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Bullying: Should we encourage our kids to fight back?

Updated on January 8, 2017

A few months ago, I visited a shop to make some photocopies for some Teens I talk to on Sundays. I gave them to the owner to copy. He couldn’t help but notice the content and said it was interesting. I explained it was for Teens and went on to talk about the importance of guiding them and told him, that I had spoken to them about bullying and how they didn’t need to fight back.

Boys Bullying...

Well, he surprised me by saying that he would encourage his son to fight back if he was being bullied, so that the bullies didn’t do it again and also it would make his son grow into a confident young man.

I, on the other hand had been encouraging teens not to retaliate (from a Christian point of view). I told him that I advised teens to walk away or report the person bullying ~ but I have to admit I totally understood his point.

Also, in London we have a high level of teen stabbings. So, even if I wasn’t a Christian I would still ask kids not to retaliate because the situation could escalate and end up with someone losing their life.

Do you think kids should fight back when they are being Bullied?

If you are a parent, what advice would you give your child?


Ps. A follow up to this article is in the link below: "An Indirect Approact to stop Bullying".


Girls Bullying...


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    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK


      Hello Kay, thanks for sharing your touching story. I think your husband didn't want any one to take your sons for granted. Every parent teaches their kids "self-confidence" in different ways.

      Sorry to hear about your son. I'm hoping that at some point, your other two sons will gel and speak to their Dad. They will - a time will come when they will be ready.

      Best Wishes.

    • KDee411 profile image

      KDee411 6 years ago from Bay Area, California

      Elena, Wow this hubs hits home. I would have liked for my sons to ignore little things and use the brains instead of their fists. My sons were the strongest kids on the block ( the school) whenever their friends were bullied, one of my sons would take it upon themself to go after the bully. My husband encouraged this type of behavior. "no one messes with my boys" he would say. I like what Alladream said in his comment. This room is full of smart people, I hope to meet all of you here in these great chat rooms. I'm going to really like hub time.

      I lost one of my boys,and the other two won't put up with each other. None of the kids have spoken to their father in years. Can't wait to read more and enter some stuff, when I get a working computer LOL another story. Kay (KDee411)

      I wish I hadn't allowed the (Power-Over) man to try and make our sons like he. Even my daughters hate the old man. I'm lucky my kids turned our to be good people. Kay

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      Hi Gmwilliams

      Thanks for sharing your experience. So, in a nutshell, the kids envied you. I am glad your Teachers took action... a lot don't seem to address the situation these days and it's the poor kid being bullied that has to leave the school.

      Cheers. :)

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Excellent hub. I, too, was bullied because I was quiet, an A student, and a teacher's pet. This was at the elementary and junior high levels. Many of the kids resented and hated me because I had an exceptionally high IQ. Let us not digress. When I was bullied, I informed my teachers. One of the bullies was physically whipped in front of me and my mother in order to shame, embarass, and deter him from ever being a bully again. The other bully was summarily expelled from school and the others were just physically punished and kept after school for a month. Being a teacher's pet has its advantages!

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      Hi Dreamreachout - How beautiful is that? Lovely comment to read. She is definitely on her way to a bright future.

      You're a Cool Dad. :)

    • profile image

      dreamreachout 6 years ago

      Elena, my daughter is 15+ and I groom her to be a leader but never to be a bully!! Well she is doing well, already a school prefect and vice-captain of her house!!

      Nice to read your hub again!! Cheers!!

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      Hello Floating Mind

      I am totally in favour of your suggestion because in light of the Hub and comments, there didn't seem to be a "proper" solution. That is a perfect suggestion.

      If they could introduce it in schools and give it a Module... Maybe "Being Positive" of "Being a Better Person". A few lessons in that should make a big difference.

      Thanks so much for taking time to share that. I am sure it will sit well with others readers.

      Bless you.


    • floating mind profile image

      floating mind 6 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      This is not only a great hub, but I really got into the comments that many others have given.

