DR. WALLACE: I'm very upset with your stand on how a teen should react when confronted by a bully! You advocate that the teen being bullied should engage in a fistfight with the bully. This is very unwise advice.
My 13-year-old grandson took your advice and came home with a split lip. He said the bully had a bloody nose and an adult broke up the fight. To advocate violence is shocking. My grandson said that if the bully bothered him again, he would fight him again. His mother (my daughter) is happy that her son "stood up for himself like a man." This is a disgusting thing for a mother to say to her son.
Whatever happened to working out problems with diplomacy? Wouldn't the school administrator help solve this problem? Too much blood is being shed in this world for you to encourage more. Didn't you ever hear of "turning the other cheek"? Bullies are human beings too, and they need to change their aggressive ways by being loved, not by bleeding. My grandson should have invited the bully to come to a church youth meeting. Don't you agree? — Grandma, Springfield, Mass.
GRANDMA: I appreciate you taking the time to express your views on a major school issue — bullying. Let me assure you that I, too, believe in nonviolence, and turning the other cheek is usually the best way to respond to an injustice. But rarely does this work with bullies. They get pleasure battering both cheeks time after time when the victim does nothing but smile. When that cheek is turned not once but a dozen times and continues to be bruised and battered, it's definitely time to stand your ground.
Instead of smiling, the victim must defend himself. Bullies enjoy bullying, not fighting. Once the bully realizes that his "victim" is going to defend himself, the bullying comes to an end.
Resisting a bully is worth a split lip, which will heal much faster than a period of sustained emotional abuse. I encourage a "victim" to challenge a bully only after all nonviolent efforts have resulted in failure.
I have received a large number of letters from adults who were victims of bullies when in school, and they say that they're now sorry they didn't have the courage to "fight back." Some still suffer emotionally to this very day. And that's a huge price to pay for turning a cheek.
Bullying is a serious school violation, but a strong administrative staff can do much to stamp out this unacceptable practice.
Show me a school where bullying is allowed to continue unabated on campus, and where victims must defend themselves to solve the problem, and I'll show you an ineffective and weak administrative staff!
STEPMOTHER IS A GOLD DIGGER
DR. WALLACE: My parents are divorced and my sister and I live with our mother. Two months ago, my dad remarried and the woman is 100 percent a gold digger. She doesn't work and all she does all day long is sit at home and watch soap operas. My sister and I used to visit our dad and stepmother, but not anymore. All she ever talks about is fashion and jewels.
Should we tell our dad that he married a gold digger or let him find out for himself? — Nameless, Tacoma, Wash.
NAMELESS: This lady most likely has good qualities that you don't see, but your father does. In any case, don't speak ill of her to your father — it would just poison the atmosphere.
Even if you dislike your new stepmother, work around her and remain in touch with Dad. You don't want to lose your relationship with him.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicated writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.