The Bullying Antidote: Superpower Your Kids for Life
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The Bullying Antidote: Superpower Your Kids for Life

5.0 1
by Louise Hart, Kristen Caven

As parents, we want our children to succeed. Not just academically, but personally. We hope they will make friends and feel secure in themselves and their environment when they are out on the playground or in the classroom. The reality is, though, that bullying has reached epidemic proportions in our nation's schools and communities. When it isn't addressed, it


As parents, we want our children to succeed. Not just academically, but personally. We hope they will make friends and feel secure in themselves and their environment when they are out on the playground or in the classroom. The reality is, though, that bullying has reached epidemic proportions in our nation's schools and communities. When it isn't addressed, it contributes to higher rates of depression, substance abuse, and suicide among youth.

Many kids simply do not feel safe--and their teachers and parents have no idea what's going on. Some parents who know that their children are having difficulty do not know what to do: Are these kids just being kids? Should I tell someone?

In this critical, life-saving book, Louise Hart, PhD, a leading educator in self-esteem development, gives parents the skills they need to prevent their children--whether 6 or 16--from being bullied. The antidote, she reveals, is to equip moms and dads with the tools to raise confident and resilient kids through positive parenting, including tips and a course of action for:

  • boosting self-respect, self-care, and self-esteem in your children
  • teaching your kids how to communicate effectively and assertively
  • devising an action plan with your child in the event they are bullied
  • creating a family culture where bullying behavior is not accepted

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The National Institute of Health reports that 15% of students in the US miss school every day because they're afraid of being intimidated or even attacked by other students. Clearly, something is very wrong with a culture that creates such stressful, dangerous conditions for kids and teens. But what is it about our culture that has given rise to such pervasive bullying?

"Hart and Caven's comprehensive book acknowledges societal pressures, but suggests that our culture's child-raising practices too often lay the foundations of bullying. Certainly, they point out, kids who are abused at home are at risk of becoming bullies. But even children who are raised 'in good homes' can feel bullied when parents shame them, call them names, spank them, or don't protect them from sibling violence. Kids who feel bullied at home are primed to become victims with their peers, or to become bullies themselves.

"Luckily, most of The Bullying Antidote focuses on solutions. Parents will find pointers to help kids who are being bullied, as well as to help kids who witness bullying, and even to intervene to help their child who is acting like a bully. The last half of the book is essentially a primer on positive parenting, designed to help parents evolve their child-raising to give their child the self-regard and social skills that are so essential to navigate a complex social world without bullying or being bullied."
--Dr. Laura Markham, author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting

"This very important book tackles the bullying problem head on. It discusses the enormous changes in society--general permissiveness, for example, and the technology tsunami--that have brought about huge challenges. It equips kids with a 'superpower' based on respectful relationships, self-regulation, and responsibility. Mean behavior is not accepted, so youngsters are removed from the knee-jerk bullying dynamic. Children can flourish!"
--Cliff Crain, Marriage and Family Therapist and Director of the Center for Creative Living, Danville, CA

"The Bullying Antidote provides parents with the knowledge and skills necessary to raise strong, resilient, assertive and emotionally healthy kids."
--Rick Hanson, author of New York Times bestselling books Buddha's Brain and Hardwiring Happiness

"This well-written, understandable, and comprehensive book will give readers the information, insight, and specific tools they need to begin creating a better environment for all our children. Customers will be relieved to find it on your shelves."
--Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight Trade Magazine

"The Bullying Antidote exposes the often unspoken truth: Bullies aren't born bullies; their behavior has a valid cause that can be prevented and reversed. Hart and Caven give clear insight into ways to prevent what leads to bullying as well as how to respond in ways that heal and connect."
--Naomi Aldort, author of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves

"We will never be able to make bullying go away entirely, but we can equip our kids with a 'superpower' that enables them to restore their 'health, happiness, and balance' in the face of bullying. The authors present both an 'outside-in' approach, whereby the adults in kids' lives are 'enforcing rules and laws, and holding kids accountable in order to change behavior,' as well as an 'inside-out' approach, whereby adults help 'children develop attitudes, values, and skills that empower them to have respectful relationships based on rights and responsibility.' This is a comprehensive parenting strategy to help parents raise children who can resist bullying, as well as prevent them from becoming bullies themselves."
--Susan Heim, parenting author and editor of Chicken Soup for the Soul

