It happens every so often… I am approached by one or both parents of a young student, usually with the student, requesting that they speak with me in private. We enter my office and close the door, and the parents proceed to inform me that their child is having a problem with another child at school. In most cases, there have been several incidents in which their child has been bullied by the other child and they are calling me aside to request my advice. The parents usually do not need my advice regarding what their child should do. They have already given their child the advice that any normal parent would give his or her child. They just need me to reinforce it to their child. They know what I am going to say, because it is based on common sense, which is what they used to reach the same conclusion.
Prior to their having to deal with this situation, many parents would have advised that their child ignore or just walk a way from the bully. Others may have advised their child to tell his or her teacher of the problem and it would be taken care of. They may even give this advice to their child at the outset and will quickly learn that the bully will not allow their child to just ignore or walk away from him. Even if the child can avoid the bully, there is no way that he or she can live without fear of confronting the bully, which will completely dismantle his or her self-esteem. Parents will also learn that if their child “tells the teacher”, the child pays for this with even more bullying. Many of the parents have already gotten involved in the situation by speaking with the child’s teacher and school administrators, but this has the same effect as the prior scenario. You see, there is only one sensible answer to a bullying situation and all parents, no matter what they had always professed before they ever had to face this issue, come to this common sense conclusion.
You really can not blame the parents for giving their children this initial bogus advice or getting themselves involved when you consider the culture of political correctness that has evolved in society. According to this culture, any form of physical confrontation is considered violence, and violence must be avoided at all costs. However, when everything else has failed, parents always seem to finally reach the realization that this is the child’s problem and the child must stand up to the bully and deal with any physical altercation that may arise. If the child does not stand up to the bully, he or she is doomed to live each day in fear of the bully and the child’s self-esteem will be greatly affected in a negative way. Of course the bullying will not last forever, but if the child does not face the bully, the psychological damage that is caused will. A good friend of mine stated it best: an injury to your body will heal and go away, but an injury to your pride will remain with you for the rest of your life.
Having said that, is it really worth conforming to political correctness and advise your child to avoid “violence” at all costs? Are you really doing right by your child? In my opinion, you will be doing your child a disservice if you take this position. Don’t get me wrong… I agree that violence is not good for anybody. However, sometimes it is necessary to make things right. In mostly all situations when a victim stands up to a bully, one of two things happen; 1) the bully backs down and no physical confrontation results, or 2) a confrontation ensues and the vicitim walks away with some bruises, but gains the bully’s respect. In either situation, the result is that the bullying stops and the child walks away with his pride and a positive self-esteem. In addition to this, the bully just may receive a lesson in humility.
It is my belief that all parents know this from the beginning, because as I said above, it is all based on common sense. It is a shame that society has made it so difficult to do the right thing by polluting our minds with all this politically correct BS. When I was a child, standing up to a bully was the only solution to the problem and parents, including my own, never had any hesitation to say, “if he hits you, you hit him right back!” Life was so much simpler back then and people were so much more normal and well adjusted. Again, this is because they handled these types of problems with common sense. As I stated above, I believe that all parents today eventually come to the sensible conclusion. It is just too bad that they have to spend so much time and effort to come to it, and need so much reinforcement once they reach it.
I welcome your comments.
As always, keep up the good fight!