20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2007
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.
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2010
Upon reading *Bullyproof Your Child for Life*, [Perigee Books, New York; August, 2007] by Joel Haber, Ph.D., with Jenna Glatzer, I was struck by how closely Dr. Haber's views on the subject of school bullying mirror my own as stated on my website. Dr. Haber is a clinical psychologist and has used his years of experience to formulate an anti-bullying program that I find to be exceptional. Just reading this book will provide invaluable insights into the dynamics of school bullying, the psychology of bullies and victims and the repercussions of bullying for both groups as well as for student bystanders.
Anyone who has read "Pride's Prison" (my free access internet short story regarding school bullying,) or has read my articles on my website, will readily surmise that the following quote from his book would alone serve to endear me to Dr. Haber's approach to school bullying:
"Bullying is meant to humiliate, and it does its job quite well. Often bullied kids are so embarrassed that they don't even want to tell their parents." [Chapter 2, page 37]
But Dr. Haber does not let the subject rest merely with this observation. He goes on to instruct parents how to approach youngsters tactfully if parents suspect their kids are having a problem at school with bullying. He advises what to ask kids, how to phrase matters and what to avoid asking to avoid the stock answer of "Fine" such questioning routinely engenders.
Dr. Haber explodes the myth that school bullies are kids lacking in self-esteem and thus they attempt to inflate their egos at the expense of others. On the contrary, bullies tend to be kids who do not lack self-esteem, but are aggressive and lack empathy for victims: the very definition of evil as formulated by Dr. Gustave Gilbert, the U. S. Army psychologist at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. Bullies will continue to push beyond the boundaries of socially acceptable behavior as long as they feel as though they can get away with it.
The author defines the underlying basis for bullying as an imbalance of power which bullies exploit to enhance their own social status within the school's pecking order. The exact reason (too fat, skinny, etc.) why a victim is targeted is simply a pretext, exactly as I have stated on my website.
Dr. Haber (quite rightfully) advises against trying to reason with bullies by appealing to their sensibilities. He states:
"This is wishful thinking, and works only when you're not dealing with a true bully. True bullies don't have empathy--at least not for your child. They do not care that they've hurt your child's feelings...in fact, that's exactly what they want." [Chapter 2, page 67]
Neither does he feel (again, quite correctly) that in most cases appealing to a bully's parents will have much effect under the adage (that I also noted within one of my articles) that: "The acorn never falls far from the tree."
Student bystanders remain silent in the face of bullying, even if they are sympathetic to the victim, for two reasons as Dr. Haber explains. Firstly, they are afraid to try to intervene because they fear losing social status and becoming targets themselves. Secondly, they view the victim as a sort of metaphorical lightening rod; i.e., "Thank God it's not me."
Part of his school bullying program is to attempt to instill within the typical school kid a sense of duty to resist aggression against other kids as not being acceptable. This emphasis on the role of the bystander within Dr. Haber's paradigm echoes the high degree of importance that John Halligan places upon the role of bystanders within his school lectures regarding his late son's case.
Once a parent becomes aware of a problem regarding school bullying, Dr. Haber presents (Chapter 4, pages 118-119) a series of steps parents can take to tackle the problem, from first to last resorts; ranging from working with a child to have him or her try to solve the problem himself or herself, to invoking the legal system, with seven suggested steps in-between. Working with a youngster to improve his or her social skills is one I advocate myself and suggest in my first article regarding Tourette's Syndrome, which would be applicable to many youngsters who do not suffer from that affliction.
Removing a child from a school is not a remedy that Dr. Haber advises in most cases as such denies a child the opportunity to learn from the episode and improve his or her social skills, and it also often proves ineffectual as well. Dr. Haber observes that often such children seem to have a "neon sign" above their heads indicating that they are victims which bullies at another school will soon pick up upon. Of course, the same aspects of the youngster that rendered him or her a victim at the former school will remain with him or her, with the added onus of the child becoming the new kid at school.
Dr. Haber also reviews sample anti-bullying programs that have been instituted at various schools and contributes recommendations. I particularly appreciated his point of increasing monitoring, including hidden cameras, of areas within the school environment that tend to be less well supervised, such as hallways, lunch rooms and school buses. Holding schools accountable to provide safe atmospheres in which children can function and learn without fear of harassment is an approach I wholeheartedly endorse, along with approaches that work with youngsters directly.