"The Bullying Antidote is a wise and very caring book. There is so much here for parents and guardians to learn about and consider. This book is about much more than bullying. It underscores that there is nothing more important than raising and teaching children to grow up in healthy, caring and responsible ways."
--Jonathan Cohen, PhD, President, National School Climate Center: Educating Minds and Hearts Because the Three Rs are Not Enough; Adjunct Professor in Psychology and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

"The Bullying Antidote covers everything that has been important in child development discoveries in the last ten years. Hart and Caven have done a thorough synthesis of the current research on how to raise healthy children in today's world, including information on brain science, emotional intelligence, relationships and communication skills. I highly recommend The Bullying Antidote for parents, grandparents, educators, school board members and policy makers--everyone who is invested in putting a stop to the bullying epidemic. This comprehensive, well-written, and vitally important book has my 100 percent endorsement."
--Nevin Valentine, MA, Certified Relationship Coach-Child Development Specialist; creator and coordinator of the Napa Valley College Parent Education Program

"If you are looking for the definitive book on bullying, you have found it. In fact, this book is so comprehensive, it covers societal factors, parenting styles, childhood development, self-esteem, emotional intelligence, brain science, best practices in schools, communication, and family dynamics--and all of the ways these factors contribute to the cause--and then the solution--to bullying. Pick up this book and then back away slowly from the entire self-help aisle. It is all here. This book made me want to be a better parent. And I don't even have kids."
--Kristin L. Roush, PhD, Life Coach, Psychology Professor, Central New Mexico Community College

Product Details

Hazelden Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.22(w) x 8.82(h) x 0.96(d)

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter 4, Understanding Bullying

Myths That Confound and Confuse
Many adults grew up with myths about behavior that did not help prepare them for today’s bullying realities. Some of these myths include the following:

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This is a lie. Words can cause great harm. This saying should be rewritten: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can break my heart.”
Many of today’s adults grew up hearing “boys will be boys” or “kids will be kids.” Parents who believe this myth tend to not hold kids accountable, letting them instead get away with unacceptable behaviors.
Some people believe that “bullying is a harmless rite of passage,” that “bullying is a normal part of life,” or that “you’ve just got to accept it.” This belief disempowers targets and prolongs their pain and suffering. Although teasing and hurtful speech do happen naturally as children grow and learn, bullying is not a natural part of growing up. It is an unacceptable social behavior that must be taken seriously and stopped.
Many see violence not as a problem, but as a solution to a problem. People confuse strength with domination; words or actions are used to overpower and victimize others into submission. This belief is at the root of many conflicts, including war.
“Kids are more mature these days.” Many middle school teachers feel they are losing the battle against foul language and sexual horseplay because children are exposed to movies, TV, and video games beyond their level of innocence. But this does not mean children are comfortable with what they have seen, or what they know, or what they feel is “the right way to be.” Kids pressuring each other into sexual behaviors or using expletives with each other is not maturity; it is disrespectful and should be confronted

The Powerful Role of Parents
Parents have more power than anyone else to prevent bullying and other risky behaviors in their young children. Parents have the power to protect, nurture, engage, teach, and put their children’s feet on the right path—and redirect them when they stray.
Parents may not know it, but they have the ability—and more importantly, the authority—to create a positive climate based on respect, belonging, connection, and the Golden Rule, to teach morality, what’s acceptable and not acceptable, what’s right and what’s wrong. Parents have tremendous power to build inner strength and self- esteem that protect children against hurtful comments and behavior. Parents have more power than they realize to prevent or encourage bullying behaviors.
How “Regular” Parents Unknowingly Raise Bullies
Considered by many to be “the father of anti-bullying programs,” Dr. Dan Olweus has studied the causes of societal problems and their solutions for more than thirty-five years. He discovered and confirmed that certain widespread childrearing practices are linked to the development of what he calls “hostile reaction patterns” and other antisocial behaviors in children. These very common patterns can be found at all levels of income, and in all races.

