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Study Shows Standing Up To Bullies Is Good For You

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the don't-start-anything-but-always-finish-it dept.

Education 458

It will come as no surprise to anyone who's ever talked to my grandpa, but a recent study has shown that standing up to a bully is good for you. Although being bullied can be stressful and lead to depression, children who returned hostility were found more likely to develop healthy social and emotional skills. From the article: "In a study of American children aged 11 and 12, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, compared those who stood up to aggressors with those who did not. Children who returned hostility with hostility appeared to be the most mature, the researchers found. Boys who stood up to bullies and schoolyard enemies were judged more socially competent by their teachers. Girls who did the same were more popular and more admired by teachers and peers, the researchers found."

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This is good for you (5, Insightful)

backbyter (896397) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324508)

until it isn't.

Re:This is good for you (2, Funny)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325302)

They have to sleep sometime.

Or could it be (5, Insightful)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324520)

That only those of good mental and emotional health have the strength to stand up to bullies?

Re:Or could it be (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324552)

Good point! I doubt my standing-up would have done anything but result in my self getting hurt.

Re:Or could it be (5, Insightful)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324778)

Maybe those willing to accept some personal injury as a consequence of keeping their pride and independance are viewed as being mature. Part of maturity is accepting that shit happens, but you have to soldier on anyhow. Immature adults, ie spineless dweebs, are always searching for someone else to accept the pain on their behalf.

This goes far beyond standing up to bullies. Accepting the pain of a workout in order to finish a marathon. Working long hours to get a promotion. Laboring in the hot sun to create a beautiful garden. Immature people want someone else to make the pain go away. Mature one will go through the pain to achieve a goal.

(Yes, idiots will go through the pain to say they went through the pain. But that is a different post 8*)

Re:Or could it be (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325062)

That's hardly fair. Often a child may not have the emotional support of his parents to feel confident enough to stand up to bullies. Emotions play a large role in this, and you aren't born with a healthy diet of emotional balance.

Re:Or could it be (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325154)

Accepting the pain of a workout in order to finish a marathon.

Suffering and possibly permanently damaging your knees and getting nothing in return. Is that maturity?

Working long hours to get a promotion.

And then realizing, your free time was more valuable in the first place.

Laboring in the hot sun to create a beautiful garden.

Well at least that one is a worthy goal.

Re:Or could it be (3, Funny)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325442)

run a marathon . . . get[] nothing in return

In typical Slashdot fashion, anti-exercise trolls come out of the woodworks!

Re:Or could it be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32325546)

Well at least that one is a worthy goal.

You are not competent to determine that.

Re:Or could it be (1)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324788)

this is not to say anything about you in particular, you probably did have the emotional maturity to not stand up but know that they (the bullies) are the ones with real problems.

but this is about being good for you emotionally, psychologically, and socially. your physical body will heal pretty quickly. it generally takes much longer for emotional and psychological damage to heal.

even if a few broken bones take a few months to heal, some people suffer with (or from) their childhood memories for their entire lives, so which is worse? all depends on the situation i guess

Re:Or could it be (2, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324958)

I'm thinking a bully beating you so hard that he breaks your bones is probably going to be quite emotionally scarring.

Re:Or could it be (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325042)

I agree. All you have to do is look upon the bullies with utter contempt. Once you look upon someone with contempt, there is little they can say which will hurt you. Physical pain, however, does still hurt.

Re:Or could it be (4, Insightful)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325076)

I'm thinking a bully beating you so hard that he breaks your bones is probably going to be quite emotionally scarring.

Whoever said that you had to fight fair? I was made to carry enough crap in my backpack in school that it was a pretty effective ball and chain. I didn't go around picking fights, but I sure wasn't going to get beat up. It wasn't long before the bullies went elsewhere.

Re:Or could it be (3, Funny)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325362)

Metal lunch box FTW!

Re:Or could it be (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32325514)

Whoever said that you had to fight fair? I was made to carry enough crap in my backpack in school that it was a pretty effective ball and chain. I didn't go around picking fights, but I sure wasn't going to get beat up. It wasn't long before the bullies went elsewhere.

Sounds exactly like me. Back in school I got in a few fights over the years. You wanted to get in a fight with me? Fine. You were going to be hit in the head with something extremely hard and/or heavy right off the bat. A backpack full of books or a metal lunchbox, as the other guy who replied mentioned, is a wonderful opener. I would also use a handful of dirt to the eyes if the situation allowed.

I never seriously hurt anyone and never got seriously hurt. Overall I usually gave as good as I got even if I was the skinnier kid.

I've not had to fight in forever but if I ever have to again, well I have a really good idea what my opening moves are likely to be.

Re:Or could it be (2, Insightful)

spleen_blender (949762) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324618)

Guts: you got them or you don't. It can never be shown you don't have them, but only you can prove you do.

Re:Or could it be (2, Interesting)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324652)

Standing up to a bully and getting hurt is better than just rolling over. Even if you lose, you still stood up to him. And that's worth something.

Re:Or could it be (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325084)

Sticks and Stones may break my bones.

