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Elspeth 
Posted: 11-Mar-2006, 11:41 PM
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Being a mother ot a 15 year old son, I've come up against a dilemna. I'm OK with telling him to turn the other cheek when kids hassle him. To not lash out for Christian reasons and practile ones. Since the events of the last 10 years, schools have a zero tolerence policy towards any kind of percieved violence. As a highly intelligent, college prep kid who desperatly needs scholarship money to go to college, a suspension or expulsion because of violence would be not in his best interest to say the least.

The problem is, some kids who have decided they needed to get under his skin have not stopped at tripping him and throwing balls at him during gym class, name calling or taunting him for not making the baseball team that they didn't even try-out for. They decided to verbally attack his girlfriend as well. Not only calling her ugly but using profanity my son wouldn't repeat.

This causes a great dilemna in me. I want to raise my son to be chivalrous and that means not allow anyone to talk about any woman that way, especially his girfriend, sisters or mother. But how can he do that and turn the other cheek at the same time?

So, guys, how would you handle something like this?


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Aaediwen 
Posted: 12-Mar-2006, 12:13 AM
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Given time, the answers always come. There are more effective ways to halt and correct the evil of the kind you describe. Ways that are not so likely to cause an upheaval. Generally, the kind of person who would use the tactics you describe, have a circle of friends. There's bound to be a honorable route to defend one's self. I, as well as several here, remember being on the recieving end of too many jeers. My situation was not the same as your son's, and was resolved by ignoring the perpitrators. But that wouldn't solve the issue at hand quite right, now would it?


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Shadows 
Posted: 12-Mar-2006, 06:35 AM
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I am not a christian man , but I do know of this type situation having raised 3 sons of my own.

The type person that stups to this type attack is looking for a response, the best way to deal with it is to ignore both the comments and the perpitrators. The majority of folks that see and hear these "fools" know they are just that and don't pay them heed.

Turning one's cheek and walking away is the best response and takes a bigger man then one who falls into the trap set by those with tiny brains


How does the old saying go......

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!

You and your son being of the christian faith should have your anwser by asking yourselves one question:


What would Jesu do?


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John Clements 
Posted: 12-Mar-2006, 03:41 PM
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Elspeth, I don’t envy you the problem in the least.

This bully behavior should not be tolerated, because chances are it will not only continue, but will more then likely escalate from words to a fight. I believe if you run away from you're first fight, you may be running for the rest of your life.

Obviously, I’m not in favor of turning the other cheek, at least not without getting some licks in!

The way I see it is, you have three choices? 1. Take the verbal abuse, which as I said, will probably get physical anyway. 2. Pack up and move away, only to face the same problem in a new location, or 3; which is to plan for the inevitable confrontation, by making the problem know to the appropriate people at school, as will as the local authorities, and by document all the abuses your son has taken, back up by whiteness if possible.

Of course having some friends to back your son up is a given, but at least you’ll have proof that your son was the victim, who was just defending himself. Which will hopefully protecting his school record?

Having these ducks in a row, if it comes to hands on, first, by the bullies, I suggest that your son take on the biggest bully, and do his best to make him think twice, about abuses him again.

Good luck Elspeth, you’re going to need it.

John


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MDF3530 
  Posted: 12-Mar-2006, 04:32 PM
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I have dealt with this problem before.

My first two years of high school, I went to an all-male Catholic school. I was picked on by a group of ne'er-do-wells in my class. I tried "turning the other cheek". My parents and I tried telling the administration. I even gave them names, but the brothers were only interested in turning a blind eye. Finally, one day during my sophomore year, they pushed me too far and I belted the ringleader in the chops. I didn't like having to resort to violence, but it was a necessary evil. I got a Saturday detention because of it, but it was a small price to pay to have those jerks off my back.

I understand that your son is worried about colleges looking at him as being a discipline problem if he gets suspended for getting into a physical altercation. If that ever happens, my advice is to be up front with the recruiters. Have him tell them he was suspended because he got into a physical altercation with a bully. Most colleges will cut him some slack.


