Life Lessons: Bullying & Controlling

This story I am about to share is an amazing example of where we learn our life lessons and how we automatically react to others when they give us pain. What do our instincts tell us to do and what actually works.

My son had a significant life challenge, he had suddenly become the target of school bullies at 12 years old. Physically smaller than many of the other boys he felt vulnerable and powerless to do anything. This was terrifying time for him!

I knew for him he was about to learn an important lesson…

The school has a policy that all bullying has to be reported. So following these rules he reported them. The school instantly punished the bullies and called my wife and I to explain their plan.

The challenge now is that as the bullies were punished my son became more of a target.

The reason was instead of helping those children that were bulling the school punished them. In effect the school without knowing became the bully, teaching the bullies that bullying worked.

The result as I expected was the punishment the school dished out just made his life worse. The bullies now had even more of a reason to attack my son.

So as my son sat in his room on a Sunday evening crying at the thought of another day at school I sat him down and explained what was happening.

Now I knew he was driven by significance at a needs level. I decided to help him using this core need.

So I explained that for him to stop the bullying he had to take control, initially he liked the idea. Then I told him that my plan was to use his need for significance to help those around him feel good about themselves in the context of him.

I told him that I would give him some money and he would treat everyone in his class to some sweets. This included the bullies.

With tears in his eyes and anger in his voice he instantly rejected my plan. “NO WAY!” he screamed at me! He wanted revenge, he wanted them to feel pain, he wanted to see them in trouble. “They are not going to get away with this!” he barked at me.

Whilst I understood his reaction I also knew it would make his life worse. I made sure he understood the choices available to him combined with the possible outcomes. I then left him with these thoughts. I trusted his mind to find the right answer for him.

After an hour he came to see me, head down he agreed reluctantly to put my plan into action.

The first day he did nothing, on the second day he went to the shop before school and purchased enough sweets for the whole class.

He picked his moment and announced to his class that he had bought sweets and they were all welcome to take one. One by one he smiled and handed out sweets to everyone including the bullies.

Some of the bullies thanked him and sheepishly apologised for what they had done to him days before. The leader of this group reluctantly came over said nothing and took his sweet grunted and walked off.

What happened next was amazing. My son had clearly listened to my words about using his significance to help others feel great about themselves when they are with him.

Without my knowledge he had gone onto YouTube and learnt a few magic tricks. He performed these tricks to his class he then proceeded to teach the class how to do it.

For the rest of that day his class mates and the bullies were going around the school showing off their new magic skills.

His class mates and the bullies all started to feel great about themselves and my son was the source of their pleasure.

The bullying stopped that day!

That day he learnt a life lesson that many fail to get. That failure to recieve the right information as a child can affect their whole life as they grow into adults.

My sons initial reaction of wanting to punish and cause pain to those causing him pain is what I see couples doing in their relationships everyday.

Where did they learn this? At a very young age at home and at school. Even the schools teach that punishment is what you do when someone does you a wrong.

So think about this, do you ever feel more love when your partner punishes you?

The chances are your answer is no, so if it doesn’t work why do it? You will destroy the one thing you want to keep. Pulling love away is a punishment!

So as you can see there is another way, if you contribute in a way that helps those around you feel good about themselves when they are with you, your experience of how life works can change in an instant just like it did for my son.

  • The solution is easy: Give to others, give love and contribute to their happiness!
About Stephen Hedger

International relationship expert Stephen Hedger's philosophy on relationship problems is this: Couples fail to understand their relationships because they are too focused on their problems and so they totally miss what created them. Stephen's approach is a refreshing and enlightening journey that helps couples uncover their truth. His strategies uncover the knowledge that all couples need to create a successful and lasting passionate connection. If you are in crisis and you need help, book an initial consultation today to get your life back on track.


  1. Hi Stephen, its Carol here , I saw you back in Nov/ Dec with my husband James.

    Just wanted to comment on your blog about your son and his bullying.

    It must be amazing to have the skills to deal with such a dificult and painful sitiation , not much worse than seeing your children in pain. Being able to give the right advice and to see the amazing results of it.

    I was taught as a child to ignore bullies and to not give them the satisfaction that they are hurting you. This worked well as a child but as an adult in a relationshp with your husband , how is ignoring their hurtful words and actions going to help, how does it bring you closer? Well obviously it never does , it just makes you feel like youve won the battle , and who wants to live life in a battle , even if you are winning?

    I hope you are well.



    • Stephen Hedger says:

      Hi Carol…

      …and thank you for your comment. The messages we learn growing up have a profound affect on our lives as adults

      It’s critcal that as adults we arm our children for success through understanding.

      Great to hear from you.

      Warmest regards

      Stephen Hedger