Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bully girls

So, my wife and I had a conversation this morning regarding bullying. Apparently, one of the girls in my daughter's class pushed her the other day and then said something along the lines of "I did it on purpose." My daughter has also told us this girl made fun of her for wearing colored underwear on a gym day a few weeks back. My wife and I have termed this girl and her friends as the "mean girls," and are having a debate over how are daughter should handle the situation.

According to my daughter there are a couple times when she's said something like, "you shouldn't have done that," when one of these girls made her friend move at the lunch table or something. My daughter is not exactly a wilting violet.

But, after this girl pushed her, she didn't do anything. I said she should have shoved her back even harder. (Note: my daughter is pretty sturdy; she has an older brother that likes to use her for wrestling practice. I'v'e seen her fight back and know she packs a wallop.) My wife said she should have told the teacher and is thinking that maybe she should go in herself and tell the teacher.

This brought about conversations about the value of kids learning to deal with their own problems, and the value of a little violence against a bully. I think we agree that parent interference should be kept to a miminum. Of course, some of my wife's more overbearing friends (and just to cover myself, I use "overbearing" as a term of endearment) don't feel that way. In regards to fighting back with a little violence, my wife seems to think this will reflect negatively on my daughter. I, of course, having just finished reading a 450-page biography of John Adams, am certainly in favor of a little bit of justified violence. That's how revolutions happen, baby!

Any opinions or advice on this topic are appreciated.




DrD said...

DrD Psychologist:

The problem with violence as a problem-solving technique is that you are at the mercy of the proverbial coin flip.

50% of the time, you might succeed. You smack the bully in the mouth and that's the end of it. They go pick on somebody else.

However, 50% of the time, violence leads to more violence (at least it did on the East Side). You smack the bully in the mouth and s/he kicks your ass. Or the bully gets friends who wait for you after school to rough you up and throw your bookbag in the dirt.

I guess a lot of this is strategy: How tough is the bully? If you can kick his/her ass one-on-one, then it's worth a shot, if not, then I'm not too sure you want to go down that road. People don't always play by the rules.

Maybe it's different on the West Side, but there were some crazy MFers on the East Side. You were way better off avoiding confrontation with these people as opposed to seeking it out.

Most of the time, I figured I had better things to do than give my energy to a bully. Although there were a couple of times I fought. One time, I beat a dude bloody in the hallways of East High because he said he was going to "kick my ass."

I said, "Let's take care of it now." And I did. Viola Andrews (God Rest Her Soul) laughed out loud because the kid I knocked out was a known bully.

DrD the Attorney:

The next step is to break it down in terms of legal definitions. If someone calls you stupid, should you punch them? No. They may be antagonizing you, but there is no clear and present physical threat.

If someone says they are going to beat your ass, should you response physically? Maybe (I did). A verbal threat has been issued and you are now in a position where you might have to defend yourself. Violence becomes a viable option, but you had better be able to prove that you were in real danger before slashing out.

If someone makes physical contact with you--pushes you--you should be able to retaliate physically. Physical touch is a boundary that needs to be maintained. Everyone supports self-defense.

DrD as Parent:

Personally, I'd say that if someone pushed my kid, s/he has my permission to push them back and yell, "Get away from me!" or "Don't touch me!"

Everyone has the right to defend themselves from physical assault.

In fact, this can be the training that takes place around this situation: Train your kid only to respond physically when a physical threat is underway or immediate, otherwise, work to avoid confrontation.

Also teach children to accompany any physical response with clear and loud language: "Get back!"

Let me know what you decide.


Anonymous said...

You coulda got more helpful responses as your post glided down Erie Blogs, had your buddy DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD
or is it just DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD, left your post alone instead of bullying you off the page.

For what it is worth, if you love your daughter, do not tell her anything DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD wrote. Worthless advice.

Repost the whole issue (it needs heard) and see if you can get DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD to maybe be quiet until your scroll, and comments attracted as advice, are over.

Good luck for your daughter.
Mine went through that too.

I was hoping to see constructive advice before the nut posted his bullying of your post.

DrD said...


DrD said...

I think I'm done with this blogging stuff, Ralph.

Too many pricks online.

I didn't bully you in any way.

I'm just writing, not threatening or name calling.

I'm just doing what we've done for years now, writing on the blog.

Then some anonymous jizzbag comes along and shits on us.

I'm tired of it. I have better things to do.

I'm out.

Stan Langerhaus said...

Ralph, I would simply ask your child's school what practices they would implement in the event that someone reports instances of bullying.

That way you would know if you are wasting your time with going the "official" route or whether allowing your daughter to address the issue in the way she sees fit.

Have you already looked into that?

Ralph said...

Shit, lot of stuff to respond here since I left off. First off, while I appreciate anonymous' concern on this topic, please try not to insult my friends. DrD is one of the more considerate people I know, and I'm certain that if he knew he was jamming something up, he would avoid it.

I see that we are now being picked on the "new posts" section of the Erie Blogs again, which is cool for expanding readership. However, I know I am unsure of how a long comment affects readability, and likely Dr. D is too. Perhaps anonymouse is using a different viewer/browser - a mobile device perhaps?

Regardless, DrD, as always, I appreciate your input. As you should know, from having working for a newspaper and newsletter, anytime you're in the public forum you're open for crticism - as well as praise, which is the flip side. Don't be goin' soft on us know that you're in the provideral academic tower ;)

Stan, always appreciates your insights, as well.

I guess I'm not taking this bully situation as seriously as I could. To tell you the truth I am finding it more amusing than anything. (kind of like the movie Mean Girls) Perhaps, this is becaue I'm am utterly confident in my daughter's ability to respond properly to situations.

My wife is going into school to work the Halloween party and hopefully get a read on the situation.

Example number one as to why I'm ultimatley confident in my daughter: My son has recently picked up a habit of calling people "dummies," which he has morphed in "thumbies" in response to our telling him to cut it out. I know, stupid nine-year-old stuff.

As a Suessian-type joke, I was calling the kids Thumbies 1 through 3 last night and the parents Smarties 1&2. My daughter took offense to that and told me she was smart. I asked her who the smartest girl in her class was, and she confidently responded "me."

I guess, my instinct is to tell her to push the bully back, because I don't want her to lose that confidence.

Anyhow, that's a long enough comment...