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How to Handle Bullies, Teasers and Other Meanies: A Book That Takes the Nuisance Out of Name Calling and Other Nonsense Paperback – November 1, 1995
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Gr. 4^-7. The fill-in-the-blank section may cause a few problems, but consider purchasing this anyway. It's one of a very few books that puts a practical spin on the subject. It doesn't consider bullies who shove and kick, but it has got some useful tips on how kids can use verbal techniques to turn a bully's slurs inside out. It's a bit of a stretch to think kids this age will want to start an anti-meanness club, and it's difficult to fully accept the author's suggestion that taking the sting out of bullies' words may help bullies see the error of their ways. But this is certainly a place to start when fighting back seems in order, with the ideas and the wordplays recommended giving victims just the edge they may need to begin to recoup their self-esteem. Stephanie Zvirin
From the Back Cover
Every young person will need this book at some time in his or her life!
How to Handle Bullies, Teasers and Other Meanies: (a) covers annoying name calling, vicious prejudice, explosive anger, dangerous situations, and causes of difficult behavior; (b) contains more than 12 ways for melting meanness; [c] Uses dozens of dialogues and practice exercises that children enjoy reading; (d) shows young people how to put spiritual truths into action; (e) gives parents, teachers, and counselors a method to help young people help themselves.
This is an approach that goes far beyond assertiveness in its mastery of meanness. Kate Cohen-Posey has combined the wisdom from her years of experience as a teacher, therapist, and parent into a unique package of communication and self-help skills for children.
Top customer reviews
By the way-- school ends. It really does. These skills for dealing with annoying, unhappy, crabby, mean and unnerving people help well into adulthood.
If your kid is in a school where he's getting beat up by gangs, or paying the school "mob" every day so he can sit down for lunch-- think long and hard about whether your life choices are benefiting your kids. Get a tiny apartment in another town. It's not worth endangering your kids' safety.
Steph (single mom of four)
Based on the first couple of pages in the "Look Inside This Book", I was impressed. When I received it, I was quickly disappointed because much of the advice was aimed saying nice or "cute" things back to the bully! For example:
Bully: "Big nose!"
Person: "Why, yes, my nose is a bit large. How sweet of you to notice."
If I had said that to any bully when I was in school, the bully would have yelled, "HEY GUYS!" where upon he and his toadies would have surrounded me in a very tight little circle. I can see them hurling insults, pounding and shoving me and screaming with laughter as I said, "Why thank you! I was about to scratch an itch but your boot on my chest took care of it!" I would have been held in a headlock while each of them kicked my rear for compliments! Any teacher on the scene would have blamed me for not trying to at least stick up for myself, but first waiting and watching out of amazement.
The author must have very little experience with "real" bullies, because an outdated theory was used to write this book. The theory that bullies have low self-esteem has been discredited. The strategy of complimenting them to "build up their self-esteem", so they will stop being a bully, can actually backfire and invite more abuse. More importantly, instructing a victim with low self-esteem to help the bully by giving compliments sends the wrong message to the victim. Think future spousal abuse victim. Yuck! This one gets returned.
If you've got a kid experiencing bully problems, you need to be aware that giving bad advice is worse than doing nothing. Do your research - research your kid's school situation, research real-world bullying situations, and above all avoid books like this one. Try reading "Lord Of The Flies" instead - it's a lot closer to what today's schoolyard culture is really like.
Think of a wolf pack or a chicken pecking-order. Kids bully to enhance their own position. Your child needs to learn how to act strong, because weak chickens get pecked to death.
Other kids - even "nice" ones - will either join in or do nothing. For one thing, they have their own position to worry about, and if they defend your child, they may become the new target.
Also, there's a strong cultural belief that suggests victims invite their own abuse. As the late Ann Landers put it, "nobody can take advantage of you without your permission". Let's face it: we don't sympathize with wimps, whiners, clueless people, professional victims, the "politically correct", "people who play the blame game", etc. School counselors like to post things like "Who ever said life was fair?" on their walls. Forget about "justice" or "fair play". That may be commonplace in the grownup world, but it isn't real on the schoolyard.
By the time a bullied kid gets to the 7th grade, he or she may very well be experiencing real physical abuse, vandalized lockers, obscene graffiti, vicious rumours, having their stuff stolen and trashed, internet slander campaigns, sexual harrassment, near-total ostracization - and all of this is fairly routine stuff. The really "serious" bullying is terrifying; it can include things that would be considered "violent crimes" if the public schools weren't held to a different standard.
Bullied kids can be seriously scared to go to school - one of the tipoffs that your kid may be having bully problems is when he or she wants to stay home sick all the time.
Do your kid a favor. Skip this book and just talk to him or her about how things are at school, and LISTEN to your kid if he or she tries to tell you there are problems. Skip the cutesy advice; not only does it not work, but it's one of the biggest reasons kids "know better" than to try to talk to grownups about the problems they're experiencing. And - if your kid is really having problems with bullying - don't rely on school officials. If they knew what they were doing, your child would not be going to the sort of school where bullying is allowed to occur.
One book I would recommend (instead) for a 4th grader is Judy Blume's "Blubber". It was written a long time ago, but it captures that wolf-pack mentality that grownups typically seem to "just not get".
This book might not be bad for a younger child. But NOT for the 4th to 7th grade listed in this book's info blurb.
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