It depends on the situation. I would aim to stand up to the bully, but there are times when I've had to just turn the other cheek. I think it is often a case of weighing up the scenario. If it was at work and it was an ongoing scenario, I would make use of the HR policies within my company and go down the route of trying to solve the issue, and if not I would have no hesitation to use my company's grievance procedure. If I encounter a bully in a one off scenario - e.g. in a restaurant, or casually when I am out with my children, I often turn the other cheek unless I suffer a detriment. The reason for this is that sometimes in life you have to pick your battles, and I'm not going to invest lots of emotional energy into situations that I can neither win, improve or resolve. I hate bullying, and I will be teaching my children to stand up for themselves, but there are some people in the world (kids and adults) that you just have to walk away from. For these people, I hope that karma does its things.
If you were bullied as a child, try not to personalize what is happening.
Don’t retaliate against the bully or his family.
Coach your child on how to react.
Bullies tend to pick on people who they can get a reaction from; they choose kids who get upset and who take the teasing to heart. They also look for kids who won’t stand up for themselves, or who they can overpower. It’s important to teach your child how to react.
Find a teacher or administrator at your child’s school who will help: Remember, it is the school’s responsibility to stop bullying; I think most take that seriously. The saving grace can be the guidance counsellor at school.
Take your child’s side.
Get support: Be sure to talk to your spouse or to supportive family or friends.
Teach your child to name what’s happening: For younger kids, it’s important to be able to name what’s happening as “bullying.” For a child who’s feeling picked on, it’s empowering to be able to really name it. They’re teaching a lot about bullying prevention in school these days and “bully” is such a negative word that it’s good for your child to be able to attach it to the behaviour.
This is truly empowering for many children and can work with older kids.
Unfortunately you encounter bullies in all facets of life - schools, workplaces, social organisations. Sad but true. Sometimes you stand up to them & they back right down because they don't expect to be challenged, other times you let them continue with their petty nasty little ways & it eventually dies down as they don't get a reaction.
I wrote a little article on Weekend Notes a while ago about dealing with workplace bullying - even when it's subtle, bullying can have an effect on your life when you're dealing with it every day.
http://www.weekendnotes.com/5-hints-to-beat-the-workplace-bully/ . Just writing the article made me feel better for some reason.
I also agree with helenonthesofa - you do sometimes have to pick your battles & many people are just not worth wasting your energy on. I also believe that karma will eventually come around & kick them in the butt (so to speak).