Review of "The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander"
By Barbara Coloroso HarperResource, 2003 Review by Barry McNamara, Ph.D. on Jan 24th 2005
The Bully, The Bullied and The Bystander by Barbara Coloroso is one of the many books that have
been published recently on this topic.
There has been an increased interest in bullying and parents and schools
are struggling to find effective ways to reduce the incidence. On one hand, there are those who think that
bullying is a normal rite of childhood that has always been around and causes
little harm. On the other hand there
are those who feel that there is a tremendous cost to pay unless we stem the tide
as soon as possible. Clearly, this book
addresses the latter group. It is
clearly written with compelling accounts of bullying throughout. It is reader friendly and is geared toward a
general population of parents. The
subtitle of the book is: From Preschool to High School -- How Parents and Teachers Can Help Break
the Cycle of Violence is somewhat misleading because it provides very
little help for teachers in developing and implementing a anti-bullying program
in their schools.
is divided into two parts. Part One:
The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander provides the reader
with excellent descriptions of each of these roles, with pointed vignettes
that reinforce the topic and enhance the descriptions. Part Two: Breaking the Cycle of Violence:
Creating Circles of Caring provides parents with ways in which they can create
a climate of kind and caring behavior at home and ways that will reduce the
probability that their children will be bullied. The author correctly notes that bullying occurs most often in the
school setting. Yet this is where the
book falls short. While Coloroso
addresses the problem in the schools and provides examples of exemplary
programs, there is simply insufficient information regarding the specifics
(only one chapter). Perhaps that is not
the primary purpose of this book.
However, if that is the case then teachers
should be deleted from the title.
will not go away by itself. Families
and schools need to develop programs to ensure that all children can attend
school in a safe, kind, and caring environment. The Bully, The Bullied and
The Bystander will help parents in this process; school personnel will need
to seek additional resources.
Dr. Barry McNamara is a Professor of Special Education at Dowling College, NY, and is author of several books, including Keys to Parenting a Child With Attention Deficit Disorders and Keys to Dealing With Bullies, both coauthored with Francine McNamara, and Learning Disabilities: Appropriate Practice for a Diverse Population.