The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #54172   Message #838885
Posted By: Grab
02-Dec-02 - 11:24 AM
Thread Name: BS: bullying advice
Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
Ireland, as someone who was bullied all through school, I'm honestly not sure that "turning the other cheek" is the best solution. Understanding why a rockfall happens does NOT help you when you're underneath it. But you can still work the systme your way. A few ideas for your lad from my experience.

The first rule is, words *do* hurt, but you'll live. And you can usually work out something to call them.

Second rule, following on from that - it's only good for them if they get to you. They say "we're going to get you into *troouuuuble*", say "Like I care". And act like you don't care, too - don't give them the satisfaction of seeing you worried about the teacher giving you lines.

Third rule is, don't give them an opening to use the school rules against you. Someone throws a pen at you, you put it in your pocket and keep the damn thing. Make them ask for it back. :-) They want to take it further, that's their problem - if they want to complain to a teacher, they then have to say that they threw it at you. To "sir, he's got my pen", "she threw it at me, fair's fair" is good enough. The teacher will likely get annoyed anyway, but you'll not be the one starting it - you're then using the system against them.

The fourth rule along the same lines is, don't start the fight. Never throw the first punch. That gives you an automatic get-out clause when the teachers break it up, especially if some of your friends can verify that the guy hit you first. You might still get detention, but only if you've done him some serious damage, in which case it's probably worth it.

The fifth rule is, don't be someone that ppl want to fight. Don't throw the first punch, but be in there with the second one, and be the one throwing the last one. It sounds like your son is OK on that score, but making an example of one or two is a good idea. If you're known to go utterly psycho and try to jump on ppl's heads in a fight, not many ppl will want to get involved. That at least solves the physical bullying problem. Sounds like your son is OK on this score, it's the other bits that are the problem.

The sixth rule is, don't play their game. Be smart. Suppose a gang of them a playing "keep-away" with your bag. Don't chase the bag around, pick *one*, apply both hands to his throat (or an arm-lock, or whatever), and say "drop the f***ing bag". That stops things being fun for them pretty damn quick. OK, this goes against the advice of not starting a fight, but the shock value of this will often do the job. If not, the fifth rule might help.

Some ppl say that violence solves nothing. Sometimes that's true - random violence is no help at all, bcos you're just playing into their hands. But *choosing* your fights - that's the strength.

The single best defence against bullying is to teach your kid martial arts. Firstly they'll be able to defend themselves against other kids, so they're safe. And secondly they'll see fights in terms of sparring, which they do all the time, so fights will no longer be a novelty and they won't get into fights as much. Thirdly, simply knowing that you can do this gives you so much more confidence, and self-confidence is the real key to stopping bullying. The worst thing a bully can do is strip your self-confidence, and martial arts teaches you to hold onto this. In my case it was Tae Kwon Do, but anything will do just as well.

A little while back, there was a thing on Slashdot about bullying in schools, called "Voices from the Hellmouth". I suggest reading through that and seeing some of the things that ppl said in there. Over and over, the ppl who survived bullying with their self-respect intact were the ones who took martial arts training.

Oh and Ireland, I suggest a formal complaint about this teacher. In writing, on the guy's record. The teacher taking it out on your kid in public bcos you complained (informally) is no way to behave. If he behaves like this with an informal complaint, the only way forward is to make it formal and get the disciplinary process involved. Your son may not be the first person he's done this to.