“The Bullying Breakthrough” packs a lot of information into a small book, making it a good resource that is easy to carry around. My only real complaint is that I thought there should be more of a Christian influence and viewpoint throughout the book; however, this does serve to make it applicable to a wide range of people regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof. The subtitle defines the target audience as parents and teachers, and the focus is on children, but I felt that the principles put forth here could be generalized for adults as well. It seems that bullying is ubiquitous and that while we should certainly aim to eradicate it at schools, those bullies grow up and sometimes continue to exhibit bullying behavior. Society is becoming increasingly more intolerant, and much of this narrow-mindedness mirrors childhood bullying, just at an “adult” level.
As someone who was bullied as a kid and whose son was bullied, Jonathan McKee is uniquely positioned to offer insight into the issue. He aptly notes that “[p]ain seems to be the common denominator all around. Bullied, bully, bystander…hurt isn’t partial.” He defines bullying as an aggressive, repeated behavior that involves a power play and goes on to discuss the perspective of each group—bullied, bullies, bystanders—and how to reach out to them, which I thought was very perceptive. The discussion questions at the end of each chapter are helpful for facilitating conversation and encouraging action. One of the biggest take-aways is listening to kids and noticing any behaviors that could indicate bullying of some kind. Another major point was the culpability of social media in cyberbullying and causing isolation among kids. The stories include many types of bullying, from the physical to the emotional to that which occurs on social media, and they are heartbreaking but not surprising, which is why things need to change. Fittingly, the last segment of the book is devoted to solutions for those being bullied and for the authority figures in such situations and how to help schools deal with and prevent bullying. Although not a light read by any stretch of the imagination, this is a very necessary and timely resource for anyone who has been bullied, has witness bullying, or has even been a bully themselves, and especially for those who wish to combat bullying.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.