+ Bullies: Stand Up for Yourself and Others

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I made a great discovery at Barnes and Noble today: a table full of “American Girl” books to help girls negotiate the world around them.

This is the one I came home with: “Stand Up for Yourself & Your Friends: Dealing with Bullies and Bossiness, and finding a Better Way.”

This small book is addressed to “Dear Reader,” and tells us

No matter who you are, it’s hard to get along with everyone all the time.  There will always be people who challenge you, whether it’s an on-again, off-again friend or a classmate who’s teasing you.  Being bullied can feel downright hurtful, and when it’s happening to you it’s hard to know what to do.

There’s no one right way to handle bullying.  That’s why this book gives you lots of tips to try, such as clever comebacks, ways to ignore someone who bullies, and ways to get help from an adult you trust.  You’ll find advice from girls who have been there, and you’ll learn how to stand up for other people too, when they need it most.

We can all do our part to make the world a kinder, safer place.  After reading this book, you’ll know that one person can make a difference — and that person might just be YOU.

The first section “Is it bullying?” suggests scenarios (“A girl comes up to you in the lunchroom and says…”) and the reader can circle either “Yes, it’s bullying” or “No it’s not.”  There are Answers: Yes, Maybe, Absolutely, No, It depends…

Then “What does a bully look like?”   Also “Spot the difference,” where we are told “Being bullied feels bad.  If it doesn’t feel this way, it’s not bullying.”

Then, a section on “Why people bully.”  There are stories from the trenches, from girls who have been targets.

The next section is “Standing up for yourself,”  which begins “There is no one right way to deal with bullying.” 

Then “Just ignore it.”  And “How to speak up” with a “big important point:”

None of these comebacks contain words that can get you into trouble with grown-ups.  You have a right to defend yourself, and there are smart ways to do it.  Just be sure you speak up in a way that solves problems and doesn’t create more.

Then, a quiz: “What’s your speak-up style?” with a), b), and c) style answers to given scenarios.  The a) style tries to steer clear of trouble– she has a challenge finding her voice; b) knows how to get her needs met while considering the feelings of others– she can be a role model; and c) has no trouble telling people how she feels, but sometimes pushes people away.

You will find “Words that work;” and then “Staying strong at school,” with notes about what NOT to do.

Then, “What if it’s not working?” — more options, with suggestions.  Step 1 is reach out; step 2 is keep track; step 3 is heads up; step 4 is give a warning; and step 5 is enough is enough.

Next, “Getting support:” suggests that you keep talking, or show team spirit, or “pour on the fun.”

Powerful reminders:” how about a motto or a mantra or a reminder?  Then there are stories of “Girls who stood strong.”

An important “Standing up for others” and “Being a good bystander,” “Telling vs. tattling,” and more stories: “Girls who stood up for others.” 

And then a quiz: “What do you stand for?” with questions for you to answer “agree” or “disagree.”

And finally: “Changing friendships.” Talk to your friend, stay open, watch and wait, focus on other friends.  “Big important point:”

Not all friendships will last a lifetime.  In fact, that’s very rare.  Over time, some of your friendships will deepen, and some will slip away.  Don’t be afraid of changing friendships.  They allow you to change and grow, too.

What do you do?” with scenarios, such as: “You make a mistake.  You shared a secret…”

And then “Shining bright:”Give a warm smile.”  “Offer a compliment.” “Give second chances.”  “Laugh at other people’s jokes.” “Stand up for them when they need it most.” “Send a kind note.” “Apologize — and mean it.”  “Give a hug.”

And lastly: A pledge to sign:


  • S…tand up to put-downs
  • H…elp those who are being bullied
  • I…nform adults when I need to
  • N…ever use my computer or cell phone to hurt others 
  • E…ncourage my friends to stand up against bullying too

Inside the back cover, a pullout for parents, with “10 Big Truths About Bullying” for Parents.

  1. Communication is key
  2. There’s no substitute for staying close
  3. Children learn what they see
  4. Media matters
  5. “Cool” doesn’t equal confident
  6. Rough times build resilience
  7. We all have limits
  8. We all make mistakes — kids and parents alike
  9. Laughter heals
  10. It takes a village.

This book has much more great information for your child.  Take a look.

“Stand Up for Yourself & Your Friends: Dealing with Bullies and Bossiness, and Finding a Better Way,” by Patti Kelley Criswell, illustrated by Angela Martini.  Published by American Girl Publishing,$9.95.

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021  or email  aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com


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