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Study Shows Standing Up To Bullies Is Good For You 458

It will come as no surprise to anyone who's ever talked to my grandpa, but a recent study has shown that standing up to a bully is good for you. Although being bullied can be stressful and lead to depression, children who returned hostility were found more likely to develop healthy social and emotional skills. From the article: "In a study of American children aged 11 and 12, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, compared those who stood up to aggressors with those who did not. Children who returned hostility with hostility appeared to be the most mature, the researchers found. Boys who stood up to bullies and schoolyard enemies were judged more socially competent by their teachers. Girls who did the same were more popular and more admired by teachers and peers, the researchers found."


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Study Shows Standing Up To Bullies Is Good For You

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  • by backbyter ( 896397 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:11PM (#32324508)

    until it isn't.

    • by severoon ( 536737 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @01:53PM (#32326132) Journal

      Headline reports causation while story only confirms correlation, news at 11.

    • in my highschool, bullies had knives or pistols. if they didnt have those, they had friends who did not hesistate to jump in afterwards. you should run away, unless you think you can survive the immediate conflict or - more importantly - its escalation later. thats just frikkin reality. ~~~ now, at work: i DO NOT suffer bullies gladly. i dont care if they are on the executive team or not. they get what they get. if im fired, or let go - im okay with that. its never happened so far...
  • Or could it be (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Securityemo ( 1407943 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:12PM (#32324520) Journal
    That only those of good mental and emotional health have the strength to stand up to bullies?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Good point! I doubt my standing-up would have done anything but result in my self getting hurt.

      • Re:Or could it be (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:29PM (#32324778)

        Maybe those willing to accept some personal injury as a consequence of keeping their pride and independance are viewed as being mature. Part of maturity is accepting that shit happens, but you have to soldier on anyhow. Immature adults, ie spineless dweebs, are always searching for someone else to accept the pain on their behalf.

        This goes far beyond standing up to bullies. Accepting the pain of a workout in order to finish a marathon. Working long hours to get a promotion. Laboring in the hot sun to create a beautiful garden. Immature people want someone else to make the pain go away. Mature one will go through the pain to achieve a goal.

        (Yes, idiots will go through the pain to say they went through the pain. But that is a different post 8*)

        • That's hardly fair. Often a child may not have the emotional support of his parents to feel confident enough to stand up to bullies. Emotions play a large role in this, and you aren't born with a healthy diet of emotional balance.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Either you are mature or you are not. Parents have nothing to do with it. They can help a child mature earlier, but in the end, everyone has to do the deed on their own.

        • Re:Or could it be (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:53PM (#32325154) Journal

          Accepting the pain of a workout in order to finish a marathon.

          Suffering and possibly permanently damaging your knees and getting nothing in return. Is that maturity?

          Working long hours to get a promotion.

          And then realizing, your free time was more valuable in the first place.

          Laboring in the hot sun to create a beautiful garden.

          Well at least that one is a worthy goal.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by TheoMurpse ( 729043 )

            run a marathon . . . get[] nothing in return

            In typical Slashdot fashion, anti-exercise trolls come out of the woodworks!

            • Re:Or could it be (Score:5, Interesting)

              by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @01:23PM (#32325616)

              run a marathon . . . get[] nothing in return

              In typical Slashdot fashion, anti-exercise trolls come out of the woodworks!

              I did plenty of physical activities that damaged my body growing up and even I recognize the difference. Being opposed to getting kids to run marathons or compete in sports that are damaging is not anti-exercise. Marathons are pretty hard on the body, high impact on the joints. My cousins played basketball and several other sports and now they hobble around barely able to walk properly while not even middle aged yet. Calling opposition to marathons anti-exercise is like calling people who don't like poison ivy anti-plant people. A lot of us encourage healthy exercise while still not encouraging kids to exercise in ways that likely damage them permanently.

        • Re:Or could it be (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @02:08PM (#32326360)

          Working long hours to get a promotion.

          Hahaha! This doesn't actually happen in real life. Companies don't give promotions any more. They just tell you "the budget is really tight this year" and don't give anyone any raises, but when they're short on help they hire someone new for more than all the existing employees are already making.

          The only way to get a raise or a promotion is to get a new job.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Buelldozer ( 713671 )

        I don't mean to be offensive but this is why you are, and probably always will be, a beta.

