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