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nebule's avatar

Do you teach your children to fight or fly? Or something else...

Asked by nebule (16446points) March 8th, 2010

In the event of someone hitting your child what would you advise them to do…fight back or run? or something else..

and why?

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47 Answers

Fyrius's avatar

I think you meant “flee” instead of “fly”. I wish I could teach kids how to fly. :P

I suppose it depends on the situation. Running away is certainly a whole lot safer, but if it’s a bully who’s likely to do it again next time… well, I’d very much endorse my kid trying to get the bully in trouble for what he did. Although telling an adult would probably be a better way to do it than hitting him back.

Jewel's avatar

I taught mine to think critically and how to make choices. There can be no one answer for situations like this. They had to be able to think on their feet and decide what the best course of action would be.

Cruiser's avatar

My 2 boys are instructed to finish what someone started and to go full throttle until an adult peels them off the knucklehead who started it. Why? Because most kids at that age have yet to fully appreciate the consequences of poor decisions, and a little chin music is a great way to learn tolerance.

ragingloli's avatar

A true Starfleet captain first relies on experience and diplomacy to resolve potentially hostile situations.

Fyrius's avatar

Experience is irrelevant. Diplomacy is irrelevant. We are Borg.

ragingloli's avatar

In that case: Quantum torpedoes, full spread!

Fyrius's avatar

Quantum torpedoes are irre-

Your_Majesty's avatar

I personally hate violent and won’t let my child get involved in it. I’ll not teach my child to fight,but I’ll teach them to sue/report this foul action to authorities.

nebule's avatar

@Fyrius but of course!... I was trying to play on words… but it evidently didn’t work :-( ...and yes telling an adult…that would be a good thing yes…as an isolated incident I guess… but I think that would very much depend on the age of the child

@Cruiser lol! but…what age are your boys?

@All… is it different for girls at all do you think?

Fyrius's avatar

Gender is irrelevant.

Okay, I’ll stop with the Borg speak now. But seriously, it is.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

My siblings and I were taught to not let anyone lay a hand on us.If we had kids,they would be taught the same.

Just_some_guy's avatar

My boys have been taught (at the ire of my ex) To stand up for themselves, friends, and family. Also to never allow a woman to be beat by a man. As for fighting I have tried to tell my children that a person getting on your nerves is not worth getting in trouble over. Only fight when it is a pressing matter. If someone will physically hurt them or someone who fits the categories then have at them. It might not have been a good idea, and god knows I do not always set the best example. My oldest son was suspended from first grade because a bully in his class hit a girl who is also a friend of his, and he of course punched him in the nose. He was also kicked off the bus that year for hitting a kid who bit him. The “no tolerance” rules I understand. It sucks that as a kid you are automatically guilty, and have no rights in school. Tho I can see were they are coming from. Basically what i am getting at is that he learned to better pick his fights, and as far as we know has not been in another fight. Well him and his lil bro go at it all the time, but I expect that. So I tell my kids to fight. Don’t be afraid. Stand tall, but do so knowing you are in the right. If you question that you are then you are not.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I have no children, but I was taught as a child to always defend myself but never throw the first punch. Put the attacker down fast, make sure he doesn’t get back up, then walk (don’t run) away. Only the guilty run away.

Not fighting back only encourages bullies.

josie's avatar

They know how to fight. Still learning when to use it and when to back out.

Just_some_guy's avatar

God I sound like some moral nutcase, but it is my way I guess.

Cruiser's avatar

@lynneblundell My boys are 10 and 13…so far they are expert are slugging it out between themselves.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Just_some_guy I agree with you that it’s better to get suspended over a matter of principle. The schools “zero tolerance policies” are nothing more than administrative laziness. Teaching children that they have no right to defend themselves is creating a society of victims. Teach them to stand up for what is right, regardless of artificial rules.

Just_some_guy's avatar

@cruiser Mine are 8 and 6 I expect about the same thing from them. I think I’d be secretly dissapointed if they didn’t. I didn’t have a brother, but I had many cousins who I was with almost constantly and we kicked each others asses pretty often.

Fyrius's avatar

“My boys have been taught (...) to never allow a woman to be beat by a man.”
That’s sexist. What if it’s in self-defence? What if the woman has it coming? Surely women too can do things wrong.
And do they also stop women who face-slap their dates?

