When you hear the word “bully” a specific feeling or memory will run through your head. Perhaps it was a bully that annoyed you everyday in school. Maybe YOU were the bully (no judgment here). Maybe one of your friends was bullied relentlessly.
Did you ever stand up to your bully?
What did you do?
What was the end result?
Modern society has changed the natural rules of interaction to such a degree that in a sick display of irony, the very rules that have been created to protect the victims are actually empowering the bullies. In order to successfully ward off bullies, you will need to learn some basic principles and accept some uncomfortable truths. These are the lessons that every father should teach their sons. To do otherwise is tantamount to child abuse (uncomfortable truth #1).
Uncomfortable Truth #2 – The schools don’t care about your kids
Modern school’s primary concern is to keep the government funds rolling and they will do so by any means necessary. This has resulted in lower standards, decreased focus on critical thinking, and shotgun approaches to everything. Zero tolerance is the flavor of the day and not just for weapons.
Your kid is part of a fight? He’s suspended. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. Doesn’t matter if he started it or was merely defending himself. As soon as he raises a hand to keep someone off him, he’s given the boot.
Uncomfortable Truth #3 – Bullies are akin to predators in the wild
Watch any documentary on the Animal Planet and you will observe one striking similarity that all predators share:
They are creatures of opportunity
They will hide, stalk, and wait for the perfect time to strike. Most often, they will pick off the weakest members of the herd; the young, frail, and sick. Bullies are no different. They’re not going to mess with the linebackers on the football team. They’re going to go after the easy pickings:
- The nerds
- The weak
- The socially awkward
Don’t misunderstand me. I do not have anything against any of these groups. I am merely stating a simple truth.
If you are not a powerful individual with strong connections, you are prey.
It doesn’t mean you WILL be targeted by a bully. It just means the potential is higher. Bullies, like predators, rely on easy targets. If a predator takes on a healthy, strong herd member, they run a much greater risk of being injured. Being injured out in the wild means certain death as they will become prey for another predator.
The same goes for the schoolyard bully. If they bite off more than they can chew and get their butts handed to them, others might see it as an opportune time to wreak their own vengeance against their antagonist. This leads to our next point…
Uncomfortable Truth #4 – If bullied, you’re kid must fight back
Violence isn’t necessarily the first option, but it is definitely a valid one. Bullies rely on the fact that other kids don’t want to get in trouble and avoid confrontations. In reality, it’s a win for the bully no matter what. They either get what they want from their victim (money, humiliation, etc) or they beat the hell out of them and get him suspended as well.
If other avenues don’t work (and they usually won’t), your kid must fight back with savage ferocity. He must stare his bully down right before punching him square in the teeth. Whether he wins or loses the fight, he must make it abundantly clear that the bully will not get out of any exchange with him scot-free. After enough times, the bully will move on to easier prey.
Uncomfortable Truth #5 – You must support your kid before AND after the fight
Do you teach your boy to lift weights and how to properly exercise?
Have you taught him how to fight?
Have you even talked to him about what to do if someone confronts him?
Shame on you.
Your son relies on you to set the example. Are you showing him it’s ok for him to stand up for himself or are you telling him to run and hide like a coward?
Just as important as preparing him to handle any bully is supporting him in the aftermath. If the incident happens at school, there will be repercussions. You must have your son’s back if he is in the right. If he was genuinely being bullied and has tried all other reasonable means to resolve the situation, you better get in the principal’s face and demand to know why nothing was done to address this issue before it escalated to this level. Place the blame solely on the faculty’s ineptness and commend your son for taking care of what they couldn’t in front of them.
Will your son still get suspended? Probably, but you’ve set the precedent. You put the faculty on alert that your boy will not hesitate to handle anything that they refuse to. Your son will also have an increased level of respect and trust in you. If you trust his judgment in how he handled such an incident, he’ll likewise trust you further down the road. This is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT part of the whole incident. Your son must know you have his back, no matter what.
Sit down with your son tonight and talk to him. Tell him the truth about handling bullies, not this soft bullshit that modern society foists upon us. Hell, show him this article if you need to. Equip your son with the knowledge and tools to protect himself from those who would consider him prey. The funny thing is that learning how to handle confrontations translates into other life skills; confidence, quick thinking, social skills, and assertiveness.
Do what’s best for your son and don’t let him face the world unarmed.