Should You Teach Your Kid to Hit Back? An Instructor’s View

Bullying has become a major problem in school systems today and many parents are at a loss knowing how to handle it. There are many conflicting opinions on whether or not you should teach your kid should hit back when they are being bulled. 

It’s best to teach your child to hit back, but only when necessary and using proper self-defense techniques. When taught properly, self defense skills are used to de-escalate, and sometimes de-escalating future violence requires being aggressive in the moment—such as pushing back against a bully.

Whether you know your child has been bullied, is being bullied, or simply want to protect him or her, self-defense classes are a great option. We will further jump into the research behind why hitting back can be beneficial and how to teach this responsibly. To learn more about what to teach your children, keep reading.

The Importance of Self-Defense for Bullying (Why Your Child May Need to Hit Back!)

Physical violence should never be encouraged in everyday life. However, it should be important for your child to protect themselves should violence towards them take place. While this piece is mainly focused on bullying, self-defense can go far beyond this into everyday life as your child grows older. 

If your child is currently experiencing bullying or has been bullied in the past, you may want to teach them to retaliate should violence take place. However, it is absolutely critical that you teach your child to only retaliate with violence if absolutely necessary. Some things to keep in mind when it comes to teaching your child to hit back are:

  • Ensure your child has the ability to control their emotions. If your child cannot control their emotions properly, they can actually add to the bullying process. 
  • Make sure that the violence used against a bully is a last resort and is meant to discourage further aggression. If violence is the first resort for your child, it can lead to additional fighting in the future when it is not necessary. 
  • If your child does hit back, they should do so effectively and competently. You do not want to encourage this aggression if your child is not being offered the training to protect themselves properly.

Always encourage every other form of resolution first! We will jump into these later, but it is best that your child knows to avoid violence if at all possible.

Teaching Your Child Self-Defense 

When it comes to teaching your child self-defense, this is not a one-step process, but rather should be done over time and requires quality thought on your part. You want to ensure you are teaching your child to protect themselves fully or enroll them in classes that can do this. You also want to guarantee that your child knows to defend themselves when necessary but never begin violence. 

The best way to begin the self-defense process is to teach your child the steps to deescalate bullying from the start. Some things to ensure your child understands are:

  • Teach your child to be verbally assertive first. Many times, the children who are bullied are those who cannot stand up for themselves or chose not to. However, teaching your child to verbally deescalate bullying by standing up for themselves can stop violence from happening. 
  • Do not teach your child to swing at a bully first, but only to react in defense if their wellbeing is in danger. Often, children should not hit but rather protect themselves by buffering against hits or attacks. 
  • Always encourage your child to reach out for help from their teachers or other adults first. Unfortunately, school systems do not always solve bullying issues but reaching out for help and having this bullying be documented is important. 
  • Talk through the bullying with your child and work with them on what to say or do. You want to ensure your child knows how to protect themselves first verbally and then physically. Talk through this process with them and give them suggestions on what to say or do should the bullying continue. 
  • Before encouraging your child to hit back in a bullying situation, you want to guarantee that your child knows how to defend themselves. This is best done by enrolling your child in a martial arts program where self-defense is taught. 

Along with a quality instructor either in person or online from your home, one of the best pieces of equipment that I can recommend is a sturdy heavy bag and a good pair of boxing gloves. Sometimes self defense comes down to a strong will and an equally strong strike or two. The second part of this can be honed using these two foundational pieces of equipment.

Check out these really fun and useful boxing gloves here on Amazon.

Also definitely get your Little Ninja one of these brand new high quality Century brand air filled punching and kicking bags from Amazon today.

Benefits of Self-Defense Courses for Children

When it comes to teaching self-defense and ‘hitting back’ against bullies, it is often best to enroll your child in classes where professional training is offered. If you’d like to read more, here’s another article I’ve written about the self-defense benefits of martial arts.

There are several martial arts programs that provide self-defense courses and can help your child protect themselves. For convenience and accessibility, online classes are a tremendous option. Find out more here. There are several amazing benefits to this style training, which we’ll discuss below.

Your Child Will Learn Solutions to Bullying

As we have mentioned, the chances of your child being bullied are high. If your child begins being bullied and you are not available to protect them, it is up to your child to protect themselves until they can find help from a supervising adult. The biggest problem is that the children who are often bullied are those who bullies feel cannot protect themselves.

In addition to teaching basic techniques for protecting themselves, martial arts classes also ensure students know when to use the techniques. Your child will be taught not only to protect themselves but to deflect bullying when possible.

Often, the benefits of martial arts classes alone can stop your child from being bullied by increasing their confidence. Bullies and the adult versions we know as thugs and criminals all look for the same thing. They seek out an easy target. The goal is to make your child less of an easy target.

This in itself can reduce your child’s chances of being singled out in the first place.

Martial Arts Is a Great Form of Exercise for Kids

While many young children are very active, each year this lowers with the increase in technology in the home. By enrolling your child in martial arts classes, they will get routine exercise. This can not only increase their ability to protect themselves but also increase their health and wellness. 

Your Kids Will Build Self Confidence 

When your child is not self-confident, they can actually become more likely to be bullied at school or other areas. Luckily, when children are enrolled in self-defense or martial arts classes, they can have a huge increase in self-confidence. These classes can actually lower their overall fears, increase pride, and build confidence with their newly found skills.

This goes hand in hand with teaching them to be responsible, character filled young men and women. My philosophy starts with how we raise our kids and who we allow to influence them. This is the foundation for building them into confident children that in many ways will make it unnecessary to have to hit back in the first place.

It Teaches Awareness of Surroundings and Spatial Awareness

You want to ensure that whichever martial arts program you enroll your child in offers self-defense specific classes. Often children who attend these classes specifically will be more aware of their surroundings and can identify when self-defense is needed. These skills can go far beyond their childhood and ensure that your child will know when to protect themselves or be more aware of their surroundings as they grow older. 

A major problem that many children face today is that they are naïve of the real dangers of the world. While these classes will protect children’s safety while practicing, they will also make them more aware of the real dangers they can come in contact with. Clearly this can help should there be a kidnapping or other harm comes to your child. 

Martial Arts Can Improve Child’s Behavior

If you have noticed that your child lacks concentration, self-control, or has been experiencing other behavioral issues, these classes can be very beneficial. Children who take self-defense classes are often taught not to act on impulse or to instigate violence, but to have stronger self-discipline. Many parents see behavioral improvements when their child attends these classes. 

Teach Your Child Self-Defense Against Bullying 

Preschool and elementary school aged children are often subject to bullying, which can be both detrimental to their mental and physical health. This leaves them feeling helpless to stop different kinds of abusive behaviors coming from other children.

Teaching your child to defend themselves against bullies can help stop the bullying, while keeping your child safe. The best way to ensure that your child can protect themselves fully against bullying and other dangers is by enrolling them in a martial arts class.


Mathew Booe

Mathew Booe is a father of four, husband to Jackie since 1994, retired international competitor with over 50 wins, an international seminar instructor, a master instructor of hundreds of Little Ninjas each week, and the one bringing you the great content like you just read. Sign up for the newsletter to hear about his upcoming books before they are released to the public.

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