the bully’s goals.

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Not universally true.

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True.
If there is a vendetta mind set, ignoring them will probably not work. Worst response is the one that shows “you got to me, you pushed my buttons”. So often, this IS the response they want and they get it.

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