Should you teach your child to hit back?

United States
August 18, 2007 3:28pm CST
When I was growing up and going to school, often I was the victim of bullies. For some reason the really mean kids could always spot me in a crowd and found a way to make my life miserable. And, I swore to myself that my own kid would never have to go through the same thing. But, I suppose that is easier said than done. Now that I have a little kid of my own, I am concerned that she will pick up the "hitting" habit from some other kids in her play group. She's at the mimic stage and tends to do everything that her friends are doing, including throwing tantrums, bad behavior and even hitting. I've tried telling her that she shouldn't hit people. And, while I don't want her to hit anyone or be mean, I'm worried that if I teach her not to hit back when another kid hits her, that other kids will bully her and she won't have any defense. I'd like her to know that it's OK to defend herself just in case someone is trying to hurt her. But, I don't want her to become a bully and start hitting others. How do you teach your child self defense without having it back-fire on you? I don't want her to think that it's alright to push others around, then again, she shouldn't be defenseless either. Do you think that karate classes could be the solution? At what age should one start? Any suggestions on how you handled this situation with your kids would be appreciated.
4 people like this
16 responses
@joshboz (1214)
• Australia
18 Aug 07
okay beauty queen. teaching your children about self defense is by reminding them that it's always good to solve problem through conversation but if the bully really hurts you physically then its time to hitback. tell your son/ daughter not to piss people even you know that they have the ability of doing it. as the saying goes do to others what they want to do to you. tell your child to hitback only when they started hitting him/her but never to start the bullying since at one point he may also be bullied by sstronger children.
2 people like this
• United States
18 Aug 07
Sage advice! Thanks
1 person likes this
@KrisNY (7591)
• United States
18 Aug 07
I don't think kids should be punching bags and yes they need to stick up for themselves- that way they won't get picked on- I have taught my daughter that hitting is not right- and if someone is picking on her- to ignore them- walk away- but if they hit her- then she can hit back- as self defense- She has not ever had to and she is almost 11-
@sedel1027 (17854)
• United States
19 Aug 07
I don't think it is okay to hit back unless it is a last resort. Thankfully, I know that I don't have to worry about this with my kid because last year some kid kept calling him a nerd and he wouldn't even stick his tounge out or call her a nerd back because it was "mean".
1 person likes this
@kgwat70 (13396)
• United States
19 Aug 07
I definitely think karate classes are good for teaching a child or adult self defense so they will not get hurt. My parents had me take karate when I was a child because of the same reasons that you went through. I did not like the class and dropped out but now I kind of wish that I had taken it. It could have made me a stronger person back then and could have defended myself better. I do not remember what age I was but I was in 1st or second grade at the time.
• United States
19 Aug 07
I am a firm believer in teaching your kids to hit back if someone hits them first. My older one was always timid and kids push him around at the playground, school, etc. I did sign him up for karate and it was a positive result. He has quit now after years of going but it definitely taught him a thing or two. He is still by no means aggressive but he has learned to stand up for himself even if it's just as simple as saying NO or LEAVE ME ALONE to someone pestering him. After seeing so many other types of kids behaviors - by the time I had my third I would kid and say I'm not going to teach him not to hit because nobody else teaches their kids the right things but again, I have my third who again is the victim of being pushed around or told what to do. All 3 of mine are passive but my girlfriend says you've raised good kids be proud...and I guess I have by teaching them right from wrong but has it actually helped them in the outside world? I don't know.. But karate is an excellent way to start but it is very demanding and very serious. My son started when he was 3 years old.
@wisconsin26 (3859)
• United States
19 Aug 07
NO! I would never tell my child to hit back if someone hit them.. Because if they think it's ok for them to do it they will and keep doing it and it ends up turning into a mess when they get older... My brother in law is constantly starting fights with people (cause he thinks he's king) and he hits back when people hit him he thinks it's funny which I find is wrong.. So I'd highly suggest people not to encourage their child to hit back.. Just my oppion!
