It’s Your Fault That Your Kid is Being Bullied

It seems like everyone is getting bullied these days, doesn't it? I admittedly believe that's true... and it's the parent of the kid being bullied who's to blame.

I don’t remember how it all went down, I don’t remember exactly what was said. But I do remember the basic details of the first time a kid tried to bully me.

It was my first day of school. I was home schooled most of my life, but my parents decided to give the public school system a try when I was in 5th grade.

There was a boy following me around and making fun of me because I had a “weird” name (both my first and last names were “misspelled”, apparently) and I was the smallest kid. It went on at every recess. I remember I tried to avoid him all day. I had befriended another kid and she and I spent the better part of our recesses trying to hide from him.

That evening after my dad got home from work he asked me how school went. I told him about this boy and how he wouldn’t leave me alone. I told him I wasn’t looking forward to dealing with him the next day at school.

This is the one detail of the story I remember most clearly. This is what has stuck with me for nearly 2 decades. It’s the absolute most important part of my story.

I may not remember that kid’s name and I may not remember exactly how many times I ran away from him or all the places I hid from him during recess. But I do remember that my father was upset with me for reacting to this kid the way I had.

Did he tell me to tell my teacher? NO.

Did he tell me to find an adult the next time it happened? NO.

Did he go to school the next day and talk to the boys parents? NO.

He told me he was disappointed in me for not standing up for myself. Then he taught me how to throw a punch.

And he said there was just one rule when it came to handling these situations:

You better not start the fight, but you sure as hell better be the one to finish it.

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Did it ever end up coming down to me needing to punch this kid in the face? No… all it ended up taking was me standing my ground and letting him know he didn’t bother me. I most likely made fun of him right back, too, but I can’t remember for sure. What I do know is that I felt ready for a physical altercation if it turned into that. I also know that this lesson my dad taught me gave me a new outlook on life.

Luckily for me I was never physically assaulted by other kids. I’ve spent most of my life being told that I put off some kind of don’t mess with me vibe. It’s kinda nice. It usually keeps strangers from even initiating conversations with me!

My father and husband, on the other hand, were physically assaulted by kids in school. Because they, too, were the kids who were small for their age. Both have stories about kids assaulting them in various ways, and the stories generally end with them standing up for themselves and the other kid getting his butt thumped. And here’s why that’s important: the “bully” didn’t mess with them again.

StopBullyingAFrugalDesteny

I hate the word bully. I prefer the term being picked on to being bullied. For me, the word bully is almost as annoying as the term rape culture.

Over the last few years, bully has been turned into so much more than just a simple word. It represents a thought process which encourages people to be victims. And that’s a thought process I can’t support.

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It’s all over the news. How do we stop bullying? Because the kid doing the bullying is the only one that people think is to blame. And by teaching kids that it’s their bully’s fault that they are being picked on, we’re also teaching our children not the stand up for themselves and their beliefs. We’re teaching them to run to other people to solve their problems. And, most importantly, we are teaching them that they aren’t in any way responsible for the things that happen to them.

It’s all the bully’s fault.

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In the real world, this is a horrible thought process. Everyone should stand up for themselves and their beliefs. Everyone should be capable of solving their own problems. And everyone is, to some extent, responsible for the things that happen to them.

Take, for example, my husband’s being put on a salary earlier this year which resulted in him receiving a pay cut.

Does it suck? YES.

Did the company do it to benefit themselves, with no care as to how it effects him? YES.

Is he somehow responsible for this and the impact it has had on our family? YES.

He chose to start working for that company. He chooses to continue working for that company. He is responsible for where that decision has led him. He is also responsible for the impact that decision has on his family on a daily basis.

Just like the kid who chooses not to stand up to his bully day after day.

FightBullyAFrugalDesteny

It seems these days I hear most parents telling their kids to find help if they are being picked on by someone. Or, better yet, to “just ignore them” and “be the bigger man”.

Come on guys, you do know that even if your kid doesn’t say anything, his body language and attitude are going to let the other kid know that what he’s doing is bothering your kid, right? And kids who pick on other kids feed off that.

I’m aware that my opinion on this bullying “issue” really doesn’t matter to anyone outside my family. Parents aren’t going to change the way they parent simply because I think everyone would be better off if they kicked their bully’s ass.

However, I’m also aware that my opinion will influence how my daughter handles these situations.

She will know how to handle a physical altercation. She will be taught that if someone hits you, kicks you or pulls your hair, you have every right to physically assault them in return. Even if the kid is twice her size, she had best not back down and allow him to get away with treating her like that. I don’t care if she has to hit him with a damn chair, it will be in her best interest to make sure this bully never wants to mess with her again.