      I think that "Dexter Yarbrough" said it best when he stated,

      "Each situation is different and should be dealt with as such. How to deal with bullying cannot be determined universally."

      But then, how do the children (and the parents) deal with bullying? Should we turn children into mini-psychiatrist who can analyze each bully they encounter to determine the correct action/response when confronted by the bully?

      Should the child just run away from any and all bullys? (How would that affect the child's' self-esteem?)

      The one thing that is clear, is that their is no clear answer to this question.

      But then, maybe that statement can point us in the right direction to (at least) trying to curve bullying.

      [Now ... follow me here, because I'm trying to think through this myself as I write it.]

      If their is no clear answer to bullying, can we take a more nebulous approach to the problem? By this, I mean attacking the problem from a completely different angle.

      For example, if all children were to be taught about building quality into their lives, ... and shown that a quality life has no place for generalize negativity (like bullying for example), could that help reduce the problem???

      As one commenter describes (thestray1965), peer-pressure is a very strong factor in high school. Could me tap that (somehow) by getting kids to acknowledge among themselves that bullying is bad, by teaching them something that would make bullying fall out of favor for high schoolers? This may work for some, but I doubt if it would totally solve the problem.

      I just feel like I should offer some type of possible solution that can start people thinking about positive ways to address the problem.

      From my own experience with bullying when I was in high school, I tried running, telling an authority figure, and fighting; all with mix results. This is why I think that the problem needs to be approached from a completely different angle.

      I hope this helps you Lady_E, and good luck.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK


      I am very touched by your comment and thanks so much for sharing it. It's sad you had to go through that. I never went through any bullying in school, but having said that I was a very funny character - Just as you described your son in your first comment.

      At the moment, I have started a new Project which is about giving Inspiring Teen Talks to Teens in School. (I have a background in Teaching and love to inspire) You will see this at: At the end of the talk, I encourage kids to write about problems they are facing on a piece of paper anonymously and will hand it to their Teacher or Head Teacher, so they have an Idea of what is going on with Kids and hopefully have a heart to take Action.

      Reading your comment encourages me that I am doing the right thing because if someone had been there for you in school and supported you emotionally (and dealt with those mean girls/boys in a diplomatic way). Life would have been easier for you then.

      So, thanks again for sharing your comments.

      Best Wishes. :)

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      @Alladream - these words stood out for me in your comments "Part of the advice should include an understanding that walking away and reporting is not a weakness, but survival intelligence."

      A lot of kids don't want to be seen as a weakling. I hope many read your comment and are encouraged by it.

      You would make a great Teen Mentor. :)

    • thestray1965 profile image

      thestray1965 6 years ago from Way down below the Mason-Dixon line

      we did alot of talking about hitting & fighting - which mostly applies to bullying, with & by boys but, with girls - it is so much more physicological. The rumours, the backbiting, the looks, etc. I moved alot, and when I started 7th grade (age13) that was my 9th school, so I had learned to blend in - I wanted to be liked by everyone so, I was nice to everyone. I was able to manage to keep a low profile until 11th grade - but, during the summer between 10th & 11th grade by bra size went from a B to a D & I only weighed about 105 pds. So, obviously my blossoming bosoms were hard to overlook. Suddenly, girls that had been my friends since 7th grade, were ignoring me or talking behind my back and spreading rumours that were not at all true. I was all of a sudden labeled "one of those girls" & all because mother nature attacked me with a vengence! And, of course, boys who never noticed me before - were all of a sudden making excuses to stop by my locker. Things were written on the bathroom walls about me, some of them having me completing some acts - that I didn't even know, people did. It was an awful time for me - I lost many "so called" friends during that time. I also, became very self conscious & hated my body. I'd like to say people change as they get older, but at our 10th high school reunion, one of the girls actually came up & asked me if I had gotten a Boob job? I said no - don't you remember - you all called me Jugs, DD & whatever other names you could come up with. She said but they're bigger now - I told her that was because, I had a baby & they got larger - & asked if she'd like to see the stretch marks. I would rather be like the boys & just slug it out - at least you know, with the boys who your enemies are. With girls, you never know if they're your friend or just playing the "keep your friends close & your enemies closer" game.