        Fear of pain is natural and healthy but continually putting off action due to fear is not healthy for you.


        "What do I care for your suffering? Pain, even agony, is no more than information before the senses, data fed to the computer of the mind. The lesson is simple: you have received the information, now act on it. Take control of the input and you shall become master of the output."

        Human Hive
        Chairman Sheng-

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Guts: you got them or you don't. It can never be shown you don't have them, but only you can prove you do.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PitaBred ( 632671 )

      Standing up to a bully and getting hurt is better than just rolling over. Even if you lose, you still stood up to him. And that's worth something.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Em Emalb ( 452530 )

      That only those of good mental and emotional health have the strength to stand up to bullies?

      "I don't know, good question. Let's go to our man on the street, Jon Katz and see what he has to say.


      Hi Em. I write about dogs now, you bullies at slashdot made me spend years in therapy with your mean-spirited jokes and constant bashing of me and my columns. You know the nicest thing about writing about dogs? They don't talk ba"

      "Jon, STFU, that'll be enough out of you."

    • No (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:25PM (#32324724)

      Some children that have no deficit of mental or emotional strength are taught by their parents that retaliation is wrong, that the meek are blessed, and that they should "turn the other cheek" as Jesus taught. This is reinforced by teachers who punish both students involved in a fight if either one defends himself against the other.

      It is a testament to the children's stoicism that they can accomplish this. Unfortunately for them, it looks like doing so may negatively impact their mental and emotional development (yeah correlation is not causation and all that...that's why I said "MAY").

      This happened to me. My parents were evangelical nuts. They set me up to go be a victim in public schools, which I was. I have no idea what psychological ramifications that may have for me today...but I DO know that when I started training in martial arts in high school, the bullying stopped, and I never had to hit anyone (which actually kind of disappointed me, because I had a lot of anger I wanted to unleash on the next unsuspecting bully).

      • Re:No (Score:4, Funny)

        by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:43PM (#32324992) Homepage Journal

        I was always mainly invulnerable... for practical purposes. Had people 3 times my size wail on me in school... these days i still get hit by cars going a decent 20-30mph and shrug it off (look I'm impatient sometimes ok?). People just have trouble hurting me. A few hard swings with a baseball bat to the temple, or something pointy, yeah; but I can block a metal pipe with my freaking forearm, and take it to the chest or abs without much more than just minimal pain (mainly annoyance).

        It's strange but I rarely stand up for myself. I just decide that these people are idiots, and ignore them. If they attack me, I'll push them away... with my fists. They can't really hurt me at all. The only time I'll actually step in is when I have to defend someone else-- because let's face it, I'm way more durable than you are, I can't just stand by and let you get beaten until you're broken and bleeding. And you know what? When you can stand through the few hits someone twice your size can get off on you before you empty on them, you find out that one good fist to the face or dead center in the chest can put someone down pretty quick; it's not a matter of actually injuring them, it's more a matter of them being too scared to continue to fight once they realize you've got MUCH less work to do than they do.

        Martial arts are important... I need to be able to react to knives or attacks that can actually hurt me (there's plenty of good ways to do this) so I can avoid taking anything lethal or crippling. But by and large, I just don't care. It's not that I'm "good" or "righteous" or whatever and I know violence is bad; I just don't give a shit, because none of you can hurt me, and only idiots ever see the need to try.

      • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Stargoat ( 658863 ) <> on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:46PM (#32325044) Journal

        I had this problem. I was on the wrestling team at a heavier but very fit weight, being a state wrestler. I was also a nerd who greatly enjoyed his computers and D&D. Being a nerd, it was of course appropriate to gleek (spit) me, push, tease mercilessly, and otherwise inflict cruelty.

        One day in the 8th grade, a thug hit me on the back of the head. I turned around, headlocked him to the ground, and punched him until he was unconscious. He was an untrained baboon who didn't stand a chance. A teacher came over and broke up the fight.

        Like something out of a lame Hughes movie, I was applauded when I entered the cafeteria that day. I was exceedingly popular for the next two weeks - everyone likes seeing a thug get what they deserve. I never had to fight again either, as everyone who laid a finger on me knew what would happen.

        Unfortunately, I received the same punishment as the thug who hit me. This is not right. There is distinct disconnect in administration perception and the reality of the situation of what happens to the various social pariahs. The social pariahs are punished for fighting back and therefore the bullies are encouraged. Let me say this more clearly. Zero tolerance policies lead to bullying.

