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Will it be the first response they should do? No. I will tell them to try working it out with them first. I firmly believe this is what parents should instruct all children to do first, rather than running to involve an authority figure off the bat. Telling them to run and tell as the first option ends up raising a generation of people with little ability to resolve their own problems. They then grow up to be people who may be particularly despised. You know, the coworker who runs to the boss or customer demanding to speak to a manager before even attempting to take whatever issue up with you. They give the excuse that they are do not like conflict, but it would not be an issue if encouraged to effectively deal with disagreements at as young age.
If the diplomatic route is a no go, I will tell them to tell the teacher or whoever the adult is in charge. And maybe there is a chance this will actually resolve the issue. But as someone who knows what it is like to be bullied, I know it seldom does for several reasons. For one, it is usually just their word against the other kid’s. And if it is a popular kid, their friends will lie for them. With no clear way to determine who started what, many teachers will not be left with much of anything to act on. And even if they did, what can they really do? They cannot be there every time something happens and it certainly will not cause the bully to respect the other child. And when it comes to a true bully, this will only cause them to come down even harder once the teacher is not around. It is highly doubt that a teacher will follow the student home just to ensure they do not get chased home from school.
I will not tell the teacher to keep the other child away from my child. Once again, it teaches the child to avoid handling their own problems and always rely on their parents to gripe and complain until the teacher gives in just to get them out of their hair. Not to mention, it certainly is not fair to put the teacher in such a position. If they are already trying to manage and teach anywhere between 15-30 or more kids, do you really think they have time to individually keep track of how many feet two particular students are from each other? Not to mention, what would happen if every parent made such a request whenever they did not like some other child for whatever reason? I am just not fond of demanding exceptions for my child that would not extend to others as well.
So if your kid picks on my kid and will not respond to the other alternatives, I have my conscience is clear when telling my child to give them a hard one to the jaw. As much as we like to promote all the “talk it out” after-school special shtick, we know good and well it probably will not be work at the time it comes out of our mouths. Nonetheless, we say it anyway because it is the politically correct response to give them. However, many adults cannot be reasoned with to resolve conflicts civilly, yet we really talk as if children are supposed to be rational? Nine out of ten times someone is bullied for irrational reasons rather than because of an “if you’d just do this I’d leave you alone” scenario.
When it comes down to it, all some kids ever care to understand is whether or not someone can kick their butt. If you cannot accomplish that feat, they could care less about anything another child says to them. True bullies will almost always pick the easiest targets; a.k.a. those they have assessed to be the least capable of fighting back. So yes, I know schools have over-reaching zero tolerance policies. And I know it is not the politically correct advice to tell your child. But if your child refuses to accept anything other than a fist as the message to step off, my child will be encouraged to accommodate that learning plan. I am all for education after all.
By Corey Dorsey