But whips and chains excite me?

Re:Or could it be (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325284)

Sticks and Stones may break my bones.

But whips and chains excite me!

FIFY

Re:Or could it be (2, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324660)

That only those of good mental and emotional health have the strength to stand up to bullies?

"I don't know, good question. Let's go to our man on the street, Jon Katz and see what he has to say.

Jon?"

Hi Em. I write about dogs now, you bullies at slashdot made me spend years in therapy with your mean-spirited jokes and constant bashing of me and my columns. You know the nicest thing about writing about dogs? They don't talk ba"

"Jon, STFU, that'll be enough out of you."

No (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32324724)

Some children that have no deficit of mental or emotional strength are taught by their parents that retaliation is wrong, that the meek are blessed, and that they should "turn the other cheek" as Jesus taught. This is reinforced by teachers who punish both students involved in a fight if either one defends himself against the other.

It is a testament to the children's stoicism that they can accomplish this. Unfortunately for them, it looks like doing so may negatively impact their mental and emotional development (yeah correlation is not causation and all that...that's why I said "MAY").

This happened to me. My parents were evangelical nuts. They set me up to go be a victim in public schools, which I was. I have no idea what psychological ramifications that may have for me today...but I DO know that when I started training in martial arts in high school, the bullying stopped, and I never had to hit anyone (which actually kind of disappointed me, because I had a lot of anger I wanted to unleash on the next unsuspecting bully).

Re:No (3, Funny)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324992)

I was always mainly invulnerable... for practical purposes. Had people 3 times my size wail on me in school... these days i still get hit by cars going a decent 20-30mph and shrug it off (look I'm impatient sometimes ok?). People just have trouble hurting me. A few hard swings with a baseball bat to the temple, or something pointy, yeah; but I can block a metal pipe with my freaking forearm, and take it to the chest or abs without much more than just minimal pain (mainly annoyance).

It's strange but I rarely stand up for myself. I just decide that these people are idiots, and ignore them. If they attack me, I'll push them away... with my fists. They can't really hurt me at all. The only time I'll actually step in is when I have to defend someone else-- because let's face it, I'm way more durable than you are, I can't just stand by and let you get beaten until you're broken and bleeding. And you know what? When you can stand through the few hits someone twice your size can get off on you before you empty on them, you find out that one good fist to the face or dead center in the chest can put someone down pretty quick; it's not a matter of actually injuring them, it's more a matter of them being too scared to continue to fight once they realize you've got MUCH less work to do than they do.

Martial arts are important... I need to be able to react to knives or attacks that can actually hurt me (there's plenty of good ways to do this) so I can avoid taking anything lethal or crippling. But by and large, I just don't care. It's not that I'm "good" or "righteous" or whatever and I know violence is bad; I just don't give a shit, because none of you can hurt me, and only idiots ever see the need to try.

Re:No (3, Funny)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325082)

Slashdotter brags about his physical strength, demonstrating his emotional immaturity. News at 11!

Re:No (1)

boneclinkz (1284458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325188)

I was always mainly invulnerable... for practical purposes. Had people 3 times my size wail on me in school... these days i still get hit by cars going a decent 20-30mph and shrug it off (look I'm impatient sometimes ok?). People just have trouble hurting me. A few hard swings with a baseball bat to the temple, or something pointy, yeah; but I can block a metal pipe with my freaking forearm, and take it to the chest or abs without much more than just minimal pain (mainly annoyance).

Did you really just write this?

My god, who knew slashdot was filled with such hard-bitten, tough-as-nails, street-brawlin double-flushers?

Re:No (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325298)

I never knew Clark Kent posted to Slashdot.

Re:No (5, Interesting)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325044)

I had this problem. I was on the wrestling team at a heavier but very fit weight, being a state wrestler. I was also a nerd who greatly enjoyed his computers and D&D. Being a nerd, it was of course appropriate to gleek (spit) me, push, tease mercilessly, and otherwise inflict cruelty.

One day in the 8th grade, a thug hit me on the back of the head. I turned around, headlocked him to the ground, and punched him until he was unconscious. He was an untrained baboon who didn't stand a chance. A teacher came over and broke up the fight.

Like something out of a lame Hughes movie, I was applauded when I entered the cafeteria that day. I was exceedingly popular for the next two weeks - everyone likes seeing a thug get what they deserve. I never had to fight again either, as everyone who laid a finger on me knew what would happen.

Unfortunately, I received the same punishment as the thug who hit me. This is not right. There is distinct disconnect in administration perception and the reality of the situation of what happens to the various social pariahs. The social pariahs are punished for fighting back and therefore the bullies are encouraged. Let me say this more clearly. Zero tolerance policies lead to bullying.

It is my belief that the support of bullying leads directly to situations such as those boys in Columbine. If you cannot fight back, then you must either totally submit to all indignities or rebel against hopeless odds.

There should be a physical violence outlet for the social pariahs against bullies. Bullies need to be confronted, physically, by the social pariahs. It is in the natural order of things that a whipped dog bites back eventually. It is natural and beneficial for the social pariah (and probably for the bully as well) that bullies be beaten in fights.