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Aaediwen 
Posted: 12-Mar-2006, 08:23 PM
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I hate to, and won't say blackmail. But taking steps that simply aggrivate the humiliation that the bully is likely to recieve may help further your cause. I'm convinced that my confronting an arrogant instructor once may have set in motion a chain of events leading to his eventual dismissal (albeit some time after I had finished classes and left school). When the offender's weaknesses begin to come to light, they tend to slip up one way or another and eventually get what's comming to them. Find the dirt and bring some of it to the surface. Once the ball starts rolling, either they'll reform or get steamrolled out of your life, and hopefully somewhere where they can do less harm.
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TheCarolinaScotsman 
Posted: 12-Mar-2006, 10:46 PM
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Elspeth, the problem you describe could be very tricky. I'm not familiar with the youth situation in your area, but you need to be aware that in many places, boys that age are involved in gang activity. Any reaction could easily escalate to serious violence. I'm not trying to worry you needlessly, but guns and knives are common in many schools and today's "hoodlums" seem to think nothing of using them. In fact, even brag about it. I suggest you ask your son what male teacher would be receptive to discussing this with you. If he doesn't want "Mom to get involved", talk to a teacher or administrator you trust, but do it discreeltly. Find out if these bullies are anything more than that and if you should be concerned for you son's saftey (and that of his girlfriend). As I said, I'm not trying to worry you, but the craziness in today's world dictates that we be aware of possibilities that would have been thought outrageous when we were growing up.


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Elspeth 
Posted: 13-Mar-2006, 08:55 AM
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Thanks guys.

Luckily the other boys aren't the gang type, are actually in the same show choir as is he.

I wrote to his guidence couselor and my son went to see him as well. A conference with all parties ensued. So, perhaps this time it is settled.

But it still bothers me as to how to raise a non-violent chivalrous man. I want him to feel protective of females, be protective towards females. It is a characteristic that is all too lacking in many males.

He can retort verbally. Man can he. Charles Darrow would ask him to stop already. I suppose that's where I should guide him to go. If he can keep the sarcasm to a minimum.

WWJD? Not fight. But Jesus always knew what to say. cool.gif
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dundee 
Posted: 13-Mar-2006, 10:43 AM
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elspeth i think you did the right thing by talking to the counselor... this gives him
the benifit of the probelem being put into a highter authority in case something does escalate ...

i tried to raise my kids to be nonviolent... big mistake ... the key was to raise them non aggresive but capable of knowing when and how to strike. if i had it to do again my children would have started martial arts at the age of 5... was this a private or public school?


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sometimes what ya think ya want
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and then what ya had is gone....
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Swanny 
Posted: 13-Mar-2006, 10:53 AM
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Elspeth, I'm not a Christian, but chivalry and honor are not limited to Christians. Far from it as a matter of fact. If that makes my thoughts invalid just ignore my ramblings and nothing will be lost (nor gained).

Contacting school officials was probably the most important thing you could have done in this setting. Today's schools tend to have very firm anti-bullying policies, but as you may remember school policy wasn't, and isn't, always well enforced.

Since all parties have been put on notice the issue will probably cool to least a hot simmer for a while, but I'm afraid it may inevitably heat up again as time goes on.

You posed an interesting delimma in your last post. You want your son to be protective of females but you also want him to be non-violent. As much as we wish it otherwise, that isn't always possible.

I would recommend enrolling your son in a martial arts program, virtually any program from Western style boxing or kick boxing to any of the Eastern arts. Many adolescent boys do well in tae kwan do, and ju jitsu (esentially an Eastern form of wrestling).

This will afford your son several advantages worth considering.

First and foremost, they all stress the importance of discipline and decision making - knowing WHEN to fight is often more important than knowing how. They also instill self confidence. When a young man knows in his heart that if a fight does ensue he will without a doubt kick his opponents butt, he feels much less of a need to actually prove himself on the battleground.

In my opinion human behavior is not much different than that of other gregarious species in this regard. As we reach adolescence our social interactions among peers (in this case other young males) establishes our social status within the "pack" (or tribe, troop, or whatever you want to call a group of humans). It is a time when males are figuring out their "place" among their peers. It's a time in life when such traits as leadership, self-determination, self-motivation and self-discipline are developed and tested, all-too-often to extremes. That's why boys seem unable to reject a "dare", no matter how extreme the consequences, and why boys of that age are so prone to get into legal trouble and demonstrate rebelliousness toward parents and other adult authority figures. Females go through a similar 'phase' but express it a little differently.

