Bullies: From the Playground to the Boardroom
“Jane Middelton-Moz and Mary Lee Zawadski have taken important steps in defining the problem and finding interventions and solutions that work . . . Every teacher, every parent, and every counselor should read this important book. It should be in the library of every CEO and mid-level manager.” – Sally Jessy Raphael, talk show host
Just in time for National Bullying Prevention Month this October, author and speaker Jane Middelton-Moz and her colleague Mary Lee Zawadski bring bullying back into the spotlight with a revised edition of Bullies: From the Playground to the Boardroom. In a day and age where school shootings are on the rise, twenty million Americans face workplace abuse daily, and 160,000 American children miss school every day to avoid bullying, this edition of Bullies is a much-needed and timely response to the epidemic that has caused so much pain in so many people.
The authors define bullying as involving “intentional, repeated, hurtful acts, words or behavior.” Commonly noted bullying behaviors are name calling, public ridicule, humiliating, scapegoating, spreading rumors, blaming, punching, kicking, taunting, and threatening. More workplace-related bullying behaviors include assigning nonjobs or undesirable work areas, denying vacation or holidays, sexualizing, ostracizing, and making racial, ethnic or gender slurs. In Bullies, Middelton-Moz and Zawadski provide readers with a four-step approach to preventing the injuries to self-worth that bullying produces:
- Break the chains of denial that have held us captive.
- Learn not to personalize the bully’s bad behavior, empower ourselves with self-awareness, and seek the support of others.
- Learn to recognize the styles and tactics of bullies in much the same way that we would familiarize ourselves with hazard signs on our roadways and highways.
- Learn the strategies and skills that are necessary to effectively deal with the bullies in our lives. Learn tools that will prevent us from being hemmed in and held as the bully’s emotional captive.
Using these steps, Middelton-Moz and Zawadski present in-depth methods and exercises that will allow readers to tackle bullying head-on, build confidence, and stand up for themselves. Pieces of advice such as “Look the bully straight in the eye” and “Use confident body language” are meant to teach assertiveness and empowerment to those coming face-to-face with a bully. Additionally, the authors present an in-depth analysis and example of, and strategies for coping with a number of bullying styles, such as “Head-On Collisions,” who lash out seemingly out of nowhere; “Rear-Ended” bullies, who hide their bullying with sarcasm and jokes; and “The Controller” bullies, who have a distorted view of reality and an unparalleled sense of righteousness.
One of the most important and unique facets of Bullies is that readers have the opportunity to hear the story from the bully’s side; one of the chapters features stories about bullies that provides insight into why they behaved the way they did. Nancy, who was a teenage bully, recounted how she felt fearful and unworthy, and how she was bullied by her parents throughout her childhood. Ann, who was abused and bullied by her parents, raped and threatened by someone she once thought to be a friend, and fired from her job as a result of a malicious rumor, became a bully and a “tough girl” when she thought it was “useless” to try to be good. These revelations—alongside indispensable and comprehensive information regarding early childhood development—help readers understand the makings of a bully and how most often those who bully were victims themselves.
Bullies is a revolutionary look into the minds of the bullies, the victims, and those who watch from afar, as well as a workbook for what to do in the face of bullying. Middelton-Moz and Zawadski explore the inner-workings of effective bullying prevention programs in schools, and bullying in adult relationships, both areas that are not tackled in every conversation about this epidemic. Additionally, the stories that are presented throughout the book allow readers to get a firsthand look at different kinds of bullies, how bullying develops in people, and how people got help. Bullies is an essential read for the teacher, the counselor, and the parent, as well as any others with the ability to foster positive change in bullies and their victims.
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