18
   

The bully-confronter

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 01:00 pm
This didn't really fit on any of my other kid threads, though it's related to some things I've talked about there.

We were just in Iowa for a bit and my kid (sozlet, age 9) and her two cousins (similar ages, one younger and one older) went to the local pool. There was a vending area that was in a little room off of the pool, lifeguards + other grown-ups couldn't really see in. This room held a vending machine, kids were lined up waiting to buy something.

A big kid (6th-7th grade maybe) was menacing a little kid (1st grade?) in the corner of the room, trying to make the little kid give up his money. The little kid, according to sozlet, was terrified. She watched this for a bit, couldn't stand it, and then walked up to the big kid, locked eyes, and said "hey, you should pull your pants up." (The big kid had droopy swim trunks and about 4 inches of boxer shorts showing over them -- Iowa style? I have no idea. Most of his posse was dressed similarly.)

The big kid swiveled to deal with her and the little kid sprinted off. Sozlet held his gaze (she swears she wasn't being too aggressive/ threatening), he kinda scowled and stomped off.

There were no further problems.

I didn't see any of this, just heard about it from all three of 'em (sozlet + cousins) later.

She does this all the damn time. She sees bullying, she steps in. So far her record has been good, and she hasn't gotten punched in the face yet. (Yet.) But I'm a bit conflicted about it. I admire that she has the guts and integrity, but a) I don't want her to unnecessarily put herself in harm's way, and b) not everything is her business.

So far I've just said that (the above) -- I haven't forbidden her to do anything, but I've told her it makes me nervous and why, and told her to really be careful and not just do this willy-nilly. Also to involve adults where possible rather than taking everything into her own hands.

What would you advise if this was your kid?

Thanks.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 18 • Views: 5,770 • Replies: 55

 
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 01:02 pm
@sozobe,
Haha, well, you know where I stand on this - go Sozlet!

Cycloptichorn
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 01:08 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Ha, yes I was thinking of you with the face-punching bit.

So you think she should just keep doing it 'til (if) she does get punched in the face? (And that she should then punch back?)
Cycloptichorn
 
  6  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 01:11 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

Ha, yes I was thinking of you with the face-punching bit.

So you think she should just keep doing it 'til (if) she does get punched in the face? (And that she should then punch back?)


I think you are correct in emphasizing to her that she has Judgment for a reason. Obviously the solution is not to stick your nose into every problem that comes along; one has to think about many factors including personal safety and whether or not direct confrontation will solve the problem. Sometimes it's better to tell a teacher, sometimes it's better to leave things alone and let them sort themselves out.

But the strength - the willingness - to take a risk in order to help someone else? That is a fine, fine feature in a Human being, and exceedingly rare. Too many will watch another get abused while saying and doing nothing. Believe me when I say that I understand where your worry comes from on this issue; but I say that this strength defines your Sozlet as something special, something above the norm. Kudos.

Cycloptichorn
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 01:22 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Quote:
Too many will watch another get abused while saying and doing nothing.


Ain't that the truth!

Sozobe, you should be exceedingly proud of your daughter, especially 'cause she's only nine.

Telling an adult can sometimes turn the bully on to the teller, you know, the ratting thing. I'm sure doing what she did made the bully do a bit of thinking. Sure there's a chance she's gonna get a punch sometime but I hope that'll make her resolve even stronger. If violence starts, that's the time to be telling.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 01:24 pm

Attempted robbery.

Some people who have interfered (including police) have gotten killed in doing so.

Still, there is a moral imperative; a non-coercive matter of decency.

Any citizen will do what he or she chooses in the circumstances. It pays to be prepared.

Whether she 'd be influenced by your advice or commands
in an actual emergency cannot be known unless it happens again.





David
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 01:40 pm
@sozobe,
Do the local police have a Police Athletic League that does boxing instruction? Might be worthwhile looking into.
0 Replies
 
Pangloss
 
  4  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 01:48 pm
Confronting bullies is a fine trait, and not really risky. Usually they will run off at the first sight of a potential victim who's willing to stand up to their intimidation.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 01:48 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
There was a vending area that was in a little room off of the pool, lifeguards + other grown-ups couldn't really see in. This room held a vending machine, kids were lined up waiting to buy something.


I think sozlet did the right thing, to a degree. She doesn't know the local players, doesn't know how far the bullies there are willing to go. Definitely a judgment issue.