I do not prefer to address the issue of school bullying as one based upon morality. What is the point of attempting to argue morality with school sadists and their parents? Instead, I prefer to view the issue as a contractual one. School professionals are well paid to deliver a service, and they have a legal obligation to fulfill their end of that contract with parents who are paying for their services with taxes or tuition.
The only area of disagreement I have with Dr. Haber's philosophy as recounted within his book is the same one I have with most anti-bullying experts. I hold that true bullying only encompasses acts of commission and not acts of omission. I do not consider social exclusion to be an act of bullying, though certainly spreading false rumors about a youngster is an act of commission. I simply argue for a child's right to be left alone if he or she is acting likewise towards others.
Children have the same right of free association as do adults, and it is up to each person, adult or child, to navigate his or her way through the social environment. Each person must learn that self-esteem must never be dependent on the attitudes of others towards one's self. It is the height of foolishness to peg one's sense of self-worth to that which one cannot control.
Other than that point, I am in full agreement with Dr. Haber's views as expressed in his book, and I unreservedly recommend it to all parents and educators as the best work on the subject I have yet encountered. Dr. Haber possess a perceptive grasp of child psychology and has used his years of experience within the field to produce a book that could well make a profound difference in the lives of school kids and their parents alike.
In addition to school bullying, Dr. Haber's book tackles other areas of bullying that are beyond the scope of my website, though might well be of great interest to parents of kids in such environments as sports teams and camps.
Although I do not sell anything at all on my website, and have absolutely no association with Dr. Haber or his book, I am so impressed with this landmark educational work regarding school bullying that I refer my readers to its Amazon page where it may be purchased.
As Dr. Haber points out, adults usually have the option of simply avoiding unpleasant people. All too often, kids feel trapped within a poisonous atmosphere. That is exactly how I felt, particularly while in the sixth grade. I felt like I was trapped in a cage with wild animals conducted by a sadistic ringmaster ("Sister Mary Peter"). For such youngsters' sake, investigate this book which just might save some child's very life.
Author of "Pride's Prison"
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2007
Thank you Dr. Haber! Thank you for this helpful informative book. I could not recommend it more highly for parents and teachers. We are all touched by bullying at some level. This book is a useful aid no matter your vantage point. From the first page I was amazed at just how much I didn't know and hadn't thought of. The best part-the book is readable, not a textbook or a dry manual. But a book that talks in plain language and really does give useable suggestions. You helped me and my children. Thank you
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2008
Seriously, did you know today's bullies have high self esteem but often lack empathy? This is why they feel "better" after they put someone down. From discussing the three major types of bullying (verbal, physical and relational) to listing the methods used including cyber bullying (the use of modern day technology to execute any or all of the above methods of bullying s/a text messages, internet and you tube to actually broadcast bullying episodes to a much larger audience while the perpetrators remain anonymous.)
Author Joel Haber, (along with Jenna Glatzer) helps parents and anyone in constant contact with children decipher the reasons bullying is so prevalent in our schools and what we can do about it. He discusses prevention and awareness in many situations including how aggression and competition in sports encourages bullying. He discusses the importance of helping children become accepting of adversity (s/a special needs children.) Haber also lists signs a child is being bullied and the importance of talking to your child whether he/she is a target of the bully or the actual bully.
This book with chapter titles s/a The Bullyproofing Prescription or Bullying in Sports/School/Camp/Cyberworld offers a straightforward approach to effectively dealing with one of our nation's most degrading crimes occuring in our schools everyday. This book serves as an eye opener to any parent or school service provider.
We can't let bullying be ignored.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
If you're reading these reviews then you're obviously concerned about bullying and are looking for a book to help you deal with the situation.
If you're in that mess right now with your kid, the best thing I can say is for you to get involved right away and let your child know that you are absolutely on their side. Also listen, listen, listen to your child in a non-judgemental way. That will help immediately. Oh and listen, it's really important that your child can talk to you.
