Many parents believe under the old misguided theory that if their child is being bullied, the child should be strong and stand up to the bully. This type of parental thinking is old school and does not work in today's bullying climate. Bullying is serious business which can lead to ill health effects, violence and even suicide.. The, "He took my apple from my lunch box." is no more. We are talking about violent attacks on the victim, mobbing, threats of violence, cyberbullying, social intrusion, hate crimes, stalking, harassment and the list goes on. These bullies of today are not the Eddie Haskell's of yesteryear.
According to an article by Deborah Carpenter and Christopher J. Ferguson PHd, this type of misguided parent wants his child to be able to stand up to the bully.
They state," The fundamental problem with this type of reasoning is that if kids who are being bullied could stand up to the bully or bullies, they would. But it is understandable that some adults believe this is a viable option for their children. After all, in countless movies (he Karate Kid, Back to the Future, Stand by Me) the bullied child triumphs over the bully in the end by standing up to or fighting him. The audience cheers and all is well in the world. In reality, that type of cinematic triumph of good over evil is rarely as dramatic and successful.'
Carpenter and Ferguson state that what usually happens in bullying scenarios is that the child does tell the parent he or she is being bullied, the parent tells the child to be tough, stand up for yourself, fight back. The child knows deep down she can't and starts to doubt her self worth and starts to believe her parents will not longer respect her. Most children yearn for respect from their parents and thus not being able to fight back, makes the child feel worse and isolated. The child now realizes the only people who are deemed to support her are no longer there. The child feels alone and helpless. Some children run out of options and may turn to self harm, self medication, isolation, depression and in some instances suicide.
Parents need to be proactive. Telling your child to fight back is not helping them. If going to the school district is not helping, seek legal counsel. The name of the game is to be involved in your child's life, protect your child, fight for his or her rights. Be strong and don't let the bullies take your child's precious life.