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Exclusive: Why Strictly's James Jordan is teaching Ella, 2, to fight back

The professional dancer is married to fellow Strictly star Ola Jordan


james jordan
Sophie Hamilton
Parenting Editor
February 3, 2023
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Parents, you know what it's like… you're in one of those chaotic soft plays when suddenly one child whacks another and all hell breaks loose. Should the child on the receiving end fight back or go and ask a parent to help?

This is a subject close to James Jordan's heart, as this exact scenario happened to his and Ola Jordan's two-year-old daughter, Ella, this week – and the former Strictly dancer feels very strongly about how Ella should react in situations like this.

WATCH: Strictly's James and Ola Jordan reveal Ella's tricky bedtime routine

Find out what James said on the matter in his parenting column with wife Ola Jordan below. Do you agree with him?

Ella gets hurt at the soft play

James: We were at a soft play this week and Ella was playing really nicely on her own. She had these big soft blocks that she was putting together. She was holding one of the blocks, then this little boy - who was probably a couple of years older than her - came and took it out of her hands.

She looked at me and she was about to cry, so I went: 'Go and get it back'. So she went and she got it back, because I want her to understand she's got to stand up for herself. I would never allow my daughter to be a bully and I would never let my child be picked on either.

So Ella went and took it back off him, and he smacked her straight in the face. He kept going for her as well – it wasn't like he did it once. Two mums close to him told him to stop and I went 'Oi!'.

With that, he obviously saw my face and he legged it round the other side to his mum.

MORE: James Jordan gets outpaced by daughter Ella in adorable clip

james jordan ella

Dad James Jordan with Ella

Ola: Ella was crying…

James: I said to her, 'Listen, it was really naughty that that boy hit. We never ever hit, ever.' 'But', I said, 'If someone hits you, you hit them back'.

I believe in this strongly. I know they don't teach that at school. I saw the other mums look at me as if to say, 'Oh, you can't say that'. But it's something I believe in strongly; it's the only way you stand up to bullies. If you get hit, and someone keeps hitting you and hitting you, what do you do? Do you go and tell the teacher, who does nothing?

So I will be teaching Ella to never hit. If she ever hits anyone, I will be disciplining her really toughly - but if someone hits her first, she hits them back so they never hit her again. And I believe in that.

Ola Jordan with daughter Ella© Photo: Instagram

Ola Jordan with her little girl

HELLO!: And what do you think about that Ola?

Ola: I was cringing when he was talking to Ella because the other two mums were listening. It's almost like it's wrong to say that to her, but in the other sense, I do understand because I want her to stand up for herself when she's in that situation. It's really hard.

James: You have to learn in this world that you've got to stand up for yourself. If someone attacks you, you have a human right to defend yourself. I believe in that really, really strongly.

I'm against physical violence – I would never hit anyone. I'd never be the first person to hit someone. But if someone hits me… be prepared, you're going to get one straight back. Violence is a horrible thing but you have the human right to defend yourself.

HELLO!: How did Ella react when you told her she can fight back?

James: She was kind of like 'Oh'. Ella, hitting is really bad isn't it?

Ella: Yeah. But I can push them back.

James: But you don't hit people do you? Unless someone hits you?

Ella: Yeah.

James: We're still not quite there yet…

Ella poses in coral outfit at home

James is teaching Ella how to stand up for herself

James is prepared for the backlash

James: You know what, I don't really care what the backlash is to my view, because that's what I'm going to do and no one can tell me how to bring up my child. I'm sure there will be all those woke people saying I can't do that, but I can.

Ola: If you're bullied, you need to protect yourself.

James: If someone says to me, 'We teach our child that hitting is wrong and if someone hits you, you go and find an adult, and that's how we deal with it', I'd say 'Well that's great for you.' I'm not saying that's wrong either, but if someone hits my child, she can hit them straight back!

If someone hit you in the street, you have the right to the right to defend yourself. People will say they're just kids, but they've got to understand now that it's wrong. Why was that boy hitting her in the first place?

Ola: Maybe if that boy's parent was there and the parent had reacted, then James might not have said that if the child apologised to Ella. But because the parent wasn't there and the kid was sort of aggressive towards her, then it's like hang on a minute. We couldn't do anything.

James: What if we're not there and someone does that to her? I want her to know how to stand up for herself but also how wrong it is, so I will teach her that as well.

HELLO!: Was Ella badly hurt?

James: She was alright. It's never nice to be hit in the face, is it? It definitely hurt her.

Ella jordan goes to nursery© Photo: Instagram

Ella likes nursery now

Ella finally likes nursery!

After months of not wanting to go to nursery, Ella is finally enjoying going and we’re thrilled for her.

Ola: Ella has been going into nursery quite well. She's still a bit teary at the door but she walks in and sees her friends go in and she's excited. Before, she would cry at home, cry in the car – the improvement is massive. Now she walks out of nursery really happy and says what a lovely day she had.

So the nursery is going so much better. At one point I didn't think there would be light at the end of the tunnel but we are. The teachers there say she's making lovely friendships as well, so it's really nice.

James: Ella is getting much more independent and confident, she's really growing up. That day at Bluewater, where the soft play is, Ella was walking around the shops saying danceshred.co.uk really loudly! It's the website for our new fitness programme.

Ola: It was funny, but I was like, 'Ella, that's really getting embarrassing now!'

Ola and James' night away from Ella…

James: We went to a place called The Cave in Canterbury.

Ola: It was amazing! James went there before me to play golf in the day, and before I left home I told Ella we were going away for the night. My nieces got here to look after Ella for us and as I was getting ready Ella was going, 'Mummy bye! Have a lovely day!' I couldn't believe it. There wasn't even one tear.

We're seeing this big change in her from nursery, being able to stay with other people. She's like a different child.

Ola Jordan sleeps with daughter Ella

Ola with her daughter Ella

So I got in my car and it was like a disappointment that she didn't cry. Then when I was driving there, I thought, wow this is so nice. I always used to feel so bad leaving Ella if she was crying and didn't want us to go out. But she was so happy.

It meant I could relax and have a lovely night, and we did. Mummy had a few too many and mummy's head was really sore the next day!

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