Placing your son in a safe, supervised setting where all of those traits can be explored and developed in a disciplined manner and without having to engage in fighting among his peers will allow him to 'test his mettle' as it were, to recognize his relative social status (in a biological sense) while allowing him to vent some of those very natural aggressive & physically defensive tendencies that are common to adolescent males. It's also very good physical exercise and tired kids are much less likely to get into serious trouble (serious fights or legal hassles) than are kids who are bored and full of vim and vigor.

Just tuppence from someone who probably doesn't even belong in this thread. Take it for what it's worth.

Swanny


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stoirmeil 
Posted: 13-Mar-2006, 11:03 AM
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Not a guy, but very interested in the problem and sympathetic toward your son.

The martial arts with the strong ethical and philosophical training included might be the best thing he ever does, if he can get interested in it. I agree with the guys on this. Everything about him will change subtly in the direction of maturity, confidence, and the way he projects it outwardly. Both men and women pick up on nonverbal dominance signals and treat others accordingly (bad and sad, but the way the world is). So, paradoxically but very truly, the better your son might get at his training, the less need there ever is to use it.

It was the best thing to do to take it official, I agree completely. I wish the lad a lot of luck, and hope this is an incident that never recurs.
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Madadh 
Posted: 13-Mar-2006, 07:55 PM
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I have to agree with stoirmeil, a defensive art like judo. The best thing it will teach is confidence in himself. With that confidence, he will act differently and that may help.

I miss the days when they use to teach us boxing in school. You would be surprised how fast bulling would stop once the lesson was over.

Good luck, I hope everything turns out ok.


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Elspeth 
Posted: 14-Mar-2006, 09:26 AM
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Hey Swanny! I always want to hear your opinion. I've got great respect for your opinions.

The only reason I posted this in the K&C instead of in a general forum goes back to the issue of Christian stereotyping. Christian men are often stereotyped as sissies (to use a polite word) and as the Christian men on this forum hardly fit that adjective, I wanted to hear what they had to say, hear where their belief in what it means to be a man contradicts with Christianity and how they handled it.

The school couselor did handle this more in depth than I expected. Letting all parties know that harassment is considered no different than physical violence and won't be tolerated.

It was interesting in talking to him yesterday about the chivalrous/protective side of manhood and non-violence, he told me in a similar discussion with his son, he told him to take the road of non-violence, but if at some time he couldn't in all good conscious walk away, to do what he felt he needed to do and take the suspension. This from a guidence counselor! But, it says to me he understands the realities and I'm glad for that.

And, suspensions aren't listed in any record that prospective colleges will see.

Martial arts is an interesting suggestion. I'm not sure my son would go for it, would be able to find the time, he is in so many activities now on top of being a straight A student. But this is a good suggestion for my youngest who's 8 and of a different temperment, likes the scuffles more than my oldest ever did.


The funny thing about these kids is they're really in it just to annoy my son. When they tripped him and my son got up ticked off - they ran.

It's just all so stupid. But as you said Swanny, part of the adolescent male finding their place and establishing pecking orders, etc.

BTW - for anyone intersted, I just read a great book about raising moral sons called The Good Son by Michael Gurian. Quite realistic, practical and helpful to me as I never was a guy. rolleyes.gif


Yeah, I think we need to talk over the martial arts idea. My husband never had any experience in fighting, he was the kind of guy who just wanted to have a good time with whoever he was with at the time.

My son is a different temperment - a Scorpio like his mama. rolleyes.gif We tend to have quite intense personalities and believe strongly in justice. Add in male adolescencent hormone rushes and a good discipled 'sport' might not be a bad idea....

Thanks one and all for all the suggestions, comments and concerns... Raising the first really is the hardest isn't it?



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dundee 
Posted: 14-Mar-2006, 10:51 AM
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here is another excellent book... again came along to late for me.
Bringing Up Boys
by Dr. James C. Dobson
http://www.family.org/resources/itempg.cfm?itemid=2576

i am of the ilk of your husband... however....
people use the "turn the other cheek" scripture a lil to literally.. me thinks.
i am thinking it refers more to dont be quick to take offense... but if you are in jeaprody strike fast, strike hard, strike often... till the threat stops.
yep i am a Christian... angel_not.gif
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Shadows 
Posted: 14-Mar-2006, 10:57 AM
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Dr. Dobson's methods never worked for my 3 boys.
Just my opinion.

All children are different and no one method will work for all. Treat each child as an individual ,teach them their short comings and limitations and give options for dealing with such. Worked for my guys.
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