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From the Publisher
"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
"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, Ph.D., 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, M.A. 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, Ph.D., Life Coach, Psychology Professor Central New Mexico Community College
The Bullying Antidote Q & A with the authors:
You have written other parenting books, like The Winning Family (1995). Is there a core message that has remained true for you that we will also find in your new book, THE BULLYING ANTIDOTE? What is it and how have you seen it work effectively in families?
When the term “Positive Parenting” came into vogue in the last decade, people said The Winning Family was the original handbook. The core message in both books is that there are special things parents can do to positively influence their child’s well-being and behavior, some of which are not obvious or common knowledge. Both books present the best ideas in fields relevant to raising children. Louise has a doctorate in Community Education, and her life purpose is to make the best ideas from many sources accessible for parents.
To what do you think we can attribute the amount of attention bullying is receiving these days? Have social relationships among children changed or is it the nature of the abuse that has become more severe?
Bullying has always been a fact of life, perhaps even more so before democracy, civil rights, and women’s rights bloomed. Our society is taking on bullying and exposing cultural myths that promote or support it. Bullying is NOT a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up.
Bullying also takes on new aspects with every generation. There has been systematic, economic, and personal harm done to our public dialogue by mainstreaming bullying tactics in everything from political discourse to anonymous Internet harassment. Kids harass one another with cameras, texts, and social media, and cyber-bullying can be more penetrating than playground bullying. The stories we hear about kids taking their own lives because of bullying are tragic; we can and must find ways to protect them.
You talk a lot about the power dynamics of bullying, leadership styles of parents, and what these two things have in common. Over the last twenty-five, fifty years, how do you think society has changed in these regards?
Before the 1960s, the strict autocratic parenting style was predominant. Parents laid down the law, and children obeyed. The hippie movement did the unthinkable: they rebelled against authority, hungered for freedom, and became permissive parents who had difficulty saying no and setting limits. As a grandmother, Louise has witnessed these enormous shifts that affect everything, but are mostly off the radar screen.
Although the autocratic style, which we look at in the book through a lens of history, definitely had to go, many problems surfaced with this new “whatever” leadership style. Parents don’t know how or don’t want to be to be the “in charge” authority in the family; children grow up thinking they have the right to do whatever they want — including being mean and cruel to others.
The permissive “whatever” parenting style does not work in this 21st century world, with all of the forces of the media exploiting and preying on our children. Parents must be engaged and involved to protect children from harmful social trends and pressures. Our book discusses how to keep family connections strong.
Why do you call your book THE BULLYING ANTIDOTE? What are the main principles that can "cure" the bullying epidemic? Can you explain your concept of Zorgos?
The title challenged us to dig deeper into our material and write a book that will really help parents prevent and curb bullying. An antidote is something that you give that will reverse a disease, like an antidote for a snakebite. What we came to realize is that a vaccination is a better idea, preventing the trauma in the first place. As well as providing “cures” for bullying after it has happened, this book educates parents on how to immunize their children with good mental health and social skills—two things that get easily lost in the shuffle of today’s high-speed material and entertainment culture.
There is not one, but many antidotes for bullying, including empathy, kindness, pro-social skills, emotional literacy, and assertiveness communication. We rolled these qualities and concepts into the “superpower” that bolsters youngsters so they will not be bullies or victims. We went through many different words and were thrilled to find this one: Zorgos is Esperanto for “I will care.”
How does this book teach Zorgos?
It covers everything from the basics of positive psychology, and the brain science behind temper outbursts, to non-violent communication principles. Everything is framed for parents to discover their own confidence and personal power, and to be supported as positive leaders in their families.
How have you managed your own children and their conflicts at school? Have any of them been involved in bullying incidents? How has your teaching worked in an applied setting?
Louise started graduate school when her kids were in middle school, which is a prime time for bullying. She eagerly shared what she was learning in college textbooks about building and protecting self-esteem, and assertive communication, which gave them greater insight on their own social problems. The bullying Kristen’s son experienced was all technology-based: a stranger took a picture of him in the bathroom with a camera phone, and another kid stole an electronic toy. In both of those situations Kristen worked with the school staff to resolve the problems. It’s essential that parents and teachers partner against bullying.
The book presents many studies from around the world, where bullying is handled differently and, in many cases, quite successfully. One chapter discusses the different types of bullying programs schools use, framed as first, second, and third-tier prevention. Parents and PTAs who are informed about what makes a bullying program work can initiate positive changes.
There are many different bullying prevention experts out there; not all of them have the expertise you have in parenting. How did you become bullying experts, and how is your approach unique?
With a focus on parenting for mental and emotional family health, we brought the voices of experts from related fields into the conversation about how parents can raise their kids for a bully-free world. For example, Dr. Bruce Perry, a leading expert in child trauma, says “Promoting a child’s emotional health is the most successful approach available to fighting violence.” Dan Olweus, who developed the international gold standard of school bullying programs, observes that a cold and punitive parenting style teaches bullying, whereas a warm and supportive family environment suppresses it.
Many bullying experts focus their energy on school-based programs. We want to help parents prevent and curb bullying behaviors even before kids get to school. We talk about the subtleties of family communication, the importance of self-regulation, and the habits of thought that make a negatively- or positively-focused person. The Bullying Antidote showcases the research and brilliant ideas of people like Barbara Fredrickson, Martin Seligman, Gabor Maté and others who are not bullying experts but who offer great psycho-social insight. We discuss the dangers of the technological tsunami: parental authority is being usurped by Internet marketers, and traditional values are being challenged, weakened, and undermined.
Bullying is a complex concept that is related to numerous aspects of our society, so we created a “Big Picture” of bullying in order to inspire for a bully-free culture.
family bond first and foremost, and making time for fun.