How to Handle Bullies: a Guide for 10-Year-Olds
I have a 10-year-old son that has always went to a very small and very safe Christian school. He’s big for his age but completely passive and tenderhearted. These are admirable traits and I’m proud of my boy, but I’m worried it paints a big sign on his back that says “Please bully me!” Any tips for a parent that wants his child to be able to defend himself without getting sent to reform school for 8-10 years?
A Concerned Parent
Dear Parent of a Future Serial Killer,
So your son is overweight and soft spoken…This rings some kind of bell, but I’m not sure which one.
Anyway, I hate to tell you this, but if gentle giants do not shed bully-blood by their twelfth birthday they will eventually collect the bodies of dead hookers in their basements. It’s fact. Explained below using science.
By ze age of twelve, testosterone schtartz to build up en ze adolescent male vith geometric shapes. Zis produces ze Rage Hormone, vich looks a kind of octogon. Some males release too much of ze hormone und become what is known as ze “Bully” of ancient legend. On ze other hand, if ze hormone is repressed, zen ze rage builds und builds until ze subject explodes in an orgy of violence und lustmord! -Dr. Schadenfreude
Basically, you’ve got to get your son to react. It doesn’t have to be something overt like stabbing a bully with a pencil, or slamming his face so hard into a desk so that his molars have to be removed from it with pliers. It could be something subtle. Like pushing the bully down an empty elevator shaft, or creating cyanide from the cherry tree in the back yard and slipping it into his (or her–let’s not discriminate) chocolate milk. Since the bully, in your case, does not actually exist, I fear we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves–but you see where I’m coming from. Overt aggression is the tool of the ruffian. Subversive coercion and revenge are the tools of gentlemen. And absolute passivity leads to something called the John Wayne Gacy phenomenon, wherein the once-shy-prey develops into something that likes to wear clown make up while licking the baby toes of innocents.
Ultimately, if your son remains immutable in his shyness, I’d like to offer up one more option; as a shy man myself, one strategy that I have found to be useful is to act bat-shit crazy as much as possible, and thus avoid, for the most part, getting crammed headfirst into toilets and chocolate-milk-filled-garbage-bins. Many was the time whilst working in the local hoosegow that I maintained my safety by reinforcing the belief that I was too crazy to screw with, which is good because the sight of blood frightens me. One technique that I found particularly useful was using a sock puppet to deliver a warning message, like, “Urge… to kill… rising…” Another good one is banging your head against walls and windows, saying, “This is how I let the pain out.” Pretending to channel Elvis is OK, but tends to be more entertaining than intimidating. (Then again, your son’s hypothetical future bullies will probably be too young to understand any such references to The King, which could make such impersonations truly troubling for them.)
Frankly, all of these approaches are overly complex. The best thing to do is to let your son know that if he has to defend himself, and even if the school takes a different view of fighting, you will support him. If someone tries to beat him up he should know that he has the moral high ground to beat the shit out of the other kid. With his shoe if he needs to. I’m sure all of the other bully’s victims will be most appreciative! I know, because I never fought back and now I’m running out of space in my basement.
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