• United States
18 Aug 07
Yes I do teach my children to hit back, but only if it is a real fight type situation. For example someone bumps into my son or maybe pushes him a little no i would not recommend he hit back. But there is a child at his school that bullies everyone and he wouldnt leave my son alone, and he was afraid to get detention if he stood up for himself. So I just told him next time you smack that kid and smack him hard, if you get detention you will take it, but I guarantee that kid wont ever hit you back. He did, he didnt get detention and the kid left him alone. So yes in certain situations they need to stick up for themselves, unless you want them to be rugs their whole lives.
1 person likes this
@jlcp25 (45)
• United States
18 Aug 07
If someone resorts to hitting my daughter, most definitely I am teaching her not to take it. It should always be the last resort and she should never hit first, but if someone takes the first swing, then they deserve to get it right back. There are children out there who think it is okay to bully because they do actually get away with it and little kids are too scared to stand up for themselves for fear of getting in trouble. My daughter will know that if and when that time comes and she was in the right, she will not get into trouble.
@larskie23 (867)
• Philippines
10 Nov 07
my brother is always bullied at school that he always cry. i always told him to hit back. he should allow others just to bully him and its always to defend himself.
@darkaeon (466)
• Portugal
10 Nov 07
hi, yes i think that its a good idea to teach our children to hit back because like that he can defend itself from other.
• United States
19 Aug 07
I got bullied a little bit as a kid, and I wish I had learned self defense, just so I would have had the confidence to hit back. My wife and I were blessed with a little girl 9 months ago, and we have had this discussion. We certainly don't want our daughter to be a bully- if she is, she will get in an unprecedented amount of trouble (groundings, sitting in the corner, whatever is effective at that age). However, she MUST learn how to defend herself proportionately. If someone hits her and bullies her, and she hits back hard, even just once, the bully will back off. If she gets detention, I will defend her if she was in the right, to the point of switching schools, or home schooling her. It is that important to my wife and me that my daughter has the confidence and skill to know when to defend herself physically, and when not to. You must teach the child self-defense, beautyqueen. You must teach the child good values and principles as well, so these skills are not used to bully other children. One must know when to defend one's self, and to what degree, which is where values and clear thinking come in. I will take this one step further than others who replied to this post. I want to teach my child not only to hit in self-defense for herself, but also to stop a bully if she sees that bully picking on someone else. (Often violence is not necessary to stop a bully, but it must be a tool in the tool belt). If more kids stuck up for other kids, then perhaps bullies would not run as rampant.
@wisedragon (2330)
• Philippines
19 Aug 07
martial arts - you are justified to protect yourself when someone tries to hurt you
First we need to teach our kids the art of "peaceful solution"; that is, ignore then walk away. The second thing we need to teach our kids is self defense, that they are justified to protect themselves when someone is trying to hurt them physically. I personally prefer aikido over karate, because karate can be offensive while aikido is purely defensive.
• Canada
19 Aug 07
I say no In socity today it is unacceptable but I don't see why we should not teach our kids to take a stand,beleave me adults we leave in charge of our kids are not always paying attention like they say.
@youless (94224)
• Guangzhou, China
19 Aug 07
I don't know, it is hard to say. When I was a child, although I was taller but I always bullied by some classmates who were shorter than me. I thought I could fight back, and once I fought back, they couldn't be my opponents. However, I had never fight back. Perhaps this is just my character and I don't think I can hit anybody although they hit me. I am afraid I will hurt them. As to my child, he is still too little to attack anybody. And perhaps he has my character because I haven't seen him hit anybody. Well, if someone hits him, perhaps I will ask him to protect himself. As to whether he should fight back, I don't know yet. It depends on the situation. As sometimes if you fight back, the result could be worse.
• India
19 Aug 07
yes defense is the right word 4 it.teach ur kid karate,let her learn it.but let her know the difference between defense and offense.with power comes responsibility.so defecse @ last resort
@sharkzbr (21)
• Brazil
19 Aug 07
When I was a kid i was victim too cause i was short and a little bit fat ... and my mother ever told me not the hit someone so I never defended myself ... I think it was an error you should teach your kid to hit if she was hit ... and teach her to make people respect her ... karate classes is a solution ... for me the solution was Boxe Classes , academy , and my 14 years-old ( it was when i get tall ... 1,89) , but say to her not use the karate to make people respect her ... but the way she talk , the way she walks , and someother things ... and the age maybe 5-6 years