Parents- did you (or for future parents, do you plan to) teach your kids to punch a bully?

My daughter is currently being bullied. I did not advocate with her to be physical, EVER.

Frankly, kids are going to make fun of each other. They are making fun of my daughter because it is fun to get a reaction out of her. I sometimes spy on my kids (looking out the window and watching them play) and I have seen what she does when they call her relatively mild names. Honestly, hitting someone isn’t going to help her. She needs to brush it off or start fighting (verbal) fire with (verbal) fire.

And, really, what can I do if she tells me? I can go out and tell the other kids not to be mean to her but then she is just going to get picked on more. So, I just try to teach her things she can say and we role-play it.

I have also tried to convince her that if the other kids are picking on someone else she should stand up to them. Surprisingly, she is much better at that and has made good friends this way.

TL;DR I don’t teach my kid that violence will help.

I told my kid that I wouldn’t stand for him starting anything but, if someone was starting a fight with him that he should go for broke. With today’s Zero Tolerance policies, he’s as likely to be suspended for one hit as he is for fifteen so he might as well do it right.

We were taught to fight back if attacked physically. My dad taught both my sister and I how to throw a good punch and also how to fight dirty if we had to, especially to get away from an assailant. He was a very good dad. I really miss him.

I have taught my son the same.

(snipped by me)

So… physical violence is out, but verbal abuse is ok?

I’ve never been hit in my life, but I still have extremely painful memories of being verbally abused. If one is offlimits to you (presumably for moral reasons) why isn’t the other?


If someone hit or otherwise physically assaulted her, I would not be punishing her for fighting back.

Similarly, if someone calls her names (which is the extent of the current bullying) she has every right to push back verbally. (Plus, calling someone a ‘stupidhead’ or ‘jerkface’ when they are calling you names does not qualify as ‘verbal abuse.’ If you think it does, you might need counselling.)

She has had it explained to her in no uncertain terms that she is not to start anything. She is not to ‘go along’ when other people are being picked on and the second things get physical (play fighting excepted) she is to get help.

I mean, I used to be called names. I was an overweight kid with glasses. You know what stopped it. My brain. Which is directly connected to my mouth. Most kids will either

a) escalate to physical violence thus getting them in trouble.
b) back the fuck down

When you explain to them that they are acting like immature jerkwads. I know that a lot of people who were bullied were too scared or didn’t have enough self esteem to do this but I will tell you what, no one picked on me after a few days in a new school (and I only got punched once and never hit back). My friends also didn’t get picked on after a while. I stood up for those who couldn’t.

I assure you, in all my years of telling off bullies, not once did I feel like I was ‘verbally abusing’ them.

I actually did that to this kid who used to torment me in grade school. I beat the crap out of him until he was crying like a baby…until it suddenly dawned on me that if it was the same kid, he would have also been 35.:smack:

I never could hit someone unless it was in immediate defense, so the idea of catching up with them later in the locker room was never an option. My folks gave ME no advice on this subject, 'cause I’m a girl and most the bullying was verbal. My brothers got lots of advice, and I always jumped in when THEY were getting picked on. But I’m apparantly a not-by-choice pacifist, because even when my own brothers picked on me enough to piss my mom off SO much that she brought one to me and told me to beat the shit out of him for whatever he’d done earlier, I wouldn’t do it. Which really confused my mom. I just…can’t. Heat of the moment? Whatever it takes to make it stop, killing is on the table. Planned revenge? Won’t happen.

My daughter was bullied in Grades 6 and 7. She mostly dealt with it on her own but when I spoke to the vice principal about it, he basically said 12 year old boys are insane and if she felt like she needed to pop one of them between the eyes, he would probably look the other way.

I never told her that and it never came to that but I have heard that if you challenge the leader physically, his minions will likely back off. I remember too in junior high school, occasionally after school there would be a “scheduled” fist fight behind the gym and it seemed that afterwards everyone got it out of their system and life went on. I’m glad my daughter never had to resort to punching someone out but I know I would have supported her if she had.

All three of mine (male and female) were encouraged to ignore verbal bullying, but I told the two girls that if a guy every grabbed them, fight like hell with every part of their body: teeth, feet, hands, nails or anything else.

To expand on this: the kid who can be goaded into throwing a punch is not going to discourage bullying, IME. Rather, they will inspire more taunting because nothing is more fun to a group of bullies than watching someone have an apparently disproportionate reaction and then be the one to get in trouble for it. I agree that verbal abuse is in many ways worse than physical abuse, but one of those ways is that it is so hard to counter without escalating the situation.

I taught my kids to fight with words first, but if in danger of attack, strike first. Yeah, this would make them in the wrong in most places, but it is better than getting stomped on then trying to fight back. My sons had exactly one fight each in school, my daughter had 3, girls are mean.

You’re a good father. (I have a special needs daughter that may need such help, or she may really hurt another kid if she’s ever provoked.)

Learn how to avoid escalation, don’t be a bully yourself, learn the difference between teasing and bullying, be nice twice, tell a responsible adult, if it’s escalated to violence then as clothahump said: end the encounter quickly and violently

I taught my kids that they should defend themselves, or the people around them, if necessary. The one time my son got into a fight he threw one punch and got suspended.

This was around 1990, but it was different for me. If someone picked on me, I gave them one verbal warning to stop. If they didn’t stop, I punched them. I only had to do it a few times- and I got in trouble for it once- but I gained a reputation as someone who would punch you if you mocked or picked on me. And I generally didn’t get picked on much after a few instances of fighting back.

I don’t have kids, but Mrs. Homie and I, when discussing the subject for shits & giggles, agree with my idea: teach him/her to hit back, twice as fast, twice as hard. You may get your ass kicked, but the bully will most likely not mess with you again. Bullies prefer people who capitulate.

I can think of one thing that’s more fun. Picking on a kid you know won’t hit back.

Both of my girls have been in martial arts of one sort or another since they were three. I have, at one point or another, explained to both of them that girls need to know how to defend themselves. I’ve also explained that sooner or later some obnoxious high school boy is going to grab their ass in the hallway and that they have carte blanche to lay that kid out. I’ll defend them to the principal when it happens.

So, to answer the question: yes, I have. While I haven’t personally taught them I have made sure they’re trained. That includes classes, tournaments, and so forth. I’m proud of their trophies but I’m prouder that they can hit back if needed.

Sorry, but this is completely untrue in my experience as well. Others have echoed the sentiment. Violence solved the issue for me, unfortunately it was way too late. I wish I had known it earlier, I would have had a much happier childhood.

This is what we do, too.

Punch? Not necessarily. I don’t know much about punching myself. I will teach them that they have the right to defend themselves against harassment as they see fit, and I will support their use of moderate violence in doing so.

I also plan on enrolling my kids (most especially daughters) in martial arts classes at a young age, so they should have some idea how to throw their fists around.

I’ve never had to punch anyone. Usually standing up for myself with plain words was enough to make harassers back down. The key is being assertive/aggressive… ‘bullies’ are looking for a submissive victim, and most aren’t invested enough to keep going if you show them right away you won’t take their shit. There are exceptions of course, especially among boys.