        It is my belief that the support of bullying leads directly to situations such as those boys in Columbine. If you cannot fight back, then you must either totally submit to all indignities or rebel against hopeless odds.

        There should be a physical violence outlet for the social pariahs against bullies. Bullies need to be confronted, physically, by the social pariahs. It is in the natural order of things that a whipped dog bites back eventually. It is natural and beneficial for the social pariah (and probably for the bully as well) that bullies be beaten in fights.

        • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @01:21PM (#32325592)
          You are correct on most parts. The place that you are confused is that you got punished for fighting. Kids don't get punishied for fighting in school. They only get punished for making the faculty deal with fighting. Since you defended yourself, you were just as much to blame for making the faculty deal with the issue as the guy that attacked you.

          Understand. Schools do NOT have a zero tolerance policy against violence. They have a zero tolerance policy against making them deal with the violence in their schools.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            You couldn't be more right. Often the teachers know the kids are being bullied, they just do nothing about it because the problem is not "necessary" to intervene in.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by kalirion ( 728907 )

          Unfortunately, I received the same punishment as the thug who hit me. This is not right.

          Dude, I'm all for standing up for yourself, but you don't get away with beating someone into unconsciousness for just punching you once.

      • Re:No (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @03:13PM (#32327236)
        I couldn't disagree more about the need to fight. Everyone seems to be going on about how you have to fight back, but it's not about that at all; it's about doing the right things in the right time.

        Speaking personally, I had an issue with a bully in junior high once (understand that this guy was one of those monsters...back when the rest of us were benching 120 lbs. maybe, this guy and one other were already benching well over 200), when he decided to make the rather asinine demand that no one could use the showers next to him in the locker room. Being as I was not inclined to inconvenience myself by kowtowing to ridiculous demands, I used a neighboring shower and was struck by the bully hard enough that folks out in the main locker room heard it. I didn't give him the reaction he was expecting, however, and instead just turned to him and asked if he was done. He was a bit taken aback at how I handled myself, and let me go on my way after that. From then on, both he and everyone else gave me a lot more respect since they knew that if I hadn't flinched when facing him, I wouldn't flinch in lesser situations that were common every day. I never had to face a bully again, and actually became friends with him over time, strangely enough.

        I never had to hit him, but I was never a victim either. He and I both knew that. I would say that I responded meekly (though not by your definition), since being meek doesn't mean being a simpering fool or someone without strength. It's about having the strength but demonstrating the self-control to not use it unnecessarily. It's a measure of applied wisdom and humility or a quiet confidence. You can be hit without being a victim, just as you can never be hit and yet still be a victim. There definitely are times and places where hitting back is the appropriate response, I won't deny that. But to suggest that it's the only appropriate response is entirely incorrect. It's a last resort that is rarely necessary, and I hold that kids who learn to make the alternatives work are the better for it, since they learn confidence and self-assurance, rather than learning merely how to retaliate when pushed too hard.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Extremus ( 1043274 )
      Well, that is something you can develop. I suffered with bullies during childhood. My parents were aware of that and sent me to a psychotherapist, while giving me plenty support (without actually trying to solve the thing for me). This simple act did no end of good; one less excessively introspective guy in he world.
    • Speaking solely from my own experience, nothing improved social standing, and thus the treatment I got from teachers and peers, like demonstrating a willingness to respond to bullying by throwing a few punches. For instance, in 3rd grade my teacher actually was requiring me to read self-help books on how to deal with social pressures. It didn't help, of course, just was one more indignity. Whereas in 4th grade I started using violence to combat violence, and while I was given detention several times my teac

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      And then get beaten unconscious. That's kind of when I stopped listening to adults and surveys and started getting sneaky.
  • Schools (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:13PM (#32324530)
    The problem is schools try their hardest to reduce attacks against bullies. For some reason the natural process of growing up has been demonized. Guess what? Kids fight. Guess what? They go home with a bloody nose and are made all the stronger because of it. These studies only confirm what everyone already knows that the natural process of growing up is just that: natural and beneficial.
    • If you hit the bully first, then YOU are the bully in the school's eyes. They have no choice but to take this stance. So you have to provoke them to hit you first, and make sure everyone sees it, then make sure everyone sees you defend yourself back hard. No one will mess with you after that, but it's really hard to get setup and you'll still probably get expelled for fighting.

