Thursday, October 4, 2012


Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear by Carrie Goldman
HarperCollins, 8/14/2012
Hardcover, 368 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062105073

Carrie Goldman became an unexpected voice for the antibullying movement after her blog post about her daughter Katie's bullying experience went viral and an online community of support generated international attention. In Bullied, Goldman brings together the expertise of leading authorities with the candid accounts of families dealing firsthand with peer victimization to present proven strategies and concrete tools for teaching children how to speak up and carry themselves with confidence; call each other out on cruelty; resolve conflict; cope with teasing, taunting, physical abuse, and cyberbullying; and be smart consumers of technology and media. As a mother, she calls on us all—families, schools, communities, retailers, celebrities, and media—to fiercely examine our own stereotypes and embrace our joint responsibility for creating a culture of acceptance and respect.
For parents, educators, and anyone still wrestling with past experiences of victimization and fear, Bullied is an eye-opening, prescriptive, and ultimately uplifting guide to raising diverse, empathetic, tolerant kids in a caring and safe world.
At least 25 percent of kids have been bullied online. One in five teens has been bullied at school. More than half of bullying behaviors will stop in less than ten seconds when another student intervenes.

My Thoughts:
I'm thrilled to be reviewing Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear by Carrie Goldman during anti-bullying week at the public schools, and specifically at my school to "my" kids.

In Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear author Carrie Goldman explains the impetus for her writing a book on bullying: "In November 2010, I wrote a [blog] post called 'Anti-Bullying Starts in the First Grade' for my blog, Portrait of an Adoption. I was concerned because my daughter, Katie, was upset about being teased for carrying a Star Wars water bottle. Apparently, Star Wars was only "for boys. (pg. xi) " Goldman's six year-old daughter Katie was being bullied for, among other things, her Star Wars backpack and water bottle.
In response to her post, the cyberspace community rose to Katie's defense in an overwhelming show of support for young girls who love Star Wars... and all other people who have been bullied for being different in one way or another. The outpouring of encouragement, as well as the numerous stories shared, spurred Goldman on to researching bullying. What she found is humbling and shows that, although some progress has been made, more work needs to be done. 
"We are closely tracking bullying and taking steps to reduce aggressive acts. We are counting the victims. A 2010 study by the National Center for Education Statistics found that 32 percent of students between the ages of twelve and eighteen reported being bullied within six months prior to being surveyed. Of the students surveyed, 62 percent reported having been bullied once or twice a year, 21 percent once or twice a month, 10 percent once or twice a week, and 7 percent reported being bullied every day. (pg. xi-xii)"
"Michael Thompson... reminded me that....'only about 15 percent of kids suffer trauma as a result of being bullied.' Yes, 15 percent is clearly the minority.... but in terms of sheer numbers, it still represents millions of traumatized children. For those children who do encounter significant, severe bullying, the damage is lasting and the implications for a normal social life are devastating. (pg. xii)"

"In analyzing Katie's story and that of other children and young adults like her, this book examines the roles that schools, families, communities, retailers, celebrities, and the media play in raising diverse, empathetic, tolerant kids. It draws on the expertise of kids, parents, anti-bullying consultants, authors, social workers, psychologists, teachers, and attorneys to evaluate which actions actually help prevent bullying and which are ineffective. (pg. xiv)"
Goldman identifies the high risk kids but she also goes beyond that to discuss how several specific societal attitudes and actions influence culture and can encourage bullying (such as social media, gender-specific marketing of toys, and the sexualization of children). While there is a lot of research into bullying, Goldman does a great job bringing many true stories and the documented facts from research together and presenting them in a factual accessible way and in a well organized format. She also discusses intervention and reconciliation, recognizing the warning signs of emotional distress, and techniques for dealing with bullies 
Goldman did a fantastic job. Bullied is accessible, interesting, and provides a wealth of information about bullying and prevention. The information is separated into three sections: Part One: Katie’s Story; Part Two: Kids at High Risk for Victimization; Part Three: Where Do We Go From Here? Prevention, Intervention, and Reconciliation. The chapter titles help highlight the scope of Goldman's research (see quotes below).  Additionally, it was thrilling for me to see a vast bibliography, numerous online resources, reading recommendations for children by age level, audiovisual resources by subject matter, and appendices on specific programs, and surveys, notes by chapter, and an index.

Now there were two minor examples that I wasn't completely onboard with Goldman's conclusions, but, as a whole, Bullied is an admirable, invaluable resource that will be beneficial to parents, educators, and everyone who has any contact with children.
This is truly Very Highly Recommended - one of the best nonfiction books I've read this year
Carrie Goldman writes about issues related to adoption and parenting on her blog for, the online community of the Chicago Tribune. Her posts are regularly featured by, and in 2010 her blog was voted to the number 6 spot in's Top 50 Mom Blogs. Goldman received her B.S. from Northwestern University and her M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three young daughters, of whom Katie is the oldest.

Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher and TLC for review purposes. 

