Should bullied kids fight back?

06:30 AEST Mon Nov 21 2011
Health Hub Staff

Kids who are bullied should hit back with their fists, according to an overseas expert.

American human behavioural specialist Dr John Demartini also believes parents should not be so over-protective of their children.

"You have to teach the child the truth. If you teach them a fantasy world where we are all meant to be nice and get along, they will not appreciate how life really is," Dr Demartini told

And Kiwi parenting guru and co-founder of Parents Inc Ian Grant agrees.

Grant told the New Zealand Herald a generation of Kiwi children were being raised as "Peter Pans" who were easy targets for bullies.

"What's happened in our modern world is that we have welded words. So if you say violence, people think it's cruel and evil," Grant said.

"But sometimes you've got to stand up for yourself, and if that means hitting somebody else, I don't have any issue with that."

But some anti-bullying experts have condemned the advice of 'hitting back' at bullies.

Secondary Principals' Association president Patrick Walsh said it was a dangerous message to send to students.

"All that does is import the law of the jungle into the school, where might is right and where violence becomes a justified means to solve your disputes," he said.

Walsh said more emphasis was now put on developing resilience among victims, and ensuring they reported bullying and kept doing so until action was taken.

Associate professor in clinical psychology at the University of Auckland Dr Ian Lambie said any idea that violence could be a solution to violence was outdated.

Do you think fighting violence with violence is the answer to overcoming bullying? Have your say.

User comments
What kind of $&i% is "reported bullying and kept doing so until action is taken" if actions not taken the first time its reported then in my eyes the school has given thier permission for the victum to hit back. If a bully gets hit hard enough then he wont try it again. I hit a kid a few years older than me in primary school because he hit me, and I got in detention every day for a week but the boy that hit me first (im a girl by the way) didnt even get told off apparently i got in trouble cause he had a blood nose and had to go home and there was nothing wrong with me. I encourge my son to report bullying if there is a teacher around to do so, but if not or if it is a kid that he has already reported then hit him back. I've also tought him how to twist someones arm behind there back so he can take them to the teacher.
I tell my kids to fight back, I do however tell them to choose your battles, find a teacher first and report it if nothing is done about it (and in many cases nothing is, whats the use of a bullying policy in school when the school don't even enforce it), and it carrys on then you fight them my baby!!! I have to say though ive never had to cause i'm that not so PC crazy mum who marches down the school if something is not right with my kids, Ive only had one instance and it was teasing with my oldest child and her Dean rang me imediately, sorted it out and spoke to the parents and child about it and I think thats the point of difference some schools just dont give a ***, they allow bullies to bully and the ones getting bullied are always the victims and the ones that usually leave the school.
I was bullied for 3 years a high school until I punched the crap out of one of the bullies. My last few months of school was bliss after that. I should done it 3 years earier then high scool would have been so much better. The PC tree huggers have gone too far. The BS about reporting Bullying and to keep reporting it until something is done is crap. The kids give up reporting and the adults get sick of the kids telling tells. You need to stand up for yourself and if you need to use force to do it then so be it.
As it is now bullied children are continuing to be bullied because no one notices, believes or can be bothered dealing with the bullies and what is happening. Being bullied is a frightening situation for any child and by letting them know that they do have a right to hit back is a good thing. Time and time again I have seen situations where children are not stopped from bullying and other children have to put up with it. As adults we are responsible for how our children behave and I teach mine to stand up for themselves.
Yes, to a degree. I mean, sure if someone is getting physically bullied then by all means self defend! I was hassled at school, and wish now id been taught to stand up for myself, by believing in myself, if I could put an old head on younger shoulders I would know the bullies dont like themselves very much, if at all. Its hard because ignoring the problem didnt make it go away, and trying to talk sense to them didnt work, and letting the teacher or parent know only made things worse at school. The downside of being able to hit back physically at a bully is whats stopping them from saying they were the ones getting bullied if they decide to physically attack someone? Its their word against the victims. An eye for an eye doesnt really acheive anything, except maybe a quick ego eye for an eye theory is exactly why there are still wars, people bent on revenge. The hardest thing to learn is forgiveness, and acceptance. But, sometimes some bullies just need a good thump lol
Although I agree with reporting, I can say with all honesty it was of little use so I agree fully with fighting back in self-defense of oneself and their honor. As far as I'm concerned if someone gets viloent on you THEY loose all right too not getting it BACK! Even worse, although I see reasionable force as what they do too you but if breaking a bullys nost gets them too stop I'd allow it. Trust me I don't usually condone violence but like everything in the world too me, I feel it has it's place. Though in defending oneself they need too learn when enough is enough and the fight (that's what it is) is over.
There is all the difference in the world between initiating violence, which must never be condoned or tolerated, and using violence to defend oneself from attack. It is foolish nonsense to say that self-defence results in law-of-the-jungle, as Patrick Walsh is quoted as saying above. In fact, it is schools allowing bullies to get away with their thuggery that has this result. Schools, and the Ministry of Education, are in hopeless denial about the bullying problem, and it is simply not good enough to say that victims of bullying must cultivate resiliance. Children and adults have every right to defend themselves if they are assaulted.
I agree with everyone so far the PC rubbish has to go. I had a daughter bullied out of **** in Christchurch. She was bright enough to win a scholarship to the collage then was tormented everyday because she didn't have the latest cell phone, branded clothes, credit card but she was smarter than most of the kids her age. She is now at uni as an adult student and holding an A average...time to teach our kids about the real world not everyone you meet is going to like you and vice-versa, teach them how to compete for what they want in this world and how to stand up for themselves, because at the end of the day no one else can do it for them.
I was bullied at a public school by a couple of girls because I had transferred from a catholic school. I tried to ignore them for a couple of years, until one day I "cracked" and turned around and pushed one of the girls down some stairs. They never touched me again.
As a parent of two teens who had issues of being bullied by others at primary school, I gave my kids the option. I could come down to the school and get it sorted but I sugested that it would be better if they delt with it themselves.If the bullies moved from verbal to physical abuse they were to punch the leader in the face, as hard as they could. Sadly it came to that and he did it and was hauled into the office and had a strip tore off him by the principal. We took him to maccas and talked through how proud we were also discussing that hitting someone first or starting a fight was never an option. He was upset at being in trouble at school BUT the bullies left him alone. When our daughter had a similar issue, that turned physical, one well aimed bonk on the nose settled it for good. I do not condone violence, but I most cirtainly think our kids need to be able to stand up for themselves when some one else has power issues.

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