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Bullies to Buddies: How to Turn Your Enemies Into Friends Paperback – January 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-8 - Kalman shines the spotlight mostly on verbal insults and name calling. His point of view is that, "When victims stop being victims, bullies stop being bullies." He advocates living by the Golden Rule and seeks to empower students by teaching them to turn anger into humor, fear into courage, and enemies into friends through verbal exchanges and body language. Four sections, "Understanding Life," "General Rules," "Some Good Advice," "Specific Situations," and corresponding multiple-choice quizzes organize the themes. Humorous spot drawings are scattered throughout. Kids are discouraged from telling adults that they are being browbeaten unless stealing or extreme physical violence is involved; telling is said to be unhelpful and even counterproductive. The larger picture of bullying outside of the school is explored as well, but there is no discussion of discerning abuse that is mental and emotional from the more easily recognized form of childish insults. This book is not for schools where guns and knives are already prevalent but has some good ideas for quelling youth anger. While letters from schools and quotes from social workers attest to the success of Kalman's ideas, the book would probably be best used by teachers gleaning ideas and passing them on to students, rather than teaching the entire book, which tends to blame the victim and minimize the psychological damage that bullying can cause. - Kelly Czarnecki, Bloomington Public Library, IL
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Easy to read and practical guide on how Victims can break behavior patterns seemingly deeply entrenched --Dr. Bernie Stein, President of the International School Psychology Association, 1999-2001

Empowers victims of bully behaviors to move to a higher ground, a safer place where they can't be hurt.; Izzy's 6 rules in communication helps me get more of what I need and everyone comes out a winner! --George Anthony, Director, Peace Dynamics Consultants

Finally, a program that works near miracles in helping victims to deal with bullies. After more than two years of implementing Izzy s principles, the students at William Snyder Elementary School smile at one another with confidence. Our school climate is pleasant and conducive to learning. Discipline referrals for bullying behaviors have decreased significantly. Teachers can now teach more because the kids are handling their own issues. And (drum roll here)...our test scores are going UP. In a school where the population is 63% Hispanic, our school reached every testing goal. In my 15 years as a school counselor, I have never seen a more effective social skills program. This one is pure genius. --Jeannie Brewer, School Counselor, Snyder Elementary, Las Vegas, Nevada

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 and up
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Pages; Third edition edition (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0970648219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970648211
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.8 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Israel "Izzy" Kalman is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist and psychotherapist with over thirty years work experience and Director of Bullies to Buddies, Inc. He has developed a unique approach for teaching people how to quickly and easily solve their interpersonal problems through the practical application of the Golden Rule. For the past decade he has been working full time giving seminars to mental health professionals and educators throughout the country under the auspices of Cross Country Education. Izzy is author/creator of and writes a Psychology Today blog on bullying called, A Psychological Solution to Bullying.

My name is Israel C. "Izzy" Kalman. I have been working as a school psychologist and psychotherapist since 1978. For close to three decades, I've been intensively helping victims of bullying, initially children and after a few years, adults as well, for I realized that the same principles apply to interpersonal problems throughout the lifetime. More recently, I have been teaching these methods to mental health professionals and educators primarily throughout the United States and Canada. The methods I have developed I believe are the quickest, easiest, and most natural that exist, and are consistent with all major schools of psychology, philosophy and religion.

I had been an expert in bullying for over a decade before the Columbine shooting made bullying a household concern but hadn't realized it because I had never thought of the behaviors I was dealing with as "bullying." Bullying had been an obscure field within psychology that few mental health professionals ever studied. When I saw how "bullying" was being defined, I learned that I had been treating victims of "bullying" all those years.

Because of Columbine, the psychological and educational communities went to the academic literature to learn about bullying and found a field that had been created by a Norwegian researcher, Prof. Dan Olweus. All the subsequent work on bullying was based on his definitions, research and recommendations. The United States and most of the modern world began intensively implementing anti-bullying programs based on the teachings of Dan Olweus.

However, when I examined his approach to bullying, I saw that it contradicted almost everything that I had learned in the psychological helping professions. Rather than helping kids learn how to deal with being bullied, this new approach required professionals to act as law enforcement officers protecting kids from each other, taking the side of victims against their bullies, and apprehending, interrogating and punishing bullies. I knew that this approach couldn't possibly work, for when we do this at home with our own kids, it leads to constant fighting, makes them angry at us as well, and prevents them from learning how to deal with each other on their own. How could an approach that leads to intensive sibling rivalry at home possibly create harmony in school?