Re:No (0, Troll)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325130)

Try not to overgeneralize. You're taking a screwed up, social Darwinistic approach based on your personal experience.

Re:No (5, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325592)

You are correct on most parts. The place that you are confused is that you got punished for fighting. Kids don't get punishied for fighting in school. They only get punished for making the faculty deal with fighting. Since you defended yourself, you were just as much to blame for making the faculty deal with the issue as the guy that attacked you.

Understand. Schools do NOT have a zero tolerance policy against violence. They have a zero tolerance policy against making them deal with the violence in their schools.

Re:No (0, Troll)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325596)

First of all, note I am a liberal. Second of all, you were the victim of a liberal falacy - that "fighting never solved anything". In the 60s this falacy was popular. In modern times it has become much less popular, because as you discovered, fighting DOES solve things. Please note that the most common problem that can be easily solved by violence is overpopulation. The solution is not the 'nicest' one, but violence (war in particular) is EXTREMELY effective in solving overpopulation.

For example if you have too twice as many people as you can feed (fammine), why if you go to war with your neighbor and both of you kill 1/2 your population, you no longer have the famine. Also note that even if you 'lose' the war, you still solve the problem of overpopulation (famine).

Re:Or could it be (2, Interesting)

Extremus (1043274) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324936)

Well, that is something you can develop. I suffered with bullies during childhood. My parents were aware of that and sent me to a psychotherapist, while giving me plenty support (without actually trying to solve the thing for me). This simple act did no end of good; one less excessively introspective guy in he world.

Re:Or could it be (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325206)

Speaking solely from my own experience, nothing improved social standing, and thus the treatment I got from teachers and peers, like demonstrating a willingness to respond to bullying by throwing a few punches. For instance, in 3rd grade my teacher actually was requiring me to read self-help books on how to deal with social pressures. It didn't help, of course, just was one more indignity. Whereas in 4th grade I started using violence to combat violence, and while I was given detention several times my teachers stopped thinking there was something wrong with me, my peers began respecting me, and the bullying stopped in relatively short order.

And this was in a situation where I was usually outnumbered and out-sized. And since the same people were generally involved, it's safe to say that there was at least a bit of a causal relationship there. Did I get beaten up a few times? Yes. But by being willing to fight, it saved me a lot of grief.

Re:Or could it be (1)

anglophobe_0 (1383785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325278)

Epic job by the OA of putting the cart before the horse.

Re:Or could it be (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32325554)

My old man took me to a boxing club when I was eight - lost the fear of being hit and could give it back. Not all parents can prepare a child and not all will have it in them to fight back. It was cool to see the bully perplexed because you did not cry or then wanted to lay one on them. Bullies in any walk of life are really cowards in many ways.

Good for you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32324526)

...for those whose definition of "good for you" is that it causes you to be more popular.

By that definition, the world's best hamburger is made at McDonald's.

Re:Good for you... (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324584)

Humans always admire those who stand up to injustice, especially if they succeed. Look at the founding fathers of the US, Civil War "heroes", etc. It makes no difference if you are 8 fighting the school bully or if you are 28 fighting against tyranny, or if you are 78 and fighting injustice in the legal system.

Re:Good for you... (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324814)

No they don't. There is a significant number of people, probably even a majority, who think that people who stand up to injustice just don't know their place. That they are "uppity." Maybe they just don't consider the injustice serious enough to warrant a conflict or they think social order is more important than righting a wrong or, and I see this one a lot, they think the person who is speaking truth to power is going to get squashed in response and that they are fools for even trying. I think the last is a projection of their own cowardice - at the very least they could be cheering the guy on, but instead they feel like they have to denigrate him as a way to justify their own inaction.

Re:Good for you... (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325544)

I think you're both wrong. It's a might makes right world. Whoever wins the fight often are right in many people's eyes.

There are exceptions but between 2 guys, that's how it is with many people.

Re:Good for you... (1)

wondafucka (621502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325360)

Humans always admire those who stand up to injustice, especially if they succeed. Look at the founding fathers of the US, Civil War "heroes", etc. It makes no difference if you are 8 fighting the school bully or if you are 28 fighting against tyranny, or if you are 78 and fighting injustice in the legal system.

Humans *always* admire those who stand up to injustice? Except those who are inflicting the injustice. Americans despise Terrorists, but who are they, except those that practice asymmetrical resistance to their own perceived injustice? What are "activist judges"? Aren't they despised by half the country that wants to continue to persecute homosexuals? Same on the other side of the fence. Most on the left hate Sara Palin, even though those on the right consider her to be fighting against the injustice of big government and social programs.

Schools (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324530)

The problem is schools try their hardest to reduce attacks against bullies. For some reason the natural process of growing up has been demonized. Guess what? Kids fight. Guess what? They go home with a bloody nose and are made all the stronger because of it. These studies only confirm what everyone already knows that the natural process of growing up is just that: natural and beneficial.