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She will be taught not to go looking for fights, but she will know how to handle them if they ensue. She will be raised to stand up for not only herself, but also those weaker than her. She will know that she is responsible for herself, her life, how she is treated, and the things that happen to her.

The only way to stop bullying is to teach your bully not to bully.

 

 

17 thoughts on “It’s Your Fault That Your Kid is Being Bullied

  • October 18 at 4:28 am
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    I teach my kids to stand up for themselves. I don’t believe that they should be “bully pacifists”. I do teach them responsible ways to handle it and are free to use their imagination if the bully is not getting the message. In a school context, I’d make sure that the authorities are aware of what’s happening in case the bullied child ends up looking like the villain.
    Bullying does not stop with childhood, how are they going to deal with it when they are adults? I like your well rounded and balanced approach to this.

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    • January 9 at 12:17 pm
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      I couldn’t agree more. I handled all of my situations out with creative reasoning to those who challenged me (usually when I was the “new kid”–and frequent when I was growing up). I can, fortuneately, count on one hand how many times I came close to having to finish it out with a “one-two punch”…but most of the girls saw the wisdom in what I was saying…because I didn’t want to waste my energy. I was in a fist fight twice in Jr. High. One, I initiated as a surprise hit from something that a girl did to one of my friends–WELL deserved I believe; and another by a friend and I did NOT fight back (as I was told by mom I would “get it” if I ever got into a fight again…after I played “hit man” on the “mean girl”). Mom wasn’t specific on that directive by saying I would get it if I STARTED another fight. After she saw me beat up, she asked about it and then I GLADLY made her eat her own words. THEN she tells me…Yikes! So, from that point on, I never had to be in a fight again, but I was prepared to FINISH any fight that people want to start with me. I “live and let live” but if people come into my “playground” to start something, I will NOT hesitate to finish it. I did pass this along to my son, in which he also never had ANY problems with “bullies”. As a teacher, when I was in the classroom, I saw situations like this all of the time; I was all for the students who threw the first punch–getting a return K.O. from the kid they punched and/or even continuously taunted threats with their BIG mouths to shut them up. Sometimes, and MORE often than not, it’s the ONLY way it will happen because when kids are not allowed to take care of it amongst themselves with their fists (just enough to get them off of them and hard enough to make them think)…you get situations like Columbine and Sandy Hook.

      Reply
  • October 18 at 9:40 pm
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    As a teacher with almost 10 years in the classroom, I can tell you that it’s not as simple as having a student stand up for themselves. The definition of a bullying situation includes an imbalance of power. Children who are bullied are often shy, or have been victims of abuse at home. If a child has been abused by the very same people that are supposed to be protecting them at home, you’d better believe they aren’t going to have the confidence to stand up for themselves. As a Christian, teaching my children to “kick ass” is not going to work for us! Ha ha!

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  • October 18 at 9:52 pm
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    i dont agree in fighting back, but I will just teach kids to know that it is wrong to bully others. And make sure they let their teacher know about it. Dont fight back but stand for what is right.

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  • October 19 at 11:01 am
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    The way my husband and I are teaching our kids is to first go to the adults but if the adults can’t or won’t fix the situation then they can take it into their own hands and hit back so to speak. Yes I think kids should stand up for themselves but its to often that when the child stands up for themselves that they look like the bad guy and not the actual person.

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  • October 20 at 10:29 pm
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    I was bullied as a child. Terrorized would be a better description. I had a deformed nose. I couldn’t hide it it was there for the world to see. I didn’t get into fights. They would be non stop. I just ducked my head and walked away from the jeers, laughter and “Bozo” and “Pinocchio” comments whispered by some behind my back, teased by most. It made me an introvert. Serious bullying does that. My parents never got involved. I’m old. I grew up in the era you refer to when we handled our own problems on the playground. Unfortunately I didn’t have a dad that taught me a good right hook. Not that mine wouldn’t have, I just never took it home. Suffering in silence was my M.O.
    The problem with teaching your kids a good right hook in these times may get your kid charged with assault. I’d be afraid to tell my 8 year old grandson to take care of it after school. No telling what these liberal do-gooders will do if their precious child/grandchild comes home with a shiner.

