Actually, I was very short growing up, as was my father when he was growing up. We both ended up above average after we stopped growing in our twenties, but we were definately short in our youth.
Anybody that has grown up short will tell you it is a brutal existence. Everybody loves to try to shove the short guy into the trash can. So you can either become adept at stealth and running or you can become a skilled fighter. We learn both from a very young age in my family, though we are not much for running.
My father began teaching me hand to hand combat at a young age, starting with basic boxing. I did much the same with my sons, but I began working with them before they could walk.
Fortunately as the twins have grown they have remained about average in height, so they have been able to avoid much of the conflict I had to deal with growing up, but if they had to...