Throwback Thursday: How to Deal with Bullying

Going through our archives, we came across this great post by Dr. AnnMaria De Mars from May 9, 2015 “How to Deal with Bullying” that we wanted to share in case you missed it the first time around.

I’ve been asked a few times recently to give advice on bullying and I was at a loss. Truthfully, I experienced no bullying in school.

If another kid, or group of kids, tried to fight me, I would launch myself at the biggest or closest one in the group. I might get hit by a board (happened), have a brick thrown at me (happened) or have another kid kick me in the ribs (also happened), but at the end of it, someone in addition to me was going home with scars. Next time around, they picked someone else.

If the mean girls at school said things about me, I reached up and yanked the ribbons out of their hair and they didn’t say it in my hearing again.

For all of those saying, “Yeah, you go girl!” you are wrong.

I was suspended from school, expelled from school, in juvenile hall, in foster care. These are not experiences I would recommend.

If you’re saying,

“Kids should learn how to defend themselves”,

I would answer,

“Parents should teach their kids not to be a******* to other children.”

Let us agree that the world is not perfect, shall we?

While “punch them in the face” may be a satisfying solution, it should NOT be your first choice. One reason is that it doesn’t teach you how to deal with the world as an adult. You yank the ribbons out of the hair of that snooty co-worker in the next cubicle and your a** is getting fired, sued for $5,000 and maybe going to jail for assault.


The Perfect Jennifer had three pieces of related advice.

1. Tell the teacher. When she hears about bullying going on in her class, she puts a stop to it. If you think Ronda is mean, you have never seen Jenn when someone is picking on one of her students. Think about the most embarrassing thing you have done in your life that you hope no one knows about ever. Jenn will find it out and – seriously, you don’t want to cross her. Either the student can tell the teacher or the parent can call. Email first asking for an appointment.

2. If your teacher does nothing, go to the principal. This may embarrass the teacher into doing something. It also means the teacher cannot easily deny knowing about it.

3. Lawyer up. Tell the school you are going to sue them. If you can’t afford a lawyer, consult legal aid. The reason I suggest emailing and calling is that you have a record you contacted the school. If you talk to several staff members you have evidence of multiple contacts. Most teachers and administrators are not uncaring jerks. Even those that are don’t want to be on the end of a lawsuit where you have a good bit of evidence.

My advice is that somewhere before 3, call it 2a, you may want to bring in reinforcements. If your child is in special education, you have a right to bring someone else with you to meetings at the school. I’m not sure if regular education students necessarily have that right, but I have gone to schools where a child had an issue and the parent did not speak English and no one has ever told me I had to leave. However tempting it is, don’t bring the head of the local Hell’s Angels group. Bring someone like your minister, a friend who is a psychologist, retired principal or lawyer. Again, you have a witness and the school might be a little more proactive if someone was watching them.

My brilliant niece, Samantha, also had a brilliant idea.

It may be a while before you get action from the school and before it has any effect. What do you do in that case?

She pointed out that if your child is having an awful time at school, the worst situation is to come home and spend all evening thinking about how much school sucks and how you have to through it all again tomorrow. Sam suggests finding something your child likes – it could be art, playing an instrument, a form of real karate or soccer. Whatever it is should take up a lot of time.

This accomplishes two things. First, your child will be too busy doing whatever it is, and enjoying him/ herself to think about how school sucks. Second, even if school sucks, there is something to look forward to at the end of the day.

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