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  • October 28 at 11:35 am
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    I’m with you on this. I know there are extremes in every situation but honestly, if children are not taught to stick up for themselves and claw their way out of a tough situation while always believing it’s entirely the other person’s fault, then they often grow into entitled adults who think the world is against them and they “just can’t catch a break” and it’s the world’s fault when they can’t get a better job/can’t make more money/encounter failure/life sucks. I know this for a fact because I look around and see these people every day. I’ve de-friended these people in life because they’re filled with entitlement and negative energy. It’s unhealthy, & they’ve never been taught that the only thing holding them back is them.

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  • November 1 at 10:31 pm
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    You do realize that most school districts have a no tolerance policy on violence and ANY child involved can be expelled, right? Even if they didn’t start it? This is the most ridiculous blog post I have ever seen.

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    • November 2 at 4:47 am
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      That’s a risk I’m willing to take. I would rather my daughter be expelled from a school than believe she shouldn’t defend or stand up for herself.

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  • December 8 at 8:27 pm
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    I think it’s really unfortunate that more discussion wasn’t put forth around the psychology of those that bully and those that are bullied. I understand that this worked for you and fully respect that it’s something you want to pass to your children but it’s irresponsible to talk about these things without touching on or educating about how personality, environmental factors, genetics etc. can make this a very unrealistic solution for many, many children.

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  • January 18 at 11:25 pm
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    I wholeheartedly agree with you. 100%.

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  • January 25 at 6:19 am
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    I so agree it’s you a 100% as well ! Today’s parents baby their children to such a level it makes me angry. Teach your child to be independent young . I have seen parents putting shoes on their eight year olds and talking to their child as if they were still babies. Omg! This is where it really starts. Some parents make their child handicapped and it goes into adulthood. Ruining marriages because they expect their partner to be their mother. Our job is to equip them to be able to live without us ,that is loving them.

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    • January 25 at 8:38 am
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      It’s funny that you mention the way parents talk to their children. I had a family member ask me what “baby words” I use when talking to my daughter (she was right at a year old at the time). I was a bit confused and told my family member none, that I feel that I’d be doing her a disservice talking to her like that, even if she is a baby. She’s learning how to speak from me and every time I talk I am teaching her how to say words. There’s no reason to set her up for failure.

      I also have a few family members who think I’m “mean” because I’ve never really babied her. She is 18 months now and if, for example, she trips and falls, I don’t run to her aid like every other mom I know. Even when she’s laying on the ground crying, hoping I’ll scoop her up, I don’t. I tell her she’s fine and that she needs to get up. Nobody is going to be around to coddle her when she’s all grown up, there’s no reason to teach her what being coddled and babied is like now.

      Thanks for stopping by, Debra!

      Reply
  • February 23 at 9:30 am
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    Interesting perspective! I definitely think that kids should learn to stand up for their selves it’s definitely a great life skill! If you’ve written any articles on the psychology of childhood development and impacts of abuse in an educational setting I’d love to read them! Where could I find them on your blog?

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  • February 27 at 6:52 pm
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    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard both sides as a kid. Being one of those kids that was bullied relentlessly, I can tell you there is a huge flaw here.

    There is an enormous stigma about boys hitting girls. Outside of kindergarten, You just don’t do it. If you do, you are a coward.

    Boys hitting boys, on the other hand… Sure, I stood up for myself many times. You know where that gets you? The bully feels ‘honor bound’ to follow up his insult physically, because he is ‘better’ than you, and can’t take the hit on his pride. Sometimes his friends even step in; they don’t see a five to one fight as the cowardly act it is. If you are (and I wasn’t) bigger, you might win the fight. If you are my size at the time, you get anywhere from a black eye to a bloody face to worse.

    And you get picked on/made fun of even more for loosing the fight.

    In any case, where as this advice may work in some cases, it is the absolute worst advice you can give a small boy.

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  • April 19 at 11:46 am
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    And you sound the type of parent who would allow her daughter to bully. I hope you never have anymore kids. I was teased for my name…actually, I wasn’t. Someone gave me the nickname Velveeta Shells and Cheese and it stuck almost 25 years later. But good for you for victim blaming. I bet you’re a fan of rapist Brock Turner. Judging by your blog, your character and personality suck.

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  • October 3 at 5:32 pm
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    Kids often scream their heads off at them trying to defend themselves and IT DOESN’T WORK! Stop blaming the victim here! Bullying is not acceptable behavior! You can’t expect children to change who they are and become defensive violent people! Thats horrible! You might even create another bully! Imagine being a child with 5 other kids around you screaming at you how you are ugly and that you should go kill yourself and no matter what you say back they laugh and make fun of it or they simple just don’t listen to you… what are you going to do?

    Reply

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