Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bullying and the Fathers' Perspective

Months before M started Primary school, I was worried if he could stand up for himself, particularly in bullying situations. 

I was told many little boys get picked on by older children and this is a common experience for children taking the school buses. 

It was tempting to walk him to school instead to avoid these potential nasties. But after some thoughts, we decided we really don't want to bubble-wrap him. 

If there are bullies or nasty situations, we shall teach him to handle them. After all, we want the kids to know how to handle unpleasant people and situations. The sooner one is exposed to them, the earlier one can learn to cope. 

Chances are, at this age, the unpleasantness will still be manageable and having teachable moments and hence, opportunities to learn through experience is essential. 

To begin with, we as parents have to agree on the acceptable behaviour and responses that we are expecting from our son in bullying situations. 

Let's just say mums and dads have very different views with regards to bullying situations. As a result, the expected responses can also be poles apart. 

My view (also shared by both grandmas):
Unless one is in grave situation, I discourage the kids to hit back no matter what. Use words, not fists. Report the matter, tell an adult and avoid the bully. And ALWAYS inform the mum when he gets home.

The fathers' views:
At first, both E and his dad disagreed with my view, which they think would be perceived as a sign of weakness and fuel further bullying. The boys should fight back, hit back, push back and shout back etc etc.... Basically, they think the right reaction should be - 'an eye for an eye' and nothing less. 

Needless to say, there were a lot of discussions between us so we don't end up confusing the boy instead. 

In the last few months, there were also quite a few teachable moments. Though they were all small incidents, especially on hindsight, there were plenty of lessons to be learnt. 

For the boy and us. 


Sunflower said...

Hey you know I have the man's view. I believe an eye to an eye!!

Domesticgoddess said...

Hi Sunflower, I am not surprised that some mums will have this view. It really depends on the lessons we want our kids to learn. I don't want my kids to be doormats, but at the same time, I want them to understand that violence doesn't solve problems. Also since my boy is small-sized, I also worry that teaching him to hit back may only invite more punches and cause more serious injuries. Especially if the bully is older and bigger.

Jayne said...

That's when Taekwondo comes in! haha!
I understand what you mean. I am torn sometimes too on how to teach the kids to defend themselves.

Domesticgoddess said...

That's right, Jayne. Which is why I sent them to Taekwondo this year. :>

suz said...

My hubby also said he should fight back! But i always tell him to walk away. But because Jr has always been one of the tallest boys in class, during the kindergarten years, I actually thought HE would be the bully, not bullied!

Domesticgoddess said...

suz, from the few times I have seen JK, he seems rather mild-mannered. So I can't imagine him being the bully. I have not met a father who thinks differently yet. Must be the testosterone.


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