Just_some_guy's avatar

I might be sexist, but that is how I feel.

Also if a woman face slaps a guy she probably isn’t going to pummel him into the ground. A slap and a beating to me are certainly not the same. I also expect they would break up the fight and not fight either unless they get attacked for trying. The important thing here is I tought them to look at a situation and see if fighting is right.

Cruiser's avatar

@Just_some_guy I don’t want my boys to hesitate in conflict situations. Bullies count on their victims to just take it. My oldest got bullied in 1st grade and didn’t retaliate because he “knew” fighting at school was wrong and he got teased even more. Once I gave him this “permission” to defend himself he solved his own problem without further incidence.

ragingloli's avatar

Additionally I would teach my kids ninjutsu so they can swiftly slit the bully’s throat and not leave any traces. If another child wants to bully mine then he better be prepared to die.

Just_some_guy's avatar

@cruiser. You got a good kid there. Its about the same for my son except he figured he had permission.
By making sure you are in the right I try to convey the idea of not being a bully. Because you can fight don’t mean you should attack people that are not showing the intent to attack you. It is possible I have confused them, but so far I have not had them be hit without returning the favor.

On a funny note: My older son was here with a friend they put on the boxing gloves and were going at it good. The other kid knocked my son down, and out of nowhere came my ,at the time, 3 year old with a beautiful form tackle. Me and the other kids parents laughed pretty good since he was a lot smaller. I thought it was cute tho, and its nice to know they will defend each other. I had to teach him the rules on the spot. He was so mad that someone knocked his brother down.

jfos's avatar

As a Saiya-jin, I will teach them to do both simultaneously.

DominicX's avatar

My parents certainly never taught me how to fight or anything and they are very non-violent, so chances are they would’ve disapproved of me using physical violence against someone, but as it is, it’s never come up outside of the occasional fight with my siblings. Of course I was taught to stand up for myself, but not to use violence. I actually was bullied once, but not physically, and I solved the issue without any violence (not to mention I was absolutely tiny as a kid and there was no way I could’ve used it effectively).

nebule's avatar

@DominicX interestd to know how you did that exactly?

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@DominicX With the right training, size is irrelevant. “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”

davidbetterman's avatar

Best to teach them how to defend themselves. Otherwise it is like declawing your cat and sending it out into the world defenseless.
When to defend should also be part of those lessons. Diplomacy skills should also be stressed.

josie's avatar

Taught them to fight if need be, and how to fight at that. You can dress up people and imagine that all sorts of social rules are in effect, but sometimes it is still a jungle out there. Nobody should be defenseless if they can help it.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t fight. I’ve never had to.

I teach my kids to be peacemakers, and they are. My daughter takes care of everyone and makes sure it’s all ok between them. So much so, that her teacher thinks she needs to take some time just for herself.

My son is also well-loved in his class. He is athletically talented, and we are letting him take Karate. I have no idea how he would do in a real fight, but again, it’s about avoiding a fight in the first place—using nonviolent techniques—basically relying on your brains.

I think of a fight as a failure in diplomacy. Smart people do not fail.

Know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em. If you’re good, you never have to show your hand. Well, you can get away with that in the real world—maybe not in poker.

DominicX's avatar


I didn’t say I did it all by myself; I got adults involved, but he never bothered me again after that. I was not about to be violent with someone who was not being violent with me. That’s not defense; that’s just revenge.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a non-violent approach to life. I have to agree with @wundayatta here and GA for that answer. I was always taught to be a peacemaker. Doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t defend myself if someone attacked me, but I would never instigate it and my first priority would be to get away from the situation.

knitfroggy's avatar

I tell my kids that if someone hits them, to hit them back. I mean, I don’t want my kid to be hit and just take it. They’ve also been taught to never, ever start a fight. They fight amongst themselves, but they know to not be starting fights at school.

When my son was in preschool there was this kid that kept hitting him everyday. The teacher wasn’t doing much about it, I mean, I don’t know what she really could do other than tell him to stop and talk to the parents. I told Jack, not to hit him, let the teacher take care of it. Well, after about a month of him coming home and complaining of “that Matthew” that’s what Jack called him hitting him everyday, Daddy, Papa, Grammy, and Mama all told Jack to knock his block off. I also told the teacher that he had been advised to do this. She said she didn’t think that was the way to handle the situation, but she said it in a way that made me think that she really wanted Jack to knock “that Matthew” out. The next time Matthew hit Jack was the last time, because Jack hit him back as hard as he could and the problem was solved.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

The strongest person can take a shot, needing not to return the favor.