For this book. I am finding it to be a very good resource. I haven't read it yet from cover to cover, I'm still in the beginning and I can say that already it's very good.
The author is the leading authority of bully stopping measures in the U.S. at the time of writing this review. He does coaching all over the U.S. to schools and summer camp programs on how to help kids stop bullying.
I very much appreciate the way he explains things on a conceptial level because for me that works with my learning style, but he doesn't spend alot of time there. He then goes into examples and specific ways to deal with bullies. I also find that very helpful.
So far the picture that I'm getting as a concerned parent about to send his son to school for the first time is that what we do as parents in the home, our parenting style, the way we set up the home "emotional" environment, the way the parents treat each other, and the way we treat our child are the most important in making our child "bullyproof."
I supose this could alarm some folks but for me I am relieved because that means I have the power to fix the problem by looking at the man in the mirror. I don't have to go out and move mountains, instead I can work to improve my relationship with my wife and son, and continue to improve my character.
Notice that nothing has been said about going and getting training in how to fight. The author talks about that and to be blunt beating up the bullies really isn't the most effective way to deal with them. For those folks who don't like to fight, this will come as a huge relief. The wonderful thing is that the author gives some pretty clever methods that your child can use to work around the bully. Furthermore, there are some very socially graceful ways that can be used to deflect their harrassment.
For example here's a method I thought was just too clever: if your child is being harassed then they go to a favorite or trusted teacher or coach and just strike up a conversation with them. On the surface it seems completely innocent. But what it is doing is giving your child immediate adult supervision which makes it impossible for the bully to function. What's clever about it is that it is non-violent and nobody has to be the wiser. It is also socially graceful.
Having methods like this is really where the power lies. A bully is trying to steal power by using their anger and aggression, by pushing people around. But these methods directly take away what the bully wants. A child who learns these techniques will go a long way towards being socially intelligent and graceful.
And finally, the author makes it a point that the child must be a part of the solution. We all encounter this unacceptable aggression in our adult lives. By allowing the child to become learned in how to handle bullies at a young age when we can be a big part of the solution, we are helping them prepare for their adult lives.
And if you're in that mess right now with your child, you can take immediate comfort in what I am saying. This may seem horrible and it certainly is unfair treatment, but it is also an opportunity. It's an opportunity to learn how to deal with this situation in a positive way. Yes it is terrible that an innocent kid is being mistreated, but this is a chance for your child to learn how to handle them in an intelligent manner. And then they'll know how to do that for life.
I fully recommend this book as well as another one, The Bully, The Bullied, and The Bystander which is another outstanding book on the subject by a respected author.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2008
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is one of the best.
Opens new perspectives to understanding of bullying.
Very helpfull and practical.
Thanks to the author. Great work.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2007
This is a great, easy to read guide to helping your kid with any bullying issue. I liked Dr. Haber's analysis of the core issues behind bullying which, as it turns out, are the keys to stopping the behavior. I would highly recommend the book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2007
Dr. Haber first came to the school district where I work as an Occupational Therapist and made a big impact with his "ABC" bully proof strategies. It is wonderful to now have such an easy read with sensible strategies that both parents and teaching professionals can benefit from. Most everyone has experienced bullying on some level. Awareness and understanding are at the forefront of how to deflect and protect oneself or one's child from the harsh effects of bullying. Thank you for your compassion and well thought out support Dr. Haber!
on September 12, 2013
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Outstanding. Very relevant information. Even gets parents to look at our own behavior and roles. (Who knows, it may help make a little bit of peace with your own childhood, whether you were the target or the bully!) I was so happy with this book, I now have a few friends hoping to borrow my copy. If you have a toddler, teen or in between, READ IT. Wish I could travel back 30 years in time and give copies to all parents in the elementary school I attended! It's not a difficult read, and is worthwhile. Also has special sections for kids with special needs, disabilities, as well as in school, camp, cyberworld, and sports. Breaks topic down into manageable bites. Blows away old-school bullying myths. LOVED IT.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is a worthwile book for those who care about their children, and how to deal with the potential bullies that their children will face in life.
Well written and easy to read, it makes for a good gift for close friends and family.
I'm only sorry that it stopped before it got to adult bullies!