I would tell her that this is the kind of thing I expect to be told about immediately - I'd want to speak to the management/owners of the facility about the potential dangers of that little area. I'd probably put it in writing to the facility and perhaps a local paper. Other parents might not be aware of the potential problem - not know their kids are being exposed to bullies in what should be a safe place for them.
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 01:57 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
What would you advise if this was your kid?

Judo lessons.
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 02:55 pm
@sozobe,
When I first read this - I thought Yeah! Sozlet! Way to go kid! Then I thought about the potential danger and understand your concern. Maybe ask her why she did this (we know why in a sense) and ask why she felt safe to do this? Maybe because her cousins where near her? Ask her what she would do if the bigger kid hit her? Something more to get her thinking about it.

I used to do this too all the time when I was kid. I did get punched in the face once too because of it. It didn't hurt too much, I just sort of rubbed my face, shocked that I had been punched - an older boy saw this and ran after the bully. It didn't stop me though.
aidan
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 03:10 pm
@Linkat,
I think the instinct to be helpful to someone in trouble is always wonderful. I've encouraged it in my children, in fact, I've pretty much taught them that it's reprehensible to look away.

But I've also taught my kids that they don't necessarily have to confront the bully. Sometimes, in fact, many times it's enough to just walk up to the potential victim in a situation and take his or her hand - providing a distraction without being too confrontational.

A similar situation unfolded in front of me about a month ago in the middle of the city street in Oxford. A friend and I were walking down the street and we happened upon this very effiminate looking young man of about twenty who was involved in some sort of altercation with an older, huskier and rougher looking guy. As we watched the bigger guy hit the younger guy in the face. The young guy grabbed his face and stood there crying. The older guy was yelling something at him - I don't know what. My friend kept walking, but I turned around and said to the young guy, 'Come here, come walk with us,' because the big guy was advancing toward him again.

I walked back over to the young guy and took him by the arm and said again, 'Just walk with us - he won't bother you then.'

He walked with us around the corner and then went on his way.
My friend was a little pissed off at me - he said, 'Yeah - you go to save the day, but if that guy'd wanted to fight someone, he'd have hit me, not you.'

I said, 'He didn't hit either one of us - and he stopped hitting the guy he was hitting.'

I would never advise my children to walk away without at least calling someone else for help - but again - sometimes just showing the bully that other people care for the person s/he's bullying is enough of a distraction.

Of course if someone has a knife or gun - I'd have to rethink the whole thing.
Pangloss
 
  3  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 03:22 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

I think sozlet did the right thing, to a degree. She doesn't know the local players, doesn't know how far the bullies there are willing to go. Definitely a judgment issue.


LOL @ "the local players"; yea, you most assuredly do NOT want to mess around with the wrong 7th grade Iowan.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 03:22 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
What would you advise if this was your kid?

Same as you did.

She eventually will get punched in the face. Then she will learn and find the right balance.
roger
 
  4  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 03:24 pm
@Thomas,
Which is why I suggested boxing lessons and DD went for judo. Just making sure the balance is inclined in her favor.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 03:28 pm
@sozobe,
PS: I think I remember several stories from when you were her age. You confronted numerous schoolyard bullies yourself. Isn't that right? Maybe it's just karma, then.
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 03:34 pm
@roger,
Yeah. She does have a mighty punch (right hook especially), that her dad has been working on with her since she was little. (He used to offer his palm as a target but now it hurts too much. We've talked about getting a punching bag.)

So far she hasn't used her boxing skillz on a human and I'd hope it wouldn't come to that...

Good points, Beth, and I will go ahead and emphasize the timely notice part. I didn't learn about it until we were home from the pool, and I would have preferred to have known right away. I didn't think of talking to the pool staff about it, that does make sense though.

We did talk about the local players aspect, she said she thought it through carefully and observed before doing anything and really thought it would be OK, I said yeah but it's something that's really hard to know.

Agreed with all that "judgment" is central here.

I do like the idea of addressing the victim rather than the bully, aidan. When I've been in these situations (helping a victim), I haven't wanted to turn my back on the bully -- just an instinct thing, not sure if it's warranted.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 03:35 pm
@Thomas,
Karma how? I shouldn't have done it then and now I have to worry about my kid? <nibbles fingernails>
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 03:37 pm
@Pangloss,
Your avatar goes beautifully with that sentiment. Smile
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 03:40 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
Karma how? I shouldn't have done it then and now I have to worry about my kid? <nibbles fingernails>

Right. You worried your mother, or your grandmother, or both when you did it. So now you don't have standing to complain. You had it coming.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

 
  1. Forums
  2. » The bully-confronter
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 08/24/2019 at 06:15:59