That’s not fighting. That’s patient stamina. Some call it meekness, silent strength.

But, I’ve always taught my children, that when it is time to fight, don’t wait around on someone else to start it. When it’s time to fight (and there are those times), my children are taught to strike the first blow, swiftly, efficiently, and with enough force to end the conflict as soon as possible, while sending a message to all others who would entertain a similar fate. One good fight, for the right reasons, in a public display, will ensure that many other fights are avoided for the rest of their lives.

Similarly, fleeing for the wrong reasons will also bring many sad years of emptiness in the future. No one can live with themselves as coward. Not just from physical harm, but from the deceptive abuses of the mind as well.

Fight or Flight? They both have their places. Two tools in the toolbox. Make sure you use the right tool for every specific task at hand.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I teach my children that they are not to hit people or any living thing unless they are in serious danger and that in matters like emergency self-defense they can fight. I expect to raise them as people who can rise above violence and defeat an opponent with other means.

thriftymaid's avatar

I never taught my children to hit or harm anyone. It was never an issue for them growing up. We were fortunate to live in a community where 100% of the parents were involved with the schools and there just were no discipline problems.

When my youngest was in three year old day school someone bit her. The next day my child bit another child. I then bit my own child. That was the end of that.

Jeruba's avatar

My husband taught his sons:

1. Don’t start a fight.
2. If a fight starts, walk away if you can.
3. If you can’t walk away, fight to win.

My younger son took a lot of schoolyard bullying, much of it racist (racism doesn’t go in just one direction, I hope everybody knows). All the authorities ever said to us was, “Tell him to go for help.” He said, “How am I supposed to do that when I’ve got five bigger guys on top of me?” So there was no way he could live up to number 3, but he tried.

nebule's avatar

Thank you all…

If you take the ‘walk away if you can’ approach though primarily…are you not simply tempting more attention, attracting a bullying mentality by giving the impression you can’t ‘fight’? Thereby only delaying the inevitable and potentially causing oneself more anguish…

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

That’s right Lynne. More anguish for themselves, and the bully. The sooner a bully learns that he cannot be a bully, the sooner he learns to find his true self. This is good for all. Sometimes we need to be knocked off our horse and grovel in the dirt a bit. A bully should learn this lesson as much as anyone. It is then, and only then, that he find a helping hand up from the dirt, and from the very one who put him there in the first place, that his life will be affected for the betterment of all.

YARNLADY's avatar

I am totally against expecting children to behave like adults when it come to taking care of their own problems. They are too vulnerable to trust such an important job to them. I have taught my sons that violence is never the correct way to solve any issue. They are adults now, but still believe in asking the proper authority to solve the problem.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Sometimes the “proper authority” is the problem… ask Rosa Parks

YARNLADY's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Relevance? I take your point, but she was as non-violent as it gets.

nebule's avatar

Yes, I have to agree with @RealEyesRealizeRealLies here… for 9 years I was bullied all through school and the proper authority – teachers did nothing…and I mean nothing. Perhaps the proper authority should have been the police…maybe the threat of actual consequences might have had some kind of impact.

However, I was never taught how to fight back (I was taught to ‘turn the other cheek’) and I think when I was eventually told to fight back at the age of 13 I didn’t know how to and was too scared to. It was too late and a lot of what I went through was verbal abuse… which I wasn’t armed for either…although it must be noted that I don’t distinguish these two from one another (physical and verbal abuse) in this contextual question… I think the ethics apply to both forms of attack here. perhaps I should have included that in my rubric thinking about it

YARNLADY's avatar

@lynneblundell I suffered a similar fate, but I still do not advocate violence as a solution.

Cruiser's avatar

Most people do adhere to non-violence and bullies know this and count on their victims of being afraid of fighting back. It is also well documented that bullies as a whole hate pain. So a few well aimed pops in the kisser will usually be all that is needed to send a message that there is more where that came from if they want it. Most don’t.


I have two little girls. I’d much rather have them be ladies than fight and act uncouth.

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