Mar 27, 2012

Hey, Back Off! - Bullying (Part 2 in a 3 part series)

Read Part 1 hereI was recently invited to read Hey Back Off  Written by Jennie Withers with Phyllis Hendrickson M. Ed.  You can find Jennie Withers online at her web page. In this part two on bullying, I review the book. 

As you can see from the photo above, I marked a lot of passages in this book. I found many pearls of wisdom, as well as practical advice for both children and their parents when it comes to handling these situations. 
The first thing that struck me about this book is how it clearly lays out what bullying and harassment are and the different types of  harassment. This is particularly helpful for two reasons. Firstly, some people doubt themselves when dealing with episodes of bullying or harassment. If people say they are just being overly sensitive they may start to believe that they are the problem. Jennie Withers clearly lays out the ways someone can be harassed - so you can be clear in your mind that this person's behaviour is not acceptable and you have done nothing wrong to deserve such treatment. Secondly, it helps when you can use appropriate language to describe the types of bullying you (or your child) received. It is helpful if you have to report the matter to clarify your thoughts.
The next part of the book discusses the different types of personalities that we have. You can take a quiz to see what types of behaviours you display as a child or parent. There are helpful tips in turning passive behaviour into active behaviour, and turning aggressive behaviour into assertive behaviour. 
The book then talks about different types of scenarios with real examples of the behaviours and language of harassment, with counter-measures you and your child can use in particular situations. 
When I was bullied and when my children were bullied, the hardest thing was removing the emotion from the situation enough to deal with the situation with a calm demeanour. I think this book gives great advice, so you can feel prepared and have many tools available to plan your strategies, before you confront the situation. I'm sure this is a toolbox any parent will be grateful to have at their fingertips. 
When the kids were little, I had a handy book for when they were sick and I could check symptoms and decide whether we could handle this ourselves or get help. I think that "Hey, Back Off!" is the same kind of tool, and would be just as useful for the same reasons. Your child's mental well-being is just as important as their physical health. It has taken a while for us, as a society, to realise that - but now we can take positive action to ensure our children's childhood is as it should be.
One small note - there is a chapter discussing the law. If you don't live in the US you can easily check to see what the laws are in your country regarding harassment. Many countries have recently made changes to their laws to encompass the various types of bullying or harassment using technology. A good example is this case in Australia/US where the police worked together and made an arrest:

Australian Teen Accused Of Cyberbullying Grafton Girl

As parents we need to educate ourselves about what is happening with young people and how to use the technology they are using. Otherwise we won't know how to give them strategies to keep them safe. Jennie Wither's book is a great start and I highly recommend it.



  1. I think many parents don't really know what the best course of action is when their children are being bullied, having a book like this to help you out is great.


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