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Bullyproof Your Child for Life, by Joel Haber, Ph.D., with Jenna Glatzer

Upon reading Bullyproof Your Child for Life, [Perigee Books, New York; August, 2007] by Joel Haber, Ph.D., with Jenna Glatzer, I was struck by how closely Dr. Haber’s views on the subject of school bullying mirror my own as stated on this website. Dr. Haber is a clinical psychologist and has used his years of experience to formulate an anti-bullying program that I find to be exceptional. Just reading this book will provide invaluable insights into the dynamics of school bullying, the psychology of bullies and victims and the repercussions of bullying for both groups as well as for student bystanders.

Anyone who has read “Pride’s Prison,” or has read my articles on this website, will readily surmise that the following quote from his book would alone serve to endear me to Dr. Haber’s approach to school bullying:

“Bullying is meant to humiliate, and it does its job quite well. Often bullied kids are so embarrassed that they don’t even want to tell their parents.” [Chapter 2, page 37]

But Dr. Haber does not let the subject rest merely with this observation. He goes on to instruct parents how to approach youngsters tactfully if parents suspect their kids are having a problem at school with bullying. He advises what to ask kids, how to phrase matters and what to avoid asking to avoid the stock answer of “Fine” such questioning routinely engenders.

Dr. Haber explodes the myth that school bullies are kids lacking in self-esteem and thus they attempt to inflate their egos at the expense of others. On the contrary, bullies tend to be kids who do not lack self-esteem, but are aggressive and lack empathy for victims: the very definition of evil as formulated by Dr. Gustave Gilbert, the U. S. Army psychologist at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. Bullies will continue to push beyond the boundaries of socially acceptable behavior as long as they feel as though they can get away with it.

The author defines the underlying basis for bullying as an imbalance of power which bullies exploit to enhance their own social status within the school’s pecking order. The exact reason (too fat, skinny, etc.) why a victim is targeted is simply a pretext, exactly as I have stated here.

Dr. Haber (quite rightfully) advises against trying to reason with bullies by appealing to their sensibilities. He states:

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