SophieB asks:

What to say when a kid says "make me"?

I'm a parent of an 11 year old child who is going through a rough time. We've always taught her to be kind and polite. Lately she has some kids calling her names - everything from somewhat inane things like "shorty" to more hurtful things like "retard." She's one of the top kids in her class academically and that alone seems to set her apart from some of the others.  

When kids say or do something that she doesn't like or is uncomfortable with she responds, "Please stop." Their reply is, "Make me." She has no come back for this. I've encouraged her to simply shake her head and walk away, but she tells me that she can't always do that - she's in class or ball practice. I then suggested that she try something like "I shouldn't have to make you be a good person." I'm not sure this is right either.

I'd love some advice on the best way to help her handle this type of thing. I can't fix it for her, but maybe I can give her some tools for dealing with it. Help!
In Topics: Bullying and teasing
> 60 days ago



Dec 2, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

I'm not a big fan of snappy come-backs. Mostly because they put the burden of changing aggressive behavior on the victim. That's not fair! Nor is it realistic to expect a child to take this on... as if SHE is the only one who can solve the problem. She's a child and she needs support.

If this peer harassment is happening "in class or ball practice" then where is the teacher or coach? The adults who maintain the 'culture' of the classroom/the school are responsible for making sure that all kids are treated with respect at all times. But adults can't do their job if kids' rudeness operates below the radar (as it often does) and if the targets of teasing and harassment (like your daughter) haven't yet stepped up and told a teacher about what's going on.

You're right when you say "I can't fix it for her" but you can and should advocate for her. My suggestion is that you encourage your daughter to talk with the teacher. Give her a choice, either she talks with the teacher on her own or you go with her to talk to the teacher. Staying silent is not an option. That way you are supporting your daughter and empowering her assertiveness. You're also holding the teacher accountable for changing the culture of cruelty in the classroom.

Please talk to your daughter and take the next step by getting the teacher involved.
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Additional Answers (1)

EdieRaether , Teacher writes:
Please let me help!! Bullying will not be conquered by setting bigger traps...but by changing the hearts and minds of the kids who bully.
We are putting all the responsibility for this problem on the victim and while we must act to protect the innocent, we must shift our thinking to prevention and have those who bully... be responsible for the change that will make our society a caring and compassionate culture. Change must come from the INSIGHT out. We are approaching this matter with more of what the VICTIM can do. Guess who has to change to make this work.
Please see and
if you want to make a true shift in consciousness and get it right.
Love and light...

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