The entry below is from my brother Ryan. He's interested in your advice.
Here it is. Let me know if it should be tweaked. I don't mind putting it on the line.
Today I struggle. Today I wonder. Today the past has come to haunt me. I received the call that I have been waiting for subconsciously for a few years. My son is turning 10 in July and is in grade 4. On his way to a field trip this morning some kid in his class punched him in the face. It was not provoked from what I have been told. My son, Zander, turned the other cheek and did what I did in Grade 4, told the teacher and his mom (who was also on this trip) and the child's parents were called.
When I was in grade school and high school I got picked on a fair amount. I was hit, I was ridiculed and I am definitely very sensitive to bullying - especially in grade school. Today I went through many emotions in a short period. I was angry at this kid and his parents. I was angry at the school. I was sad for my son who is so gentle and would not hurt a soul. And I found the memories of my past come flowing back into my head....
My question is as follows (Feedback from anyone with advice or a parent who has gone through this would be amazing). I want to tell him to fight back. I want to alter him and make him less gentle because it makes you a target for bullying, which is much worse than when I was a kid. And the impact it had on me was large, so I need to avoid him feeling the same way if I can. Is it completely wrong if I get him to learn to fight and punch, for defending himself only?
Bottom line. I was never told to hit someone back. I wish I could go back in time and fight back instead of turning the other cheek but I can't. But not too late for my son. Is it wrong of me to say "next time someone hits you, you hit them back twice as hard"? Otherwise, with the kids out there today, he is going to be bullied more and more each year. I'm told by most he did the correct thing by not fighting back. But I don't like it, I don't like it one bit.
Any advice on how to handle this and bullying in general?
Mike's loyal brother,
Personally, I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all for this scenario. Sometimes you should fight back, other times you should walk away. It depends on a number of factors, but always, survival is key.
On a side note, neither of my kids have ever heard of a kid getting punched in grade 4 (or 5 or 6) for no reason, so this is thankfully pretty rare.