Table of Contents
Foreword ix
Introduction xi
Part 1 Katie's Story
1 Anti-Bullying Starts in the First Grade 3
2 The Littlest Jedi 10
3 Our Local Community Response 19
Part 2 Kids at High Risk for Peer Victimization
4 From Geek Girls to Sluts: What Does It Mean to Be a Girl? 27
5 Princess Boys and Nonconforming Guys 40
6 Quirky Kids and Kids with Hidden Disabilities 51
7 Kids with Different Appearances or Physical Disabilities 61
8 Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Bisexual Students 72
9 Victims of Cyberbullying, Sexting, and Sexual Harassment 86
10 The Harmful Effects of Bullying on the Brain 103
Part 3 Where Do We Go from Here? Prevention, Intervention, and Reconciliation
11 Create a Home Environment That Produces Neither Bullies nor Victims 115
12 Set Out Family Guidelines for Responsible Uses of Technology, Media, and Music 131
13 Changing Our Cultural Attitudes Toward Aggression and Cruelty 157
14 Calling on Toy Retailers to Eliminate Gender-Based Marketing 168
15 Stop Marketing Makeup and Sexy Clothes to Children 179
16 Reassess the Role of Schools in Character Education 193
17 Social and Emotional Learning 205
18 Responding to the Bully 214
19 Responding to the Victim 222
20 Restorative Justice 233
21 Strategies That Ease the Negative Effects of Taunting 242
22 Creating Witnesses and Allies out of Bystanders 251
23 Cybersupporting Instead of Cyberbullying: A Real-Life Happy Ending 261
Conclusion 269
Acknowledgments 273
Bibliography 275
Online Resources 285
Reading Recommendations for Children 287
Audiovisual Resources 291
Appendix A Overview of Several Promising Research-Based Bullying-Prevention and Character-Education Programs 293
Appendix B Two Examples of Bullying Surveys 300
Appendix C Examples of Sexual Harassment Surveys 303
Notes 311
Index 327

Unsurprisingly, adding Respect to the core expectations for behavior at school is probably one of the reasons that bullying is uncommon there. pg. 23

But while it is true that any child can be singled out, there are certain groups of children who are at higher risk for peer victimization.
Who is at increased risk? The kids who are different - children who are heterosexual but challenge gender norms; children who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender; children who have different physical appearances; children who receive special education; children who qualify for free or reduced-cost lunch; children who practice a minority religion; children who have atypical family structures - these kids are more likely to draw unwanted negative attention. pg. 25

Children who have behavioral disorders and anger-management problems are particularly at risk for becoming bully victims, and they need multiple interventions. To compound the difficulties faced by these kids, teachers tens to discipline them for their bullying behaviors while blaming them when they are victimized. The children often have trouble advocating clearly for themselves, and life at school becomes fraught with anxiety and tension. pg. 60

Sometimes, teachers and coaches are even complicit in known bullying, because they don't want to get their start athlete suspended before a big game. pg. 90

[Anne Collier] pointed out to me that the context for cyberbullying is school - not Facebook, not the Internet. The drama starts at school, and the kids bring it to the computer. Cyberbullying adds another layer of intensity because of the instant mass distribution and the unknown audiences. pg. 91

[H]ow is bullying at all related to makeup? The connection goes through sexualization....
When mass retailers are marketing makeup to eight to twelve year-old girls, unhealthy sexualization is occurring. pg. 179-180

[T]he American Psychological Association's Sexualization of Girls... found that three of the most common mental health problems among girls - eating disorders, depression or depressed mood, and low self esteem - are linked to the sexualization of girls and women in media. pg. 186

Stan Davis cautioned, "The key for all of these is that they will not work as curricula unless they reflect the actual day-to-day behavior of teachers in taking incidents seriously, modeling positive behaviors, building positive norms and expectations, and reinforcing the need for positive action in the moment. Without those day-to-day interventions on a consistent basis, a once-weekly curriculum lesson will have no meaningful effect. pg. 201

In order to teach empathy, we need to allow children to learn how it feels to be different. pg. 211

Getting through life requires children and adults to manage social dynamics. Children with autism, ADD, ADHD, and other disorders need extensive assistance building their social skills. Some children do not have any diagnosed disorders, yet they still cannot gauge social situations well. In an ideal classroom, children who have trouble with social situations will be encouraged to develop their skills, and children who are socially adept will be encouraged to support and include others in a nonjudgmental way. pg. 223

A sympathetic ear seems to be the greatest source of comfort, and it is something we can teach or educators to provide in lieu of judgment. Sometimes, simply listening can be harder than it sounds. pg. 228

Carrie’s Tour Stops

Friday, September 7th: Moments of Exhilaration
Tuesday, September 18th: Voracious For Books
Wednesday, September 19th: The Girl Revolution
Thursday, September 20th: Surviving the Madness
Saturday, September 22nd: A Life Sustained
Monday, September 24th: Between the Covers
Tuesday, September 25th: Here’s To Not Catching Our Hair On Fire
Wednesday, September 26th: Library of Clean Reads
Thursday, September 27th: Misbehavin Librarian
Monday, October 1st: Total Fan Girl
Thursday, October 4th: she treads softly
Friday, October 12th: GeekMom (podcast)


Unknown said...

Lori, thank you for this very thorough, wonderful review of my new book, Bullied! Please consider adding your review to Amazon so more people can have the chance to view your thoughts. All the best, Carrie Goldman

Lori L said...

Thank you Carrie - I appreciate all your work on Bullied more than I can properly expressed.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

"one of the best nonfiction books I've read this year" - what a ringing endorsement! This book certainly sounds like a must read for parents and anyone who interacts with children.

Thanks for being on the tour.