Re:Schools (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325180)

If you hit the bully first, then YOU are the bully in the school's eyes. They have no choice but to take this stance. So you have to provoke them to hit you first, and make sure everyone sees it, then make sure everyone sees you defend yourself back hard. No one will mess with you after that, but it's really hard to get setup and you'll still probably get expelled for fighting.

The best option is to rearrange your schedule, get busy with anything else, and know that high school is not a life sentence (except for the bullies, who generally end up repeating it or dropping out anyhow).

Re:Schools (2, Interesting)

yog (19073) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325336)

After thousands of years of basically putting up with bullying as a natural phenomenon of growing up, the American education establishment has discovered that bullying is bad for kids and is actively pushing to prevent it. Google "anti-bullying" and you get dozens of links to anti-bullying programs, slogans, academics doing studies on bullying (one guy from Yale announced that victims of bullying are at higher risk of thinking about or attempting suicide).

Parents who grew up in the 1960s or 1970s are now pretty much in control in most school districts, and now they are bringing their politically correct methods to deal with bullying.

I was victimized a lot as a kid, though I don't remember ever contemplating suicide; I did a lot of fantasizing about skewering my tormentors in various nasty ways, however. Then I went and took karate when I was about 13, at an old fashioned school where the Japanese sensei would wander around the class with a long stick and whack us when we didn't do things right. And lo and behold, the bullying stopped. All it took was for me to suddenly become more self-confident and unafraid of the bullies, and they sensed it as a dog senses you are not afraid, and they went off in search of easier prey.

Would I have been better off if the teachers had intervened, instead of me going off and handling it myself? Of course not! What utter nonsense. I learned how to deal with life, and that lesson has stayed with me ever since.

I think schools should maintain vigilance for kids at risk of suicide, of course, and probably more studies need to be done to find the causes of suicide. It's easy to claim that bullying causes suicides just because there's a statistical correlation, but proving causation is quite another thing. A child who has suicidal tendencies from day one may need something more than just protection from suicide, and in fact maybe learning to deal with bullies would be quite therapeutic. For example, send them to martial arts training. I think all girls should take martial arts anyway, learn to protect themselves on the cruel streets of American cities. Martial arts is great for kids anyway; it teaches self-discipline, confidence, sportsmanship, honor, all that good stuff that they don't seem to really teach in the schools or in the home either.

Re:Schools (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32325602)

This the the problem I had. My family moved a lot so I had plenty of opportunities to show up in a new place, become the new kid, and get bullied. If I was bullied by a group, I couldn't fight without getting beaten. If I was bullied by an individual, they played the system and I got punished equally if I fought (assuming I was successful, they sometimes got away with it if they won).

The clearest (most recent) example in my mind was 7th grade. I got pushed over the edge one day and started fighting with 3 guys, and one was twice my size. It ended with me on the ground bleeding getting kicked in the ribs by that guy (the other two were sane enough to leave by that point). An adult saw then end of it (but couldn't get there). End result was a day of detention for me (for fighting) and two days suspension for the three other guys. Yes, two days of no school with parents who apparently don't care.

Yeah. Way to go school system. I nearly get some broken ribs and I get a nice insult for my injury while the bullies get a (in their situation) lighter punishment. School sucks. Can't even blame a specific school system because I went to both public and private schools. None of them were any good regardless of the approach I took.

I stood up repeatedly but I'm a social mess today. Eventually I learned how useless it is. Maybe that's it. Maybe some other factors. For most of middle school and all of high school (till I learned martial arts) I did my best to pretend bullies weren't there but the fact is there are some things that can't be ignored and they also flavor social perceptions to make life miserable.

I do find it funny now that I think of it. On TV high schools are stereotyped with physical bullying but I don't know of any of that happening at my high school. It was all elementary and middle school. All the high school fights were two hotheads. Time to shut myself up. I could babble for far too long like this.

It's called Confidence (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32324532)

When you've got it, everyone knows it; you're better at everything because you believe in yourself.

When you don't, you're living in your own shadow.

Re:It's called Confidence (1)

Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324644)

Yep you nailed it.

It's got nothing to do with "being bullied" but everything to do with the individual asserting themselves and having confidence.

The only change is that your peers can see it when you are bullied. For most well adjusted children, they don't need to "show" it until they are pushed (fight or flight response).

Study falls into the old "correlation does not equal causation" trap.

Re:It's called Confidence (2, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325168)

In many areas, I have low confidence in myself, and I do all the better for it. I was unsure of how I would do when I studied computer science at the university level, and as a result I got mostly A+ grades my first year. As I grew more confident, my grades actually decreased. It also works the other way. How many incompetent boobs have you seen who are overconfident in their abilities? I would say their confidence does not depend on their skills, and thus they lack any motivation to try harder. Why would they? They're perfect already!

