Wendy Thomas, a New Hampshire mother, writer, and blogger is fed up with passive anti-bullying campaigns that mean well, but apparently—since the bullying continues—produce few results. Calling herself one angry mom, Thomas is ready to fight back.

Wendy Thomas’s crusade was triggered when a young child in her town died, and bullying was rumored to have been the cause. At that time she decided, enough already! She informed her daughters that from that time on, if they or anyone they knew were ever bullied, they would get in the bully’s face and shout as loudly as possible, “F*** YOU, YOU MISCREANT!”

The results, in Thomas’s words, would be as follows:

“Bullies are a bit on the dumb side, they are not going to know what a miscreant is. When they get that confused look in their face, wipe your hands of them, and walk away. You’ve just won; you’re way smarter than they are.

“Also, if you yell this at the top of your lungs, there is not a teacher or adult within 100 feet who is not going to notice and come over to see what is going on. Forget waiting until recess is over to tell a teacher that someone has bullied you, you go ahead and get their attention exactly when it happens. Trust me, this little gem of a phrase is going to get an adult to notice.”

Normally, Thomas wouldn’t encourage the use of four-letter words, but feels it is justified in this situation. I’m inclined to agree. I do believe, however, that Thomas’s statement that bullies are on the dumb side, might be an oversimplification, especially since I have known bullies who weren’t short on brain cells. But since bullying is dumb behavior, I won’t quibble with her description. Chances are she’s correct that the average bully would be flummoxed at being called a miscreant.

This in-the-bully’s-face approach is demonstrated in the television show Parenthood, during an episode called “Sore Loser,” which originally aired on November 15, 2011. Young Max, who has Asperger’s syndrome, is being mocked and subtly bullied by boys Max thinks are being friendly. Max’s mother, Kristina Braverman, picks up on the bullying and confronts the main instigator, getting in his face and telling him to knock it off.

“Max’s teachers,” writes Sheila Wagner, Assistant Director at the Emory Autism Center at Emory University in Atlanta, “have not yet picked up on the bullying, but as a mother protecting her cub, Kristina does so quite quickly.” According to Wagner, Kristina does the right thing in facing down the bully, since Max is like a “lamb amongst lions.”

Kristina concluded her confrontation with the bully by saying, “Be a friend. Be a friend, not a bully.”

Perhaps this approach does work. One writer named babylonlegg commented on the Parenthood site, “My son was being bullied some 20 years ago – teacher did nothing – school district did nothing. When I noticed the bullies walking on my block I pulled the car over, rolled down the window and said if any of you ever bully my son again your mothers will be scraping you off my tires – low and behold – no more bullying and I invited them to a summer bbq. All ended well!”

I’ll admit to cheering when Kristina tied into the bully. So I rather like this idea, especially if it gets results. It appeals to my mama lion side and my well-buried confrontational nature. In the right setting, I think it might be worth a try, even if it means giving a child permission to turn the air blue.

But does using the technique turn the abused or his defender into a bully?

What do you think?

Would you encourage your child to say “F*** YOU, YOU MISCREANT!” to a bully?

Would you get in the bully’s face yourself and be the lion defending your cub?

Have you a tale of your own to tell?

Please share.

For the full post by Wendy Thomas, go to her blog, Lessons Learned From the Flock.

6 responses »

  1. Antonina Dunin says:

    I LOVE this article! Being raised up as a Christian I developed the attitude of turning the other cheek and being nice. Well, being a Russian immigrant, I got a lot of insults, bullying and discrimination. Entering high school, I could not shake of a bull name Sarah. She would catch me a mile away and say awful, hurtful things. It made me feel worthless and low. One day we were in P.E walking around the school for exercises when Sarah bent over to tie her shoe and yelled “No one better run into me!” As I walked passed her with my “not so cool” friends I shouted “Who could miss that fat a**?” and laughed with confidence. Being a portly girl, I guess I must have made her feel what I had felt all that time getting picked on. From that day forward she didn’t say a WORD! After a time, Sarah even began treating me like a human being. Later, she transferred schools and I never saw her again. So yes, standing up for yourself and making bullies get a taste of their own medicine sometimes does solve problems:)

    • Karen Coombs says:

      Thanks for the comment. It’s good to know that this technique does work in some situations. Question for you: Do you remember how you felt after you made your comment to your bully? Having been taught to turn the other cheek, were you ashamed of yourself? Or were you proud that you had had the courage to stand up to your tormentor? Do you think you would have said anything if you were alone?

