Review of Bullied by Carrie Goldman

I recently read Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher and Kid Need to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear.”The mother of a bullied first grader, popular blogger Carrie Goldman’s inspiring true story triggered an outpouring of support from online communities around the world. In Bullied, she gives us a guide to the crucial lessons and actionable guidance she’s learned about how to stop bullying before it starts. It is a book born from Goldman’s post about the ridicule her daughter suffered for bringing a Star Wars thermos to school–a story that went viral on Facebook and Twitter before exploding everywhere, from CNN.com and Yahoo.com to sites all around the world. Written in Goldman’s warm, engaging style, Bullied is an important and very necessary read for parents, educators, self-professed “Girl Geeks,” or anyone who has ever felt victimized by a bully, online or in person.”
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I found it to be a thought-provoking book with plenty of good tips for anyone dealing with this blight. It begins by narrating an experience the author’s daughter went through in first grade and how the family helped her through it. I found it heart-breaking to imagine a six -year-old wanting to throw away a Star Wars water bottle because it wasn’t gender appropriate with her peers.  The author then continues with good tips for t gender stereotyping and the messages that advertising and gender-specific products send to children.“Bullied” also discussed best practices for dealing not only with victims, but also with the bullies themselves. Goldman emphasizes that we should not change children to make them less of a target. Rather, we should change ourselves and our culture so that all children are safe expressing their true selves.From the starting place of her own daughter’s experience with being bullied, Carrie talks about possible solutions, including the wide variety of programs that are available to schools. She also places bullying into the community context. Programs that focus only on the victims, or only on the bully are doomed to failure. It is vital to give support to the victims at the same times as we teach the bully new ways of interacting. Punishment is not effective at reducing bullying, but intervention to teach empathy and a different set of social skills is.

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