When it comes to asking girls on dates, overconfidence really does result in better performance. Women flock to overconfident jerks.

smack 'em around (3, Informative)

lobf (1790198) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324542)

I was bullied for a long time. I was raised Catholic and I thought that fighting back would be immoral. Then one day my dad told me "You know, son, sometimes you just have to smack 'em." It was like I had been wearing a blindfold. I went to school the next day, waited for that prick to mess with me, and I knocked the crap out of him. He was on the ground for a few minutes. No teachers saw it, and it was a shot to the solar plexus, so it left no marks. I haven't been bullied since. It taught me to not let people push me around, and that's a valuable lesson to learn.

Re:smack 'em around (1)

newdsfornerds (899401) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324774)

My dad was a pinko pacifist and always told me fighting was wrong. He said I should ignore the bullying.
After years of me being tormented and beat up, he finally woke up and sent me to self defense training. By then it was mostly too late. By the time you get to high school, kids caught fighting were actually punished rather than merely separated and given a good "talking to." By the time I was done with high school I'd squared off with 90% of my tormentors and beaten most of them, despite the punishments the school meted out.
Standing up to a boss who is a bully (and most are) will get you fired. As an adult in most states, getting physical (even after you have been physically attacked) with a bully is going to win you a criminal record and make you unemployable.
So yeah, teach your kids from the earliest age possible to fight back with everything they've got. Tell them not to worry about hurting the bully. The bully deserves whatever they get.

Re:smack 'em around (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325124)

So yeah, teach your kids from the earliest age possible to fight back with everything they've got. Tell them not to worry about hurting the bully. The bully deserves whatever they get.

Balance, grasshopper. Sometimes people tell that to their kids, and their kids become the biggest bullis ever because they interpret every little thing as worthy of righteous savage retribution.

You have to teach them to never start a fight, but if someone else decides that there is a fight, if someone else has taken the decision that someone would be hurt, then you make sure that person is the one to get hurt, and it has to be the kind of pain and humiliation that will make them fear you forever. If they don't respect you, make them fear you.

Re:smack 'em around (1)

newdsfornerds (899401) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325254)

I said, "fight back" not "kill everyone that doesn't like you."
You misread me. "Fight back" is understood by most readers to mean, "if you are attacked, defend yourself vigorously."

Re:smack 'em around (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325512)

I said, "fight back" not "kill everyone that doesn't like you."
You misread me. "Fight back" is understood by most readers to mean, "if you are attacked, defend yourself vigorously."

I did not misread you, and you didn't say "fight back" you said "kids from the earliest age possible to fight back", and (I will put the important bit in bold) very young kids will not understand this, not the way you expect most readers to understand it.

Was I clear enough the second time?

I'll try a third, just in case: Very young children can interpret the slightest disagreement as a fight, and they will fight back disproportionately if you taught them to immediately take their aggression from 0 to 100.

Understood?

In conclusion, the point I tried to convey to you was that the ability of very young children to accurately judge social situations is underdeveloped, and it is prudent to refrain from deliberately teaching them to act in a way that would exacerbate simple misunderstandings. It is ok to teach children to fight back, but it is not ok to give them that directive as their primary conflict-resolution strategy. It should be held for a "plan B" contingency, following non-violent attempts.
I hope I was less cryptic this time around.

Re:smack 'em around (1)

Thuktun (221615) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325502)

... then you make sure that person is the one to get hurt, and it has to be the kind of pain and humiliation that will make them fear you forever. If they don't respect you, make them fear you.

In my experience, this doesn't take much for most bullies. They're used to getting their own way due to fear and often don't know what to do when someone pushes back.

Once a bully pushed me a little too far in a graphics arts class in middle school and got a left hook to the jaw for his trouble. I found out shortly after, after I'd stopped shaking, that it had been my fist, apparently acting on its own sense of justice. Admiring classmates that were suddenly emboldened by a bully being put in his place told me all about it when I wanted to sit and figure out what happened. I'm sure the teacher saw it, but he didn't do anything about either the bullying or the unexpected reprisal. The bully ended up crying with a bleeding lip, which I expect was doubly damaging to his macho self-image.

The only thing I heard from him after that was him shouting insults at me from two baseball fields away. I spontaneously laughed at him loudly because it was so ludicrous, but I guess now that was the right response anyway.

My plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32324574)

Make some redneck kill bully's parents, chop them in a chili and make him eat it... Sound good?

A correlation is not cause-effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32324582)

Lots of statistics have correlation between them, but the extrapolated cause-effect situation may or may not be there. I suspect this is another such case.

Stand up, or get beaten down (5, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324592)

If you don't stand up to a bully, you'll only look like an attractive target to other bullies, and other non-bullies who might feel inclined to bully you because they know you won't respond.

There's not just physical bullying either. Look at just about any teenage girl today. They're the most vile, fire-breathing, hostile creatures that walk the face of the Earth today, and they won't think twice about emotionally bullying a peer to the point of suicide.

Failing to stand up just means you get bullied more, with sometimes fatal results.

Irony.. (1)

jugs (1300439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324598)

But then there would be no slashdot commenters..

Survival of the fittest (2, Funny)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324608)

How about killing the bullies? Before they have a chance to reproduce, of course. Clean up the gene pool! No bullies allowed!