  2. Sharon says:

    Hi Karen, it’s your favorite cousin. I was thinking about your article and that I used to teach about bullying and anger management in the Catholic School Systems in Grande Prairie for over two years. Generally the classes started in kindergarten and went up to grade six. The curriculum that I taught included the information that bullies were likely victims of something going on at home etc. etc. That they had to be in a lot of pain to constantly inflict pain upon another and the only way they could feel good was if they tore someone else down. I would use a lot of role playing with students on how to deal with different types of situations and would always pick the yappy ones or the ones who spelled attitude as it got pretty easy for me to pick the bullies out. Sometimes I would put a bully with a milder kid and give them a theory to act out. I would always give the passive one the bully role and the bully the passive role. Wow! Sometimes they have no idea what their pain is doing to others. One day I went into St. Pats and the principal asked to see me. Of course I was thinking that something had happened or was said in one of the classes that had negative repercussions. She started to tell me a story about a boy, call him Charlie, from her school who was on the merry go round at recess and a boy, who had bullied him often, came over and started the same old pattern. Charlie didn’t run into the school as he usually would he sat there and listened to what the boy was saying and then politely said to the bully, one of our teachers told us that bullies are hurting from something that has happened to them and that they often need someone to talk to. Charlie asked the boy if someone was hurting him and told him that he could ask his mom to help. The boy stared at him, walked away and never bothered him again. Charlie was picked up after school by his mom and when she asked him how his day went he said pretty good I helped someone today and he told her the story. It turned out that Charlie was only in kindergarten and that his mom was the principal. She wanted to thank me for turning the tables around for the students to look at the concept that there are a lot of bully’s in pain. I felt pretty good that day.

    When I taught anger management to adult women, for four year, I used the same principle or theory but more like reverse psychology as a lot of them had been bully’s and often still were and didn’t realize it. It was fun for me to see the light bulbs come on as they started to see themselves in the explanations and examples I would give about bullies and would let them role play their scenarios out. Often times that would include yelling, screaming whatever it took for them to see themselves. One of the girls who took my course twice has just published a book and many found their way to Alanon, AA, sexual abuse counseling and the list goes on. But I know of many others, as I taught 15 to 20 women at a time twice a year for four years so that’s approximately 120 to 150 bullies, half who were also bullied, belly up to the plate and take responsibility for their lives just by recognizing that the reason they were bullies was because of their own pain. All it takes is a tiny seed to make a difference.

    So that’s my story. Don’t know why but I felt so drawn to share this. You are doing a great job of getting the message out. Love #1

    • Karen Coombs says:

      Thanks for the great input. It does present a dilemma. Do you get in a bully’s face or use a validating, understanding approach? i.e. “You must be really unhappy to want to hurt other people,” etc.

      • sharon says:

        I would like to say that it presents a dilemma but in the last ten years of my life bullyies are not a problem for me nor for anyone in my immediate presence as I make a stand. Either with bosses, co-workers, children, store clerks whatever. They are used to being feared not confronted nor are they used to hearing back the words they use on someone from the perspective of how that person sees them. Don’t forget I had been working with the homeless, addicts and alcoholics for the last while and each of them in their own way is a bully as they need to get what they want when they want it. I have rendered many to tears and a few to their knees when I have said back “so what I hear you saying is that because you are in so much pain from needing your drug of choice that you believe bullying me or my co-worker will get you what you need”? And that doesn’t touch the years I spent doing presentations in schools where even the teachers didn’t want to go into the classroom anymore. Well I could go on as I have many different scenarios and examples but will stop here. Your doing great work. Sharon

  3. […] For the complete listing of the twenty techniques, go to the Online College Courses website. There are some wonderful suggestions there. Eventually, we might not need to teach our children to get in the bully’s face and yell, “F*** YOU, YOU MISCREANT!” […]

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