Does that sound like bad advice for a parent to give a child? Don’t write me if it does. It might be, but my husband and I already agree that in this case, we stand behind it.
Let me set the stage. My sweet, delicate, passive, fourteen-year-old daughter is being bullied at school. A fourteen-year-old boy is kicking the backs of her feet and legs as she walks down the hall. I asked her if she had told any adults and she said, “Yes, Mr. T talked to him but it didn’t stop.”
So being something of a tiger personality myself, and recognizing that my daughter is more a wounded deer personality (most of which is not her fault but comes from her early life), I know that bullies target the weakest among us. If she can’t get help from the teachers, and if my intervention would only make it worse, my advice to her was to protect herself. This is how I would like her to proceed.
First thing Monday morning, I want her to go find the kid and with a big smile tell him, ‘Hey, my mom said if you kick me again and I punch you as hard as I can in the stomach, she’ll take me to lunch. Come on, kick me, I really want the free lunch. Oh and by the way, I might look sweet, but I have a lot of rage in this fist and my mom says I can use it all on you. Come on, please? I really want that free lunch.”
I told Kaylyn she could call me from school and I would come down and take her out for lunch. I would also meet with her and the administration and take full responsibility for her punching the kid. If they suspend her, I’ll take her to dinner. I told her that even if she doesn’t punch him (which I don’t think she will have to do after she ASKS him to kick her), I’ll take her out for a treat after school just for saying the above to him. She wins either way. If he doesn’t kick her, she wins. If he does kick her, she wins lunch.
My sons are also allowed to defend their bodies just as physically, but are allowed to hit girls UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES. In that case, I would have to come up with something more creative.
Once my daughter was less distressed, I asked her what she knew about kids who acted out and she very intelligently responded that they’re having a hard time. So we talked about what hard time this kid might be having. It turns out his mom died two years ago. It doesn’t excuse him bullying my daughter, but it helps her to have compassion for him. I told her if she wants, she can invite him to lunch with us. She was not in favor of that plan. Can’t say I blame her.
Photo credit: crsd.org/bully-cartoon.gif