Fighting Back: Is it the Answer to Bullying?

I was only seven years old when my babysitter put boxing gloves on me and told me to “duke it out” with the boy who was constantly harassing me. It was a short fight—he was nine and had twenty pounds on me. I suffered a bloody nose, a black eye, and several scratches on my knees from where I fell in the gravel, and a bruised ego. In this case, fighting back did not work and only made the bullying worse—until I told my dad, and he stepped in.

Today, there are many people—teachers, parents, and counselors—who agree with that babysitter many decades. They believe the only way to stop a bully is to fight back. But, is fighting back the answer? In truth—No.

While a good thumping might make a bully back off or find a different target, there are many situations where this is not a solution. What if the victim is smaller than the bully? What if he/she is not physically, emotionally, or mentally capable of handling a physical confrontation?  What if he/she is being cyber-bullied?   What if there are multiple bullies?

Bullying overwhelms its victims, and prolonged bullying can cause panic attacks, depression, fear and even terror. These feelings make the victim feel powerless. Telling him/her to fight back if they can’t increases the negative feelings they are already experiencing. They begin to wonder what is wrong with them, or blame themselves. In the end, the depression wins out and we continue to see an increase in kid suicides, drug use, emotional breakdowns, and family disconnects.

So how can we fight back and stop bullying? I think the Stand Up campaign is one way. It helps kids identify bullying and put a stop to it together. Kids like the 5th grade football team at Williams Intermediate School in Bridgewater, MA. are standing up and saying stop it. In this school, the six-year-old boy who had a speech problem due to a brain hemorrhage when he was only a week old was bullied. When the football team found out about it, they rallied the team and the school to support “Danny”. The bullying ended because no one would allow it. So what do you think is the best way to fight bullying? Please take a minute to share your solutions with us.



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