Should girls fight back with martial arts or other physical self-defense to combat bullying?

In the comments section of the article, "What to Do About the Mean Girls" ( ), some readers are suggesting that self-defense or fighting back with martial arts or other physical means is the most effective way to combat bullying.

Do you agree? Why or why not?
In Topics: Parenting / Our Family, Bullying and teasing
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Feb 9, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

The key word here is Defense. If a girl has the need to defend herself from attack to ensure her safety, then of course it would be helpful if she possessed a skill that would make the defense more effective.

Usually however, bullying is more the use of verbal taunting and threatening body language and posturing. Bullies are more into controlling others and would possibly feel reinforced if they could cause her to strike out physically at them.

When learning Martial Arts, one of the first and most important things that is taught, is self-control.

Another way to help a girl protect herself from bulling is to offer her suggestions and actually practice responses in a role-playing manner. Sometimes our best defense is offence. Teach her to always have a friend with her. Teach her how to recognize situations that might be a danger to her and offer suggestions on how to remove herself from those situations.

Learning Martial Arts is a good idea to build her confidence and strengthen her self-control.

If you feel that it would help to speak to a counselor more about your situation, don't hesitate to contact the Boys Town National Hotline to talk with a counselor trained to work with teens and parents.  Counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help.  

Boys Town National Hotline
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Additional Answers (1)

mamiflores91 writes:
I disagree.My daughter also is being bullied at school along with her friend. My daughter only took a defense stance & having a drink in her hand spilled on to the girl when my daughter flinched in self-defense. We are now going to court because the "bullies" all said that my daughter hit the other girl. I say let the bully do whatever they plan on doing to your daughter (I know easier said than done).That way you & your daughter have a better chance of taking care of this bully. Keep a time-line of who is bullying her,when,where,who you've complained to,what is the school (or if outside of school,police) are doing to help you.Be sure to always keep track of when (time) & where the bully is bullying your daughter. Name calling,shoving or pushing,threatening,intimidating glares,text or cyber-bullying that include words of threats or words that are in anyway shape or form making your child feel bullied should also be documented.Trust me on this. A bully will do anything to make your daughter/child look like they are the ones starting trouble. Be sure to also include in your documents the names of those bullying your daughter/child.Go to your local state representatives.If you feel that they are not listening either,then go higher than them.Call your state officials or better yet,go visit them.Have all of your documents ready.Always have extra copies to hand out. Show proof of school records (such as grades if your daughter is a good student.Or if she has a disability & you feel that this is causing the bullying,have documents showing her disability. Never let your daughter stoop down to a bully's level.Tell her to hold her head up high.You love her & have faith in her.Tell her how proud you are of her. Tell her to call you from her cell phone IMMEDIATELY when the bully starts to do something.You as her mom also should complain to the school.I don't care how often you have to go to the school.You show them that you mean business. You show them that you are an active parent of your childs education.The school by law has to provide a safe learning environment for your daughter.Remember to document everything!
> 60 days ago

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