Re:Survival of the fittest (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324672)

Because we know everything is genetic?

What I find to be quite humorous is that the scientific processes used to dismiss things like the "divine right of kings" and the like is now using genetics to form basic predestination which basic observation using the scientific method disproved.

Re:Survival of the fittest (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325226)

Exactly, I don't think bullies are like that genetically, Because a lot of the bullies are the same kids who got bullied earlier... Environment really does count more then genetics. Using genetics as an excuse is really just a lame excuse to be lazy, and not fix yourself. Genetics at best will give you an instinct to do something or not. However we fight our instincts all the time, as we know it is better to do something else.

I think the real problem is there is so much mind washing in school, that makes sure that if you are defending yourself you get in just as much trouble if not more then the bully, as bullies rarely hit hard first.

Re:Survival of the fittest (1)

FauxPasIII (75900) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325376)

DNA isn't the only way that traits are passed from parent to offspring. Socialized traits are also heritable.

Re:Survival of the fittest (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324682)

This might actually be a good idea, but you have to make a difference between those who are evil, and those who are just weak and downtrodden. Blood has a *lot* of shades.

Re:Survival of the fittest (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325024)

How about killing the bullies? Before they have a chance to reproduce, of course. Clean up the gene pool! No bullies allowed!

Ah-hem! [tvtropes.org]

you guys are a bunch of dorks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32324630)

good luck trying to stand up to me, nitwits.

Re:you guys are a bunch of dorks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32325412)

Perhaps not. But sometimes dorks have good friends. :)

One of my buddies used to get picked on all the time. Guy was a total wimp and a social misfit who would never stand up to anybody. A stereotypical nerd playing *rolleyes* Warhammer in the evenings. Well in my town bullying wasn't looked upon favourably by anyone. Even guys on the rugby team didn't go around picking on others - they were nice guys. It was a nice town. I suppose it pissed me off more than it would had I grown up in some shithole suburban neighbourhood.

One day I happened to walk by while some douchebag was picking on him. Guy was just beating on him, but he wasn't fighting back at all. Coincidentally I happened to be working nearby cutting hedges, and I was carrying a huge inch-thick tree branch to a nearby bin. I walked over without saying a word and swung it into his face with all the strength an enraged fourteen-year-old can muster. He fell over, shocked for a minute, and started crying and bleeding from the side of his head. He ran off, and I ran off too because the adrenaline had made me really jumpy. ;)

He was in my class in school. After this he refused to come to class - he moved to another school entirely a few days later.

Long story short, if you're a dork learn to make friends. You need them! Some of us will stand up for you. Some of us are human beings worth a damn.

Was it good for you? (4, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324650)

Sure, until the bully shivs you in the neck. You're dying words with be "...it was good for me...".

I prefer to take the same route and as beta male dogs; I pee on myself to show submission.

Re:Was it good for you? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32324750)

That's the problem: asking kids to differentiate between "alpha male" bullying and "budding psychopath" bullying. Standing up to one gets them to back down, standing up to the other leads to escalation.

I stood up to my bully once. Slugged him in the nose in front of everyone after he yanked me around by my backpack while I was wearing it and dumped all the books out. Felt great for a day, then the next day his friends held me down while he proceeded to put me in the hospital.

Re:Was it good for you? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325102)

You respond to that by getting out of the hospital and systematically destroying each and every one of them. They don't get to hold you down. When they get close, when they touch you, you snap. First person to lay a hand on me can have me; he only gets one, and the other is immediately out of his grasp and I'm free to turn and nail him hard in the face, or kick him in the balls. The next one's coming sure; but he doesn't have back-up anymore.

Re:Was it good for you? (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324792)

Hah. Most "kids" wouldn't murder someone; if they would, they're usually a lot more than simple bullies.

Child soldiers? (2, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324874)

On the contrary, most children would murder someone if they had the chance.

Why do you think child soldiers are so popular? Because you want a soldier who can barely lift a rifle? or because you want someone who murders without compassion or feeling?

Children are NOT nice.

Re:Child soldiers? (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324902)

Yes, but that's becuase the "society" they belong to sanction it, and actively push kids towards murder. If it was that easy, we'd be up to our knees in gore.

Re:Child soldiers? (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325010)

They do it because the adults tell them to; rewarding them for doing and punishing them for refusing. Children are not inherently murderously violent, but are inherently obedient to people bigger than them.

Correlation and causuation (1, Insightful)

danieltdp (1287734) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324670)

Once again we mix correlation with causuation. It's not like if a timid person will stand up a bully and become socially sucessfull. Non timid and socially healthy people usually stands up. The arrows that represents cause is pointing to the wrong direction

"Don't fight back - they'll get bored" (4, Informative)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324674)

Well the subject makes it clear what I was told....

However it was until I decided to smash one guys head with a huge book, and kick another where it hurt while wearing steel toe caps that I got the reputation for being a "bit crazy and mad" that they stopped.