    • Alladream74 profile image

      Victor Mavedzenge 6 years ago from Oakland, California

      This is a tough one, especially from the perspective of a London dweller,like you mentioned, there are so many reported cases of teen stabbings. Fighting back in this situation is not ideal. I would encourage them to walk away but let someone know the situation. Part of the advice should include an understanding that walking away and reporting is not a weakness, but survival intelligence.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      ** Hello Skye2day - It's interesting to read your point of view. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you and hubby are doing fine.

      ** Hi PlatinumOwl - That's true. They don't all lead to stabbings...but most of the time, someone does get hurt and sometimes teens get so fed up of it, they commit suicide....because no one listened to them.

      So glad you stopped by. :)

    • platinumOwl4 profile image

      platinumOwl4 6 years ago

      Of course, we are speaking of male children having to deal with bulling. My answer is this; I see male children as empires and either you nip it in the bud or you are conquered. One you are conquered you are at the mercy of the conqueror. Yes, I know there have been stabbings but they don't always lead to stabbings.

    • skye2day profile image

      skye2day 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      I would have to say no do not fight back. I would tell my child to look em square in the eye and say something like this, 'I feel sorry for you that you need to tear others down just so you feel better.' I would teach my child about dignity and point out that children that bully are having problems deeper then the eye sees and to pray for them. I would encourage him that the one that stands for themselves with dignity is the victor Bullying is awful and the less hype we give to the bully the less attention they get for their actions. They are searching for approval and love because they are lacking it somewhere themselves.

      They need serious help and are acting out. They need counsel and consequences. They need love. Love never fails. It is not normal to want to bully. WWJD? God can turn all things for good. It is a difficult and sad situation for all involved.

      lady e nice to see you again. You wrote a great food for thought sister. Love you. Hugs Galore!

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      ** DrPastorCarlotta ~ Thanks so much for sharing your personal experience. Stay Blessed.

      ** Support Med - Excellent Suggestions. People like you are needed in Education (Govt department, those who make all the Education Guidelines.) I like your point of view. So glad you stopped by to share that. Thanks.

    • Support Med. profile image

      Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

      Really is a tough subject - to defend or not to defend ones self. Walk away if you can, but if bullies are persistent, you may have to take a stand in self defense. Either way, it should be told. Students need to know the they will be safe from being excluded from school when they are defending themselves. Bullies need to know that they will face tough consequences, not just being excluded or suspended from school - they should be mandated to take anger management classes - have a month of consultation with a police or parole officer twice a week - and spend two weeks walking through the wards at the jail with the security guards. It makes no sense for the victim to be excluded from school. Hopefully the rules are changing - as the bullies have nothing to fear - unless they pick on another bully. v/r

    • drpastorcarlotta profile image

      Pastor Dr. Carlotta Boles 6 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

      Very interesting subject! When I was growing up my mother told me I better fight back or else! With my own daughter I taught her to tell authority and myself when situations came about, then I would go to the school myself to back her up and demand something to be done about the situation, this away it keep her out of alot of trouble. Afterwards if this situation keeps up with the same person, I give her permission to defend herself! Nowadays if you defend yourself you get suspended anyway! GREAT HUB!!!! Voted-Up!

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      Hi Mystere - I see your point. I guess we could call it self-defence. Thanks so much for stopping by to share.

    • mystere profile image

      mystere 6 years ago from Southern California

      Sometimes, your kid must fight, but it's always a last resort.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      ** Hi Ruby ~ How sad is that. Maybe some even reported the bullying but as readers have commented here, no action was taken. I hope parents and teachers find a way to deal with this. Lovely to hear from you.