      The best option is to rearrange your schedule, get busy with anything else, and know that high school is not a life sentence (exce

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by yog ( 19073 ) *

      After thousands of years of basically putting up with bullying as a natural phenomenon of growing up, the American education establishment has discovered that bullying is bad for kids and is actively pushing to prevent it. Google "anti-bullying" and you get dozens of links to anti-bullying programs, slogans, academics doing studies on bullying (one guy from Yale announced that victims of bullying are at higher risk of thinking about or attempting suicide).

      Parents who grew up in the 1960s or 1970s are now p

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by canajin56 ( 660655 )
      It's my experience that it's not just that people who stand up to bullies are demonized, it's that bullies themselves are lionized. It's not unusual for a bully to come up, demand your lunch money, then punch you in the gut anyways. Then when you hit him back, he gets 1 day detention, you get a week suspension. Because you escalated it to a fight. You're the badguy here. But don't sit there passively, either. That'll get you a matching 1 day detention under the "takes two to tango" doctrine. And don'
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:13PM (#32324532)

    When you've got it, everyone knows it; you're better at everything because you believe in yourself.

    When you don't, you're living in your own shadow.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bunratty ( 545641 )

      In many areas, I have low confidence in myself, and I do all the better for it. I was unsure of how I would do when I studied computer science at the university level, and as a result I got mostly A+ grades my first year. As I grew more confident, my grades actually decreased. It also works the other way. How many incompetent boobs have you seen who are overconfident in their abilities? I would say their confidence does not depend on their skills, and thus they lack any motivation to try harder. Why would t

  • smack 'em around (Score:3, Informative)

    by lobf ( 1790198 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:14PM (#32324542)
    I was bullied for a long time. I was raised Catholic and I thought that fighting back would be immoral. Then one day my dad told me "You know, son, sometimes you just have to smack 'em." It was like I had been wearing a blindfold. I went to school the next day, waited for that prick to mess with me, and I knocked the crap out of him. He was on the ground for a few minutes. No teachers saw it, and it was a shot to the solar plexus, so it left no marks. I haven't been bullied since. It taught me to not let people push me around, and that's a valuable lesson to learn.
  • by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <(gterich) (at) (> on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:17PM (#32324592) Journal

    If you don't stand up to a bully, you'll only look like an attractive target to other bullies, and other non-bullies who might feel inclined to bully you because they know you won't respond.

    There's not just physical bullying either. Look at just about any teenage girl today. They're the most vile, fire-breathing, hostile creatures that walk the face of the Earth today, and they won't think twice about emotionally bullying a peer to the point of suicide.

    Failing to stand up just means you get bullied more, with sometimes fatal results.

    • A bully used to pick on my son. I got tired of him coming home from school with bruises and scratches, so I taught him how to punch. At random times, I'd hold up my open hand and yell "hit me" and he'd smack my hand as hard as he could. He thought that was pretty fun, but we stopped once he good good enough that it started to hurt.

      Then, I told him that if the kid ever touched him again, my son was to punch him as hard as he could in the nose. I told him not to talk, not to negotiate, not to try to come up with some witty comeback, but to smack him in the snout. Next, I told his teacher about the plan, and she hinted that it was about time someone did it.

      The boy slapped my son. My son put the boy on the ground. Since that day, the bully never picked on my son or any other kid, and no one else has ever messed with my boy.

      It would be great if everyone could just play nicely, but since some people won't do it voluntarily, we have to be prepared to make them if need be.

  • by handy_vandal ( 606174 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:18PM (#32324608) Homepage Journal
    How about killing the bullies? Before they have a chance to reproduce, of course. Clean up the gene pool! No bullies allowed!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Because we know everything is genetic?

      What I find to be quite humorous is that the scientific processes used to dismiss things like the "divine right of kings" and the like is now using genetics to form basic predestination which basic observation using the scientific method disproved.
      • Exactly, I don't think bullies are like that genetically, Because a lot of the bullies are the same kids who got bullied earlier... Environment really does count more then genetics. Using genetics as an excuse is really just a lame excuse to be lazy, and not fix yourself. Genetics at best will give you an instinct to do something or not. However we fight our instincts all the time, as we know it is better to do something else.