Yes, hit them back. It works and they don't expect it. Just make sure your ready and know how to defend yourself else you'll end up getting hurt even more.

Re:"Don't fight back - they'll get bored" (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324748)

This is true; that advice is just people who don't understand violence and hatred trying to preserve the status quo. In fact, as an adult I got the direct advice from one of my former "friends" (a black-souled bastard, but not utterly evil) that "violence is the only language kids like me understand".

Re:"Don't fight back - they'll get bored" (2, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325122)

Hitting back only works if it's your first response. If you've already led on a ton of times, then hitting back seems like an escalation. It has to come out of nowhere in order to work. Also, don't hit back without really meaning it, you have to have the 'will of the warrior' and hit like your life depends on it. Unfortunately, you will probably get expelled if you do this now, because any bully willing to push someone that far is likely going to make an even bigger joke out of getting you expelled for fighting back.

So if you are willing to accept the consequences for YOU hitting THEM, and you are willing to go 110% of the distance in the fight, by all means go for it. Otherwise, just change classes or whatever and understand that high school will be over soon and you'll never see them again... until they are pumping your gas one day.

I'm thinking (2, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324692)

Study fails the acid test. What's an Adult bully? A mugger/robber/assailant. Is standing up to robbers/assailants/masked figures making demands or taunting @, good for you? The answer should be sometimes. Sometimes it is essential, sometimes it is suicidal. Sometimes it is just smart, that would be when the bully is bluffing, and you are the one with the gun.

Back to children... Its good for you, only if the bully's response to you standing up is something other than engaging you in a fight you can't win, knocking you down on your feet, beating you to a pulp, until ribs are broken, give you black eyes, knock out all your teeth, and stomp groin until it is guaranteed child will not have children later in life.

Maybe study should show standing up to bullies can sometimes be good for them, as long as child knows when to surrender, or makes sure they are actually physically capable of mounting a reasonable defense / in the superior position to physically resist bully / make it not fun for bully to mess with them.

Re:I'm thinking (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324776)

i thought adult bullies were called cops...

Re:I'm thinking (2, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325142)

This is the error so many doormats make.

The point isn't to win.
The point is to make sure that every time someone messes with you they go away from it with a black eye, a broken nose or some other painful or slow to heal injury.

It doesn't matter if you "lose" any particular encounter.
If you make sure you hurt them back every single time the bullying stops in no time at all.

As a child standing up to bullies is always the right thing to do.

It doesn't matter if you get hurt, it doesn't matter if you lose.

Only problem with that (3, Informative)

V50 (248015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324700)

The problem with that, as I'm sure many others here can attest to, is were one to stand up to bullies, many schools somehow managed to punish the bullied student worse than the bully, who often gets off scot free, no matter what.

I hope things are somewhat better now, with all the anti-bullying programs and stuff, than when I went to school in the '90s and early 2000s.

It is somewhat of a consolation in a perverse way to find out what most former bullies do now that we're all adults. A great many can hardly hold down a minimum wage job, and blow all their money on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. In theory, I wish them the best. But, yeah...

Re:Only problem with that (2, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325046)

The problem with that, as I'm sure many others here can attest to, is were one to stand up to bullies, many schools somehow managed to punish the bullied student worse than the bully, who often gets off scot free, no matter what.

Well, then you have to break the principal's legs.

Re:Only problem with that (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325394)

This is true and it goes a bit further. Teachers who stood up to their bullies, often see bullied students as "problem students", sometimes going as far as punishing the student for being a disruption. After a while, the problem student, despite being a good kid, will begin to feel that he or she not only deserves to be bullied, but accepts that it is somehow the "right" thing. In the end, if they fight back, the teacher finally has their chance to axe the disruption and the pecking order will get to return to its natural state.

I've always wondered if these teachers secretly hope the quiet kid turns out to be a serial killer, just to quell their conscience at night.

Re:Only problem with that (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325498)

It is somewhat of a consolation in a perverse way to find out what most former bullies do now that we're all adults. You mean they're not all working as cops and teachers?

Wow. Who knew? (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324710)

That...

Boys who stood up to bullies and schoolyard enemies were judged more socially competent by their teachers. Girls who did the same were more popular and more admired by teachers and peers, the researchers found

And no, I did not RTFA. I got as far as the picture of some movie characters and decided that TFA was crap. Turns out, I could have made that call if the summary had told me who published TFA.
Oh well. There's 30 seconds of my life that I'll never get back.

Re:Wow. Who knew? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32325242)

Reading your comment... there's 30 seconds of my life I won't get back.

Social status (3, Funny)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324782)

Chicks dig scars. Probably triggers a paleolithic reaction that infers you'll protect the young-uhns from predators..

So is classmates.com (1)

joelsanda (619660) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324832)

Looking up former high school bullies on www.classmates.com can also be a cathartic experience. It's amazing how those kids turned out as adults. The correlation, at least in my experience, is too good to be coincidental (or perhaps it's a self fulfilling prophecy). In either case it's rather karmic to see the behavioral traits that led to bullying in junior and senior high school also led to dead end jobs, too many children to support on their unskilled salary, and multiple marriages.

