What To Do When Bullied

We were talking at the dinner table about what to do when bullied. My wife, the one who pioneered homeschooling in my family, surprised me by disagreeing with my position that my kids not let themselves get pushed around.

She said that such behavior might get them suspended. She said that Christ taught that we should “turn the other cheek.” I know that’s what He taught, but in the actual practice of the thing, how does a kid do that? How does a parent teach a kid to turn the other cheek when that kid is being bullied?

Bullying hurts the victims in several ways, right? Physically, emotionally. It cuts us deeply when someone seems to deliberately want to hurt us and then goes out of his or her way to do so. We wonder what’s wrong with us that someone else would want to do a mean or violent thing to us.

So that’s a tough situation to be in, and how do you teach a kid to turn the cheek in that situation? I know that Christ taught that, but I’m torn on this issue here.

Because I essentially said that doing the right thing has consequences, just like doing the wrong thing does. If defending yourself gets you suspended, so be it. By putting our kids in public school, we essentially are agreeing to the rules and protocols set out by the school. And there are rules and consequences of fighting.

I understand that. And I support my kids defending themselves and getting suspended because of that. If my kid stops a bully, stands up for himself, and gains a certain confidence from the experience, I don’t mind if he gets suspended at all. In fact, I’ll take that day off work, and go see movies with him all day.

I came her way plenty, agreeing that of course the kids ought to go through channels and stuff, but am I completely off base in trying to teach my kids to not let themselves get pushed around? I let myself get pushed around a lot as a kid, but when I finally learned to assert myself, my life changed significantly. I still have a long way to go, and I’d like my kids to have a leg up on this issue.

What’s the right thing to teach my kids about what to do when bullied? And by right, I’m talking about:

* Right based on true principles

* Right based on what’s best for my kid

* Right based on what needs to be done to stop the bullying

* Right for me as a parent

Weigh in. Pass this post along and let’s start a discussion. Just so you know, I’m perfectly happy to find the bully and put the fear of God in him. I don’t think that’s the best thing, but if it ever came to that, I’d do it.

For now, I am not sure where to go with this.

About jaredgarrett

Jared Garrett is the author of Beat, a YA scifi thriller, and its forthcoming sequel, both published by Future House Publishing. A new series, debuting in January 2016 and also published by Future House, kicks off with Lakhoni, a fast-paced rescue adventure in a world reminiscent of Aztec culture, to be released in January 2016. He self-published Beyond the Cabin, a novelization of his childhood in a cult, in December 2014. Both Beat and Beyond the Cabin were Whitney Award nominees, and his story Song of the Wind, received honorable mention in the Writers of the Future contest. In addition to writing, he's spent fifteen years in adult education and is an accomplished public speaker and workshop leader.
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