        I think the real problem is there is so much mind washing in school, that mak

      • DNA isn't the only way that traits are passed from parent to offspring. Socialized traits are also heritable.

    • This might actually be a good idea, but you have to make a difference between those who are evil, and those who are just weak and downtrodden. Blood has a *lot* of shades.
    • How about killing the bullies? Before they have a chance to reproduce, of course. Clean up the gene pool! No bullies allowed!

      Ah-hem! []

  • by Itninja ( 937614 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:20PM (#32324650) Homepage
    Sure, until the bully shivs you in the neck. You're dying words with be " was good for me...".

    I prefer to take the same route and as beta male dogs; I pee on myself to show submission.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's the problem: asking kids to differentiate between "alpha male" bullying and "budding psychopath" bullying. Standing up to one gets them to back down, standing up to the other leads to escalation.

      I stood up to my bully once. Slugged him in the nose in front of everyone after he yanked me around by my backpack while I was wearing it and dumped all the books out. Felt great for a day, then the next day his friends held me down while he proceeded to put me in the hospital.

      • You respond to that by getting out of the hospital and systematically destroying each and every one of them. They don't get to hold you down. When they get close, when they touch you, you snap. First person to lay a hand on me can have me; he only gets one, and the other is immediately out of his grasp and I'm free to turn and nail him hard in the face, or kick him in the balls. The next one's coming sure; but he doesn't have back-up anymore.
    • Hah. Most "kids" wouldn't murder someone; if they would, they're usually a lot more than simple bullies.
      • On the contrary, most children would murder someone if they had the chance.

        Why do you think child soldiers are so popular? Because you want a soldier who can barely lift a rifle? or because you want someone who murders without compassion or feeling?

        Children are NOT nice.

        • Yes, but that's becuase the "society" they belong to sanction it, and actively push kids towards murder. If it was that easy, we'd be up to our knees in gore.
        • by Itninja ( 937614 )
          They do it because the adults tell them to; rewarding them for doing and punishing them for refusing. Children are not inherently murderously violent, but are inherently obedient to people bigger than them.
  • Once again we mix correlation with causuation. It's not like if a timid person will stand up a bully and become socially sucessfull. Non timid and socially healthy people usually stands up. The arrows that represents cause is pointing to the wrong direction
  • Well the subject makes it clear what I was told....

    However it was until I decided to smash one guys head with a huge book, and kick another where it hurt while wearing steel toe caps that I got the reputation for being a "bit crazy and mad" that they stopped.

    Yes, hit them back. It works and they don't expect it. Just make sure your ready and know how to defend yourself else you'll end up getting hurt even more.

    • This is true; that advice is just people who don't understand violence and hatred trying to preserve the status quo. In fact, as an adult I got the direct advice from one of my former "friends" (a black-souled bastard, but not utterly evil) that "violence is the only language kids like me understand".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Hitting back only works if it's your first response. If you've already led on a ton of times, then hitting back seems like an escalation. It has to come out of nowhere in order to work. Also, don't hit back without really meaning it, you have to have the 'will of the warrior' and hit like your life depends on it. Unfortunately, you will probably get expelled if you do this now, because any bully willing to push someone that far is likely going to make an even bigger joke out of getting you expelled for

  • I'm thinking (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mysidia ( 191772 )

    Study fails the acid test. What's an Adult bully? A mugger/robber/assailant. Is standing up to robbers/assailants/masked figures making demands or taunting @, good for you? The answer should be sometimes. Sometimes it is essential, sometimes it is suicidal. Sometimes it is just smart, that would be when the bully is bluffing, and you are the one with the gun.

    Back to children... Its good for you, only if the bully's response to you standing up is something other than engaging you in a fight you can't

    • by bsDaemon ( 87307 )

      i thought adult bullies were called cops...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HungryHobo ( 1314109 )

      This is the error so many doormats make.

      The point isn't to win.
      The point is to make sure that every time someone messes with you they go away from it with a black eye, a broken nose or some other painful or slow to heal injury.

      It doesn't matter if you "lose" any particular encounter.
      If you make sure you hurt them back every single time the bullying stops in no time at all.

      As a child standing up to bullies is always the right thing to do.

      It doesn't matter if you get hurt, it doesn't matter if you lose.