I suppose the flip side of this, though, is that they seem to raise more kids that may likely turn out to be bullies; assuming that's a cycle that repeats itself.

Re:So is classmates.com (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325038)

Most of the bullies I knew from middle to highschool, are all on probation for something. Have been arrested several dozen times, and live in the shitholes of the city. And nothing of value was lost.

Re:So is classmates.com (1)

joelsanda (619660) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325144)

Yeah, I've seen that, too. I guess, in retrospect, the only thing that's sad about their lives is they have made more of themselves with children. I can only imagine their kids are growing up in lives where bullying is encourage/rewarded enough to persist that rotten cycle that led to them being who they were.

jesus sucks (2)

parasite (14751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324842)

Pity those of us born in Christian households were taught the most moronic and opposite strategy for dealing ever, Jesus's moronic BS, and suffer to this day

Confidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32324864)

Duh, it's called confidence, and confidence comes from knowledge, and knowledge comes from trying it in the first place (and succeeding). And confidence is probably the number one most admired trait in boys, and still up there with girls, though probably not number one.

We've become a nation raised solely by women - due to divorce, absent fathers (due to the divorce, working all the time, etc.). Schools and society have a decidedly pacifist stance. We no longer have good male role models.

Instilling confidence in your children is crucial. If you have children, you must allow them to wrestle around, "rough house," learn to fight and defend themselves.

Correlation != Causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32324900)

How many times must it be said? Correlation != Causation

Perhaps its because the healthier people who BY NATURE stand up to bullies, not that standing up to bullies makes you healthier.

Re:Correlation != Causation (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325186)

I was thinking the same thing. I would say that the common cause is self-respect. It's what makes your peers and teachers admire you, and it's also what makes you stand up for yourself when bullied. It's much more plausible than the hypothesis that standing up to bullies is what wins you admiration.

Risky conclusion (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324910)

While I am somewhere in between socially adept and not, I can safely say that I have had my run-ins with bullies. Some I stood up to and others I did not. On one occasion, I got the crap beat out of me. This particular bully later on causing severe permanent injury to another kid.

The point is, it's risky to say "this is more healthy" when it could potentially lead to severe injury or even death. These days, depending on where you live, bullies carry guns and other weapons, travel in gangs and don't take well to humiliation even if you win the first time around.

Re:Risky conclusion (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325350)

Guns, knives, and roaming gangs puts them a little above the level of "bully". You generally know the difference between bullies and street gangs, even at that age.

I always... (5, Insightful)

charliemopps11 (1606697) | more than 4 years ago | (#32324942)

I always backed down / ran away from bullies as I thought that was the right thing to do. Got the crap beat out of me every day for 12 years because they knew I wouldn't hit back. Now that I have a 2yr old of my own, I'll be teaching him that if anyone punches him in the shoulder and laughs his response should be to punch them square in the face. I'll deal with the teachers when I get called in. If they can't control their class room my kid will defend himself.

Ender_Fan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32325172)

I was just re-reading Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card the other day, and this post reminds me of the book.

There are several times in the story where the adults force Ender to stand up for himself so he won't be dependent on adults to solve all his problem. I agree that children who stand up for themselves get a better self image and are therefore more mature.

"Standing up to bullies is good for you" (1)

CaseM (746707) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325196)

We would have known this a lot sooner, but previous experiments always ended with the test subjects getting their asses beat and unwilling to say more for fear of further reprisal.

Well duh! (1)

unkaggregate (855265) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325354)

I remember being bullied in grade school yes. But I also remember that there was something about being bullied that was far more infuriating than the bully: the school system. I swear to god my teachers and counselers were batshit crazy with their weird touchy feely advice: "Oh, try to emphasize with the bully. Tell him how you feel. Don't fight back." That wouldn't be so bad if it weren't enforced on me through the school rules! And you know what? The bully knew it. So he picked on me more. In fact, I remember the bastard even learning how to plausibly lie and get me into more trouble, and the fucking teachers believed him ("Oh that sounds like something you'd do"). And you know what? I've been depressed and angry ever since and very anti-social. Innocent until proven guilty MY FUCKING ASS.

So fuck yeah, stand up for yourself! Fuck the pansy ass fucking feel-good counselers! Fuck them for the pain!

/I'm sorry this is something I've been needing to rant on for YEARS
//This is what it was like in the mid 90's, it's probably a LOT WORSE now
///This is why it doesn't surprise me when emo kids want to slit their wrists and kill themselves.

Direction of causality? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325416)

In related research, researchers have found that 11- and 12-year olds who master calculus develop better math skills than those who do not.

Prisoner's Dilemma (4, Interesting)

dtmos (447842) | more than 4 years ago | (#32325584)

I always felt that bullying was an iterated prisoner's dilemma [wikipedia.org] situation. It's well-known that the optimum strategy for the iterated prisoner's dilemma is cooperate first, then tit-for-tat [wikipedia.org] thereafter. In this context, "tit-for-tat" would mean fighting back.

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