Last year we provided a post regarding bullying that stated “don’t fight back”. This attracted some comments, including a statement from one father who said “I’m teaching my son boxing so if he gets bullied he can break their noses.”
Let’s clarify what we meant.
‘Not fighting back’ doesn’t mean ‘doing nothing’. Some actions young people could take in response to bullying include
- making a joke to defuse the situation,
- pointing out what is happening (e.g. “what you’re doing is bullying”),
- leaving the situation as soon as possible, and
- telling other students, school staff and/or parents what has happened.
‘Fighting back’ verbally or physically may be dangerous, and may lead to adults not resolving the situation properly because they perceive it as a fight rather than a bullying incident.
Encouraging them to ‘fight back’ if this involves being verbally or physically aggressive is counter productive – we want to teach young people that being aggressive is not an acceptable way to solve problems or achieve their goals.
For more information see https://www.ncab.org.au/bullying-advice/bullying-for-parents/how-to-stop-bullying/