  • by V50 ( 248015 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:24PM (#32324700) Journal

    The problem with that, as I'm sure many others here can attest to, is were one to stand up to bullies, many schools somehow managed to punish the bullied student worse than the bully, who often gets off scot free, no matter what.

    I hope things are somewhat better now, with all the anti-bullying programs and stuff, than when I went to school in the '90s and early 2000s.

    It is somewhat of a consolation in a perverse way to find out what most former bullies do now that we're all adults. A great many can hardly hold down a minimum wage job, and blow all their money on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. In theory, I wish them the best. But, yeah...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      The problem with that, as I'm sure many others here can attest to, is were one to stand up to bullies, many schools somehow managed to punish the bullied student worse than the bully, who often gets off scot free, no matter what.

      Well, then you have to break the principal's legs.

    • This is true and it goes a bit further. Teachers who stood up to their bullies, often see bullied students as "problem students", sometimes going as far as punishing the student for being a disruption. After a while, the problem student, despite being a good kid, will begin to feel that he or she not only deserves to be bullied, but accepts that it is somehow the "right" thing. In the end, if they fight back, the teacher finally has their chance to axe the disruption and the pecking order will get to return

    • It is somewhat of a consolation in a perverse way to find out what most former bullies do now that we're all adults. You mean they're not all working as cops and teachers?
  • by Migraineman ( 632203 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:29PM (#32324782)
    Chicks dig scars. Probably triggers a paleolithic reaction that infers you'll protect the young-uhns from predators..
  • Looking up former high school bullies on can also be a cathartic experience. It's amazing how those kids turned out as adults. The correlation, at least in my experience, is too good to be coincidental (or perhaps it's a self fulfilling prophecy). In either case it's rather karmic to see the behavioral traits that led to bullying in junior and senior high school also led to dead end jobs, too many children to support on their unskilled salary, and multiple marriages.

    I suppose the flip sid

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      Most of the bullies I knew from middle to highschool, are all on probation for something. Have been arrested several dozen times, and live in the shitholes of the city. And nothing of value was lost.

      • Yeah, I've seen that, too. I guess, in retrospect, the only thing that's sad about their lives is they have made more of themselves with children. I can only imagine their kids are growing up in lives where bullying is encourage/rewarded enough to persist that rotten cycle that led to them being who they were.
  • Risky conclusion (Score:4, Insightful)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:38PM (#32324910) Homepage

    While I am somewhere in between socially adept and not, I can safely say that I have had my run-ins with bullies. Some I stood up to and others I did not. On one occasion, I got the crap beat out of me. This particular bully later on causing severe permanent injury to another kid.

    The point is, it's risky to say "this is more healthy" when it could potentially lead to severe injury or even death. These days, depending on where you live, bullies carry guns and other weapons, travel in gangs and don't take well to humiliation even if you win the first time around.

    • Guns, knives, and roaming gangs puts them a little above the level of "bully". You generally know the difference between bullies and street gangs, even at that age.
  • I always... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by charliemopps11 ( 1606697 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:41PM (#32324942)
    I always backed down / ran away from bullies as I thought that was the right thing to do. Got the crap beat out of me every day for 12 years because they knew I wouldn't hit back. Now that I have a 2yr old of my own, I'll be teaching him that if anyone punches him in the shoulder and laughs his response should be to punch them square in the face. I'll deal with the teachers when I get called in. If they can't control their class room my kid will defend himself.
  • We would have known this a lot sooner, but previous experiments always ended with the test subjects getting their asses beat and unwilling to say more for fear of further reprisal.

  • In related research, researchers have found that 11- and 12-year olds who master calculus develop better math skills than those who do not.

  • Prisoner's Dilemma (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dtmos ( 447842 ) * on Monday May 24, 2010 @01:21PM (#32325584)

    I always felt that bullying was an iterated prisoner's dilemma [] situation. It's well-known that the optimum strategy for the iterated prisoner's dilemma is cooperate first, then tit-for-tat [] thereafter. In this context, "tit-for-tat" would mean fighting back.

  • by JWhitlock ( 201845 ) <John-Whitlock AT ieee DOT org> on Monday May 24, 2010 @06:45PM (#32329786)
    Compare with Olweus Bullying Prevention Program [], in a district with a zero-tolerance policy for violence, which has had success telling kids and their parents that returning physical violence is wrong.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.