Originally Published: November 13, 2016 5:53 a.m.
Editor’s note: Letters to Rhonda and Dr. Cheri come from around the U.S. via our website and are not necessarily from Prescott.
Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I’m in my late 60’s and come from a European family. I was the oldest girl with five older brothers.
My parents were strict and I couldn’t go on a date until I was 18 years old.
When I was in junior high, a big-mouthed student called me a foul name. I jumped on her and knocked her out.
I was expelled from school for fighting.
The counselor told me that girl was a troublemaker who was also expelled.
I was told to stay out of trouble and my record would be erased clean.
What worried me the most was that my father would think ill of me because I was expelled. He meant the world to me and I wanted him to be proud of me.
When he found out why I was expelled, he hugged me and said, “You should have hit her harder!”
Then I fought anyone who said anything disrespectful to me about my character. I got a reputation for being tough.
My point is, I had supportive large family who believed in me. I didn’t need outside approval. My family was my world.
I’m sorry others that are bullied don’t have the courage to take a stand.
The real problem is the breakdown of families and their love and support for each other.
Maybe having fistfights like I did would help girls have strength to fight back.
You will never stop bullying so you better get used to it and learn how to fight back so you won’t become a victim from others opinions of you.
Good old-fashioned fist-fighter
Dear Old Fashioned,
While we don’t condone fighting except in self-defense, we see some excellent points in your old-fashioned thinking:
- You learned how to sacrifice, which always helps us to be stronger and have more empathy towards others.
- You respected your parents’ boundaries, not because of a fear of getting into trouble, but because you love your parents.
- Your parents helped you learn the value of being obedient because of love and mutual respect.
- You gained self-worth from learning that you can control and discipline your own self, plus you learned your parents’ wisdom and cautions.
- We do NOT condone violence, except in self-defense, but we do condone standing up for yourself. The best way to do that is to stand tall and look the bully or antagonist in the eye and then walk away. Don’t ignore them. You stop bullies by acknowledging them but not engaging with them.
- While your father taught you well to stand up for yourself, and while he was proud you hit someone and said you should’ve hit harder, we hope you learned it’s good to stand up for yourself, but it’s not good to use violence against violence.
- You resisted peer pressure.
- You learned that having a close family whom you may trust is everything.
- You learned having a good family (no matter how big) is the key to feeling loved, connected and supported.
If you believe in God, His approval is what’s needed.
The real problem now is the break-down of families, because, unlike others, they should love you unconditionally.
While we appreciate your counselor’s suggestion to stay out of trouble, we do not like you being compared to another person. Compare yourself to yourself.
One more factor: You never have to get used to bullying. It’s best fought by our philosophy, “Define Yourself Before Others Do.” Don’t listen to the definitions and labels from others … no matter their source.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri
Rhonda Orr is the president and founder of the Prescott-based Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation. Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Send your anonymous questions to Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org. Find out more about Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation at www. rhondastopbullying.org. Contact us about our “Why Not?”program.