Bullying today looks nothing like bullying 15 years ago. While many of the things we know about bullying from our childhood years remain true, bullies can now follow their victims 24/7 using the Internet and cell phones. Bullyproof Your Child for Life quotes the National Girl Scouts Research Institute and Harris Interactive report, which states the number one fear of girls ages 8 through 17 is teasing. This topped war, terrorism, and natural disasters.
The media and parents also contribute to the increasing occurrences of bullying. We see more violence on TV, commercials, video games, song lyrics. Furthermore, many parents don’t realize they’re setting a poor example for their children. For example, Haber shares an experience in talking with a mother who approaches him in a coffee shop. She asks for help with her child’s reputation as a gossip. Haber advises her only to hear that he meets her friends at their table where she proceeds to gossip about a neighbor. Bewildering, isn’t it?
The book begins with details about bullying and why it happens. Chapter two offers tactics for dealing with a bullying situation. The rest of the book explores situations, what works, and what doesn’t work.
The rest of the book’s contents follow the coffee shop example in telling stories and offering clear and understandable advice without the jargon. Accompanying every chapter are stories related to its topic, which cover bullying in school, camp, sports, and online.
Books in this category of non-fiction where the topic is painful and not fun can easily turn into books for helping people fall asleep at night. Haber and Glatzer do a first-rate job of using the tone needed for this sensitive topic. It doesn’t get emotionally heavy nor does it scare the reader. There are a couple of grim stories in the book — rightfully so — and the authors follow up with details and support.
I also appreciate the chapter on special needs and disability harassment especially as a person who is deaf. The chapter gives greater focus on educating others to prevent them from bullying special needs children. It briefly goes into how to help a special needs child who is the subject of bullying. However, much of the advice throughout the book can help special needs children and work in most situations no matter where they occur.
Stopping a bully doesn’t happen overnight, but Bullyproof Your Child for Life avoids overwhelming the reader with its doable suggestions. While the book doesn’t require reading from cover to cover, it’s beneficial to read the whole thing once — it’s surprisingly a fast and easy read. Parents, educators, and adults working with children can refer back to find what they need and take action based on the advice.
- Title: Bullyproof Your Child for Life: Protect Your Child from Teasing, Taunting, and Bullying for Good
- Author: Joel Haber, Ph.D. with Jenna Glatzer
- Publisher: Perigee
- ISBN: 0399533184
- Date: August 2007
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 304
- Cover Price: USD: $14.95; Amazon: $10.17