      ** Hi Hello Hello - True. Times have changed. You never know what gadgets are in their bags or tucked away under their belts. I'm beginning to think Self Defence is a good option. Hope you enjoyed the summer Hols. Thanks for stopping. :)

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      ** Thanks Pamela - for pointing out the link to loss of self esteem. You raised some very important points and suggestions. Glad you stopped by.

      ** Hello Pete - That's good to know. When I have kids, I will definitely consider they have Martial Arts as a Hobby. Through the comments, I am beginning to see the importance of it. I read your previous comment... It was so nice back then, when the big kids were protective of the little kids.

      Thanks and Best Wishes.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      ** Okay Moneycup. :)

      ** PointBlank - Interesting Point. "force respects force." Thanks for stopping.

      ** Mentalist Acer - I love this point as it teaches self defence. Not actually hitting back. I never thought of it but I am so glad you shared it.

      ** Hi Rob, sorry to read about your childhood experience. Self defence is the way then. Thanks.

      ** Aaawh Psychic - You'd think they'd want to be friends with the new kid. I'm glad they never bothered you again, after you showed them some sense. :)

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      It really escalated in the worst. I agree with not to encourage your kid to retaliate because in no they pull a knife and stab you without a bat of and eye. I wouldn't not want to be a kid again today. They got all the technical gadget but in reality they have not childhood or carefree teenager years.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is a timely question, as i just saw a documentary on CNN about kids committing suicide because of bullying. The kids were all Gay, very sad indeed. I always taught my Son to fight back, even if they won, he still could feel that he tried, others might think it's better to walk away. I like this topic. Thank you for sharing.

    • Pete Maida profile image

      Pete Maida 6 years ago

      I teach martial arts to kids. I think it helps them to know that there is something they can do if they have to. However, I still fear one of them being face to face with a knife or a gun.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      This can really be a tough question for parents. Bullying seems to be growing and would be concerned with the knives. I would prefer your way. If bullying goes on day after day, even though they have walked away and reported it, there will probably come a time they may have to fight back. I think a child's self esteem is eroded terribly if they are frequently bullied. A parent conference at school may help also.

    • profile image 6 years ago

      It's really bad for your self-esteem to be bullied - I remember when I entered a new school as a kid I got picked on - that's what schoolyards were like back then and when you are new its almost as if kids try to find out where you are in the pecking order of things - your physcality is more important than intellect. I had a few skills so I fought back and the bully I beat was right up there in the schoolyard pecking order. I wasn't pestered after that. Its good when others step in and say 'leave him/her alone' and stick up for people. I detest violence and fighting but I believe you have to defend what's right. It's a worry when more violence seems to be happening among our young but it is a sign, I think, that some of our young are feeling very powerless.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      As a kid who was bullied a lot in school, I recall that my teachers never did anythng when I reported it. My mother's advice was to just run away but that only encourages other kids to beat you up more because you get the reputation of a coward.

      As a Buddhist, I don't believe in violence and I don't like fighting but if I had a son, I think I'd encourage him to defend himself.


    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      Self-defense is something that needs to be learned so that it's identified as such,like blocking punches and tackling.;)

    • pointblank009 profile image

      pointblank009 6 years ago from Buffalo

      I thought this was going to be an in-depth analysis of bullying. I'm afraid there's no escape from bullying other than fisticuffs. It's alright, teach him two things; endurance (pushups), and basic boxing and ducking. The neighborhood kids aren't interested in your new-age theories and won't respect your passive resistance. Ghandi and King taught that and both got shot.

      Earth is still a primative planet, force only respects force.

    • Pete Maida profile image

      Pete Maida 6 years ago

      This has become a difficult subject. Back in the ancient times when I was a kid we had a turf. All the kids in the neighborhood hug out together and watched each other's back. Someone knew that if they picked on a little kid from the neighborhood they would hear from the bigger kids.

