Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stop the Bullying! by Andrew Matthews

This is a book every parent and teacher should and must read.

In a nutshell
This book is about:
why bullies bully, why bullied kids don't tell their pareents, and how bullied kids can make a stand.

It is also about:
how parents sometimes create bullies, what schools can do about bullying, bullying in the workplace, preventing suicide, and how bystanders can help.

Stop the Bullying! is divided into 15 chapters:
1. Bullied to death, 2. Bullying at school, 3. Bullying at home, 4. Why bullies bully, 5. Girl bullying, 6. Tips for bullied kids, 7. How can I like myself? 8. Not my child! 9. No innocent bystanders, 10. Loneliness amongst our teens, 11. Raising young children, 12. Who's in charge? 13. Let your children know you love them, 14. What you can do, 15. Kindness

What I liked
I learnt alot from reading this book. As a teacher, these methods will come in handy. I have highlighted some of the lessons/methods suggested in this book.

"Young people learn best when they focus on how they feel about their actions rather than how adults feel." - Stan Davis
Whether you are a parent or a teacher, your job is to encourage bullies to take responsibility - no blame, no excuses, just the truth.

So, what do you say to a bully?
* Tell me exactly what happened.
* I don't care who started it, tell me what you did.
* You didn't have to thump him. You chose to thump him.
* How do you think he feels?
* How can you repair the situation?
(I normally use the last 2 questions)

Once the child has admitted to bullying, you can help him explore his own reasons for why he does it:
* What were you trying to achieve? Was it for fun? For attention?
* What else could you have done?
* Is there anything worrying you that is causing you to bully?
* Why do you bully? What would help you to stop?
You can't make bullies change. But you can make punishments predictable.

What if you're a bystander? What can you do to help?
Matthews suggests:
* Tell the bully to stop it.
* Ask the victim to leave the scene WITH you, i.e you walk away WITH THEM.
* Be a friend to the person who is being bullied.
* Chat with the bullied child.
* Take the bullied child to see a teacher.
* Encourage the bullied child to tell others.

And a chapter that will be very useful to me one day - Raising Young Children:
Psychiatrist and Director of the Family Institute of Berkeley, Dr. Robert Shaw's message to parents is:
* act like grown-ups
* give your children chores and responsibilities
* limit their TV and video game time
* limit their privacy
* teach your children about right or wrong (Manners lead to respect. When you respect people you don't bully them)
* don't buy them everything they want
He says, at least one of the parents has to make raising the children the top priority.

Dan Olweus, professor of psychology at Bergen University, finds four factors that help to create bullies:
* lack of warmth, lack of involvement from the parents, particularly the mother
* No clear limits on aggressive behaviour
* Physical punishment. Children that are disciplined with violence learn violence
* The temperament of the child. Hot-headed children are more likely to become bullies.

There's also a section on teaching children empathy. I think empathy is equally important in teaching them about bullying, because "when you appreciate how others feel, you don't bully other people." Happy, well-adjusted children don't enjoy seeing other kids cry.

As always, his drawings enliven the entire book, making this not only an educational read, but also an 'entertaining' one with jokes spread throughout the pages :)

Ex-bullies and victims share their stories, most of which are shocking. Parents and teachers share their experiences on handling and solving the issue.

I highly recommend this book, especially to teachers, parents-to-be and/or new moms and dads.

Here's an interview I did with Andrew Matthews in 2009.

5 comments:

sintaicharles said...

Good book. I was a victim myself. The bully was the son of my school's chairman. The headmaster and teachers dared not punish him.At one time he tried to take off my shorts but I threatened to hit him with a brick. He complained to my form teacher and I received 5 strokes of cane. i could not even write.

A Bookaholic said...

omg. how unfair that was! They didn't even listen to your side of the story? Did that experience change you as a person?

sintaicharles said...

I told myself I wanted to be a better teacher.

A Bookaholic said...

Bravo to you Tai Tai! :)

Julianna Smith said...

I agree that this in an issue in a society that we have to take and begin to beat down straight from its core, then being able to take solutions into the school systems, states, country, and finally worldwide. As children are taught from a young age to defend themselves, not only by fighting back, but by not being afraid to speak up to an adult. This is an issue that will only be tackled if we work on it as a society, it takes many steps to beat down a bully and with more people willing to help and control the dangerous situation the easier it will be to give everyone a safer place to go to school, walk in their communities, and work in. I would like to to share this link, about a service on how you can protect your children. Here is the link: https://safekidzone.com/

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