53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2006
This is a great book for both the home and the classroom. The story itself is realistic and poignant and makes the distinction between "tattling" and "reporting." When D.J. is teased unmercifully by Vince, D.J.'s life becomes miserable and he begins to feel like a "loser." Fortunately, he finds support from both his family and his teacher, and they help him develop some coping skills which not only enable him to deal constructively with the bully but also enable him to support his friends when they are the objects of the bully's attacks. The Foreward by Stan Davis, founder of [...] provides a valuable overview of the issue of bullying as well as suggestions about how to help family members deal with the problem. This is a valuable resource for both the home and the classroom. Highly Recommended!
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Trudy Ludwig is a genius and understands the deleterious effect of teasing and peer cruelty and bullying. Bullying is not limited to children. In some cases, teachers, bosses and co-workers have also been involved in bullying tactics. Many companies provide handbooks of unacceptable behavior, among which is often included "blocking somebody's path; verbal or physical coercion of any person on these premises or during the usual course of business...zero tolerance policy."
D.J., a tween (8-12 years) faces his nemesis Vince, who hounds, heckles and harasses him. Whenever D.J. complains that Vince is verbally drawing blood, the latter gives him the stock comment of he's just kidding and can't D.J. take a joke. I have known adults do this to children and believe me, that does NOT engender good feelings nor teach humor. When adults do this to children, it makes children feel like they have no recourse and that "sense of humor" means endure somebody having fun at their expense. It teaches deceit, e.g. going along and pretending to find it funny; avoiding dressing downs and questioning the existence of their OWN senses of humor when all the while resentment and erosion of esteem is building.
However, peer teasing escalates to physical violence as is shown in this story. Vince steps up his verbal abuse of D.J. and humiliates him in front of their teammates. That is bad enough, but when he starts hitting D.J. on the bus, D.J. knows he has to take his concerns to someone who can help.
D.J.'s dad gives him bad advice when he says D.J. can't fight back verbally or physically to Vince. We all know that ignoring bullies often steps up their harassment campaign. Luckily, the boy's father takes D.J.'s concerns to his teacher, who wisely includes the school counselor.
I've been targeted by bullies and I've seen this time and again. I was told to "deal with it;" "s/he's only kidding;" "can't you take a joke;" "where's your sense of humor" and I even had teachers do this. In one case, a teacher wrote that a child was "happier than ever" because the child stopped verbally objecting to the teacher's snide personal comments, cloaked in the guise of "humor." Whenever that child objected, the child was upbraided for not having a sense of humor and how important it is to laugh at oneself. Horse feathers! The child was NOT happier than ever; this was a child with Asperger's who was "giving the desired response" so as to avoid disfavor and further repercussions, all of which was disclosed during later interviews.
That is what NOT to do when a child is being hounded by bullies. No child should be taught to be a silent, emotional masochist and accept this kind of treatment from anyone. There is NO excuse for it and it is paramount to defend one's own child instead of making excuses for Other People's Children. In recent years, I have seen adults on talk shows describe how heckling and harmful peers have impacted their current lives and hurt their esteem.
I recommend this book along with MY SECRET BULLY and SORRY. No parent or educator should be without these three gems of wisdom.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2006
In Just Kidding, author Trudy Ludwig addresses the painful topic of teasing and peer exclusion.
How does a child handle teasing when the laughter stops and hurt feelings begin? This is exactly what D.J. must face when his friend Vince takes teasing too far. First it begins with Vince calling D.J. a loser, but then escalates the teasing by making fun of D.J. in front of their soccer teammates. The final straw comeswhen Vince moves from verbal taunting to physical harassment on the school bus. Feeling angry and frustrated, D.J. turns to his dad for help.
With coaching from his dad and brother, D.J. learns to diffuse Vince's attacks with humor and non-rebuttal. His dad reminds him that, "You can't say or do anything mean back to the teaser." But when those skills don't work, D.J.'s dad addresses the problem with his teacher, which ultimately causes Vince to meet with the school counselor in order to address the problem of bullying his classmates.
As a mother I've seen and heard the taunts that children use against one another. Too many times I've heard parents tell their crying child to "deal with it" or to "just ignore whoever is bothering you", but that advice doesn't lend itself to resolving the issue at hand. In fact, more times than not, children who tease, only increase their taunts when they're ignored.
As parents and educators, it is important that we listen to the children in our lives and step in to protect them when others are abusive and purposefully hurtful. There is never an excuse for bullying and our children should not be taught to ignore or tolerate this behavior from others.
If you want an excellent book that addresses this sticky topic, I highly recommend Just Kidding. This straightforward story will open the door to the world of teasing, enabling parents and teachers to help put a stop to this negative behavior.
Armchair Interviews says: The skill sets shared in this book will help empower our children to interact with each other in a fun, caring and compassionate manner
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2006
As a mother of four boys (ages 6 - 14), I rejoiced in discovering the book Just Kidding! Whether it is at school, home, or in the community, Trudy Ludwig has accurately addressed the challenging and sometimes hurtful relationships that our children inevitably experience. Whether a child is teased, bullied, or simply the subject of a joke, the book shows him or her that they are not alone and gives practical strategies to turn a bad situation around. It so skillfully teaches parents and other adults what they can do to help children through these all-too-common circumstances. It is enlightening to realize that so many of the things that we (adults) are in the habit of saying in response to a child asking for help are actually adding to the growing problem of bullying and relational aggression! Every home and classroom would benefit from embracing the concepts and putting the strategies into practice. A real treasure!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2010
I am a school counselor and I love this book up and down! What a fantastic book. I don't know how many times I have heard after a put down has been given - 'I was just kidding!' or 'I was just playin'!' I have used Just Kidding in multiple fashions. It's a great book to help students not be targets. It's also a great way to 'call out' those kids who are using the words 'just kidding' to get out of trouble and not have to apologize. In one class discussion, the kids decided that saying 'Just Kidding' to someone is a double put down. Kids are smart! I also like that the father role plays and uses some strategies that are similar to the book Simon's Hook.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2007
I read Just Kidding to fifth grade students as part of a unit on bullying and the connections made by students were amazing. The more ways that student hear - "You don't have to suffer from bullying" - the more we will be able to impact the devastation caused by bullying and cruelty. Like Trudy's first book, My Secret Bully, this book presents the idea that bullying can happen within friendships, not just by an unknown thug. Kids have the hardest time knowing what to do about bullying when the offender is someone they like and wish to have as a friend. Just Kidding offers excellent suggestions - from using humor, finding strength in numbers, and getting support from school staff. This is a must-have book for counselors, teachers, and parents of tweens.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2006
Trudy Ludwig has once again chosen a meaningful social topic for kids--this time directed at boys. Her language is direct and speaks the way kids do. I use this book, as I also used 'My Secret Bully', in class meetings in my 4th grade classroom and find it to be a useful tool for starting discussion. This book is an effective part of the Bully Proofing curriculum in my elementary school here in Seattle.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2008
After realizing that his "friend" is not really a friend, the main character finds other kids to hang out with who are not mean to him. I will use this with a bullying unit that I do each fall. It is sure to stimulate some good discussion and help children realize that they have choices.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2007
THis is my favorite of all Tracy's books--this is a must read for all K-3 grade boys. She really captured the nature of boy aggression and how passive/aggressive it can be. THis is a great book and a wonderful classroom tool.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2008
My son learned a few things from this book. He learned that bullying was not uncommon. He learned that it is okay to report a problem and that it wasn't tattling. He learned that not everyone has to be his friend and that he has other choices. He also learned that his reaction to a bully's behavior would have much different outcomes. I passed this book on to others who have had similar experiences with bullies.