They include the following:
Negativity on the part of the primary caretaker. When a care- giver exhibits a negative emotional attitude instead of the warmth and involvement that healthy child development requires, children become emotionally insecure. This increases the risk that the child will become aggressive and hostile toward others.
Permissiveness of aggressive behavior by the child. If the pri- mary caregiver is generally permissive and “tolerant” without setting clear limits on aggressive speech and behavior, the child’s aggression level is likely to increase. This means that parents who don’t curb aggressive speech and behaviors are tacitly teaching that hostility and aggression are okay.
Use of “power-assertive methods. ” When parents don’t know what else to do, they commonly try to resolve conflict with power, aggression, and violent emotional outbursts. Spanking and physical punishment are typical of the autocratic leadership style, but children raised with these methods are more likely to become aggressive.

For more information about restructuring family power, see chapter 15.
Those parents who were raised in a healthy way are indeed called upon in society to assist those who were not. They can do this by spreading the word about Olweus’s three characteristics of families that nurture bullying, and share ideas about changing patterns by

1. Having a positive attitude toward their own and other children
2. Setting limits on aggressive speech and behavior
3. Finding better tools than physical punishment and emotional outbursts to change a child’s behavior.

Meet the Author

Louise Hart, Ph.D., is a community psychologist dedicated to creating family and school environments in which children thrive and learn the skills necessary to become healthy, self-directed, loving adults. She has conducted seminars for thousands of parents and educators nationwide.

with Kristen Caven

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The Bullying Antidote: Superpower Your Kids for Life 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Format: Paperback I am a construction and wood-shop teacher in a big public high school, so I get to know tough young men just before they graduate or drop out. As a boy I was bullied, then I became a bully until divine intervention and solid parenting lifted me out of the cycle. It has become an important aspect of my life's work to help young men understand how to use their masculine strength in a way that builds others up, and doesn't tear them down. Because I work among them, I have seen that many bullies have a sweet and lovable side too, something good at the core. It makes me wonder how they can turn into vicious pack animals in some situations. I also wonder how some boys who were adorable at age 8 and still appeared normal at age 12, have turn into mean, hardened young men by age 16, ready for prison long before graduation. Drugs and desperation are part of the problem, but there are so many other factors that lead to a history of bad choices. On campus I have also seen sweet, kind and innocent young people collapse into fear at the smallest threat from their peers. They have developed no immunity and no strong internal defenses. Some skip school, drop out or worse. I hear frustrated teachers in the lounge saying &quot;you can't fix what the family broke,&quot; and frustrated parents who don't think schools are doing enough to protect or discipline their children appropriately. A lot of fingers get pointed because the problem is big and complex, and it is wrecking the lives of young people we love. Most bullying books are filled with heartbreaking stories of what our children do to each other on the playground or school bus, and the tragic consequences. When you have heard enough of these stories you gain the conviction that something must be done, now. We each have to do our part to stop all the terror that bullying inflicts on the innocent, and also the emotional pain and mental confusion that propels the bully. Our children should not be suffering like this, but they are. Acts of bullying are the ugly sores that erupt wherever the malignant virus is active in society. Authors Louise Hart and Kristen Caven take the antidote approach to a new extreme. They do not indulge us in long horror stories about specific bullying incidents. Instead, the book focuses on the many complex roots of the problem. This volume of practical techniques flows with simple, direct language. It makes the frontiers of psychological research easily accessible to parents, guardians, teachers and everyone else who is committed to ending the cycle of emotional damage and abusive behavior in their communities. The book is like a complete tool kit with every hammer, saw, screwdriver, wrench and sander we all need in order to be a part of the solution. What a huge difference it would make if every teacher, social worker, youth leader, school administrator, counselor and minister knew how to use all these pro-active and positive tools correctly. It would eradicate bullying in the same way that we won the worldwide battles with polio and smallpox.