I therefore decided to create a website that would teach kids, parents and schools how to deal with bullying and aggression by applying established psychological principles. Before long, I left my job as a school psychologist with the New York City Department of Education so that I could devote myself full time to teaching and creating materials for dealing with bullying.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Steward on September 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is well-intended, but I can't see it working for seriously bullied children. It won't help either the bully or the bullied.

This is what he wants the bullied child to do:
Rule 1: Refuse to get mad.
Rule 2: Treat everything as the words of your best friend.
Rule 3: Don't be afraid of bullies.
Rule 4: Don't attack bullies.
Rule 5: Don't defend yourself.
Rule 6: Don't tell on bullies.
Rule 7: Show you are hurt, not angry. From page 33, Turning Bullies into Buddies - the Secret)
(Rules 1-5) Can you see a seriously bullied child being able to pull all that off?
(Rule 6) The not telling on bullies really bothers me. He makes exceptions for blood, broken bones, breaking or stealing your possessions; that's it. So kicking and screaming at you don't count?
(Rule 7) So he wants you to say, "That really hurt" and be careful to not sound angry (page 48) and somehow that will make it better. I think that hurting you is probably just as satisfying for the bully as angering you. I think it leaves the bullied more vulnerable; the last thing we need.

I think these ideas would work great for someone who need help dealing with some abrasive friends, but in no way can I see it helping some kid who is being seriously bullied by one or more kids.

He also makes a serious case for not helping other kids who are being bullied, to just be a bystander. That bothers me.

I agree with the concept of toughening up the bullied kid, but I don't think this book will help with that. I also think that something needs to be done about serious bullies and this book doesn't even touch on that.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By mayalibre on April 16, 2014
Format: Paperback
It's surprising that this psychologist believes that all bullies are the same, or that they can be handled in the same way. In the Enneagram typology, there's a "type 8" person who's basically aggressive as a way of testing others, and doesn't respect anyone who doesn't stand up for themselves. But when their target does fight back, they've earned the bully's trust, a bond is built and they become solid friends. This is a useful concept for anyone to understand, including adults. Sometimes people are just testing you.

But this is FAR different from a bully who is acting out out of deep disempowerment, usually from being abused themselves or living in a household with domestic violence, and attempting to elevate himself or herself by keeping others down. The underlying unconscious motive of these bullies isn't to test whether the other person has a backbone. It's to empower themselves at the expense of others. Thus, the more their victims appease, the more abusive they become because it proves their strategy works.

Sadly, an honest look at the dynamics of domestic violence shows clearly that continued appeasement of a bully or abuser does not result in a healthier more solid relationship -- quite the opposite. In the Cycle of Violence, the victim spirals down through a series abusive episodes, followed by honeymoon periods and then increasingly abusive episodes, losing all sense of self as they continue to try to "please" their abuser. The myth that fuels this is the myth Karman perpetrates -- that we can control the behaviour of others.

Put it this way: This second type of bully doesn't understand or accept the kind of equilibrium that Karman assumes, where if you do good to someone they will do good back to you. Their primary motivation is "power over".
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Fauxfyr on July 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
The general idea behind this book is great: Don't give the bullies your power and they'll get bored and go away. The message that YOU are causing bullies to bully you (as if the bullies have no ownership of their lack of integrity) and that you should never tell an adult about the bullying (because hey, an adult is not capable of explaining to you "don't give the power to the bullies and they will get bored and leave you alone", right?) is so far off it ruins the rest of the book.

This book is correct that the bully is looking to upset you, and the more you react, the more they will bother you. It misses the mark when it tells you that if you just be nice to that guy who keeps pouring milk on your head at lunch every day, everything will be OK. That would be true if you wanted to be part of milk drencher's goon squad. But every bullying case needs to be addressed on an individual basis. True, sometimes people will bully you because you aren't "friendly" enough (you don't kowtow to them like their minions do), and learning how to be friendly to people is a good life skill, but do you WANT to be friends with people like that? Really?

I have to tell you, my son is a nice kid. He knows a lot of people, but only a few he calls friend. He has the world's longest fuse and doesn't let bullies bother him. But one day, a bully who had been hassling him for years picked on one of his classmates, and my son grabbed the bully by the lapels, shoved him against the wall and told him to leave the other kids alone. (Where was the teacher? No one knows...) The bully never bothered my son (or the classmate, or anyone else for that matter) again. Left the school the following year. Individual case. Being nice didn't cut it.
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