What controversial advice have people given to their children? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
"Punch the bully in the face"
I used to get beat up by this kid in fifth grade on a fairly regular basis. He was enormous for our grade. On the playground he would frequently get in my face and be super angry about nothing. He would usually punch me in the stomach or throw me on the ground and choke me depending on his mood. I wasn't the violent type. So I never fought back.
I remember feeling embarrassed that I was getting hit in front of people and was afraid to fight back. He even bullied me in front of the girl I 'liked,' which was doubly embarrassing. Again, I didn't like fighting, particularly when I was much smaller.
I complained about it to my mom, thinking she would tell the teacher. (I would have told them myself, but I didn't want to be labeled a "tattle tale"). She said "Stand up for yourself! Be a man! Punch the jerk in the face, he'll never learn otherwise".
I stared in silence, surprised. This wasn't the response I was expecting.
"OK" I thought.
For the record, I had no intention of using her advice as a free pass to go pick a fight or hit anyone. Heck, I wasn't sure if I had it in me, to begin with.
The next day during recess, I got one of the large play balls out of the bin and was bouncing it around on the outside basketball court. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the large bully tormenting some other kid, grabbing the child by the hair saying something in his ear threateningly. (In hindsight, where the heck were our teachers? Were they blind?)
He turns, sees that I have the coveted large ball, starts walking across the court towards me and points, yelling "Hey stupid!"
I cringed, realizing this might actually go down. I had rehearsed what I might do in my mind, but I was afraid. This would probably just be another episode of schoolyard beat-down starring yours truly. And as luck would have it, the girl I liked (Annie) was standing right next to me, oblivious to my tormentor's imminent arrival.
He gets to me, stands with his face about two inches from mine, and repeats, "Hey stupid. Did you hear me? I was talking to you".
I stared. Unsure what to do.
He repeats "Hey stupid? I said .....DID. YOU. HEAR."
He grabbed me by the hair, like he did the other kid, except I resisted, and it was a blur after that. We started wrestling, our arms locked onto each other and we fell, hitting the ground at the same time. He was bigger and stronger, but I was determined, not wanting to let him get on top so that he could choke or hit me. As we rolled around on the ground, I remember tasting dirt and hearing Annie yell something to the effect of "Stop! Leave him alone!".
We scrambled to our feet, I somehow broke free, and without thinking, pulled my arm back and hit him in the mouth as best as I knew how.
He stared in a brief stunned silence, let out a girly scream and ran off crying. I remember turning, seeing Annie with her hands over her mouth smiling.
I felt like the coolest kid in the world.
Somehow the teachers miraculously appeared for once and I got detention. But it was totally worth it. He never bothered me again.
**Going to pre-address the teacher-squad and moms out there, I'm not advocating kids hitting or fighting. This scenario was a unique situation. And it worked out.
This question originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.More questions:
- Parenting Advice: Should parents have their children vaccinated? Why, or why not? What are the arguments in favor of vaccination?
- Parenting and Raising Teenagers: How do you minimize sibling rivalry?
- Family Advice: My mother was against my decision to drop out of school and become a software engineer full-time. Should I feel bad for feeling apprehensive about paying her rent?