      That was during the days when kids settled things with a good fist fight. Now times are far too dangerous. There is a good chance someone will have a weapon and someone will really get hurt.

      My instinct is to say that a kid has to stand up for himself, but the reality is that giving that advice could get a kid seriously hurt.

    • moneycop profile image

      moneycop 6 years ago from JABALPUR

      Hmm its right......

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      ** Dexter - You are such a Smart person, even when you were so young. :) Your kids are sorted. Thanks for sharing wise words.

      Best Wishes.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      ** Virginia - That hurts to read. Sometimes I wonder if it's best homeschooling kids. I'm glad your son has grown taller. :) Sometimes size makes a lot of difference. Thanks so much for stopping.

      ** MoneyCop - Thanks for sharing your comments. Taking parents to court is possible but, it will cost money and also I worry about how the kid would feel in school. It might put them off school.

      Ps. I remember a parent being told off by the school for speaking to a child who was bullying her child. Crazy world...

      It's nice to see you drop by again. Thanks.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      ** TheStray - That's lovely. Everyone loves hanging out with a person who has a great sense of humour. Thanks for sharing your experience.

      ** BennytheWriter - True. Fighting back sometimes has it's place. They know never to try it on again. I'm glad you stopped by to share.

      ** NorthWind - It's sad that people in authority don't act on it when it's reported - such an urgent, important issue. I appreciate you stopping by.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 6 years ago from United States

      Hi Lady_E! Tough questions for parents. As a child, I once bought off a bully with two candy bars. Never bothered me again. I faced another by overcoming my fear of him by tackling and throwing him down. Never bothered me again.

      Each situation is different and should be dealt with as such. How to deal with bullying cannot be determined universally. In some neighborhoods, talking to school authorities works. In others, kids have to learn to fight back.

      Great hub!

    • moneycop profile image

      moneycop 6 years ago from JABALPUR

      Its not good to have any kind of revenge feeling , and not in children at all. But as a parent you must take action to punish such child or sue their parents.

      that what i think bcoz to bear this also a not good.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 6 years ago from United States

      Great and timely question. My kids have faced bullying and we've struggled with how to help them. We've talked with school authorities but that doesn't actually help most of the time. Teachers can't see all the looks or words that are said. One thing we did is let our kids talk to us about the whole situation. We talked through what they could do to get bully to stop and how they could enlist other kids to support them. Finally though (my son just told me this yesterday), my son just shoved one of the boys out of the way and the boy stopped bothering him. My son had grown about a foot from the time the bullying started and I think the boy was surprised how strong he was.

    • North Wind profile image

      North Wind 6 years ago from The World (for now)

      I too, tell children to ignore and walk away. I tell them to talk to someone in authority about it.

      I have heard of many a case when a child who is bullied speaks to someone about it and nothing is done. I think that adults need to be more aware about how to deal with bullies as well.

      Sometimes the best thing you can do is talk. I am certain that the right words at the right time can solve the greatest of conflicts. It takes honesty though.

    • BennyTheWriter profile image

      BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A.

      Bullying is one tough situation really. As a kid, after being bullied a few times, I fought back--once the bullies saw I was serious, I was never really messed with again. I think fighting back has it's place; kids should learn how to respond to their own survival instinct and prevent harm to themselves if the situation escalates, but they should also be taught WHEN to back off (i.e., if the conflict can be easily resolved by other means). Just my two cents.

    • thestray1965 profile image

      thestray1965 6 years ago from Way down below the Mason-Dixon line

      Well, I told my son what my mother told me to do - "Don't ever start a fight, but if someone hits you, you've got my permission to finish it." And, that meant by any means necessary - of course, back then (I was born in 65) the worse thing I would have done would have been hitting someone with a stick and running away as fast as I could. Now! Totally, different story - can't outrun a bullet. I'm so glad, my son didn't ever get into that situation - he was the one that made everybody laugh so, no one bullied him. Hard call these days.


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