Rarely a week goes by without hearing about some teen who committed suicide or a terrible act of violence because of bullying. Bullying isn’t new. In fact, I would imagine everyone reading this was teased or bullied to the point of tears at some point in their life.
Parents have struggled for years to find ways to help their children deal with the inevitable feelings of sadness, fear or worry that often result from the behavior of bullies. You probably heard “They are just jealous.”, “Ignore her” or “Stand up to him” from your own parents.
I have looked for years to find a great resource for tweens and teens to help them deal with “mean girls” and bullies from a Christian perspective. It is finally being released this week. Stand Strong by Nick Vujicic is the best book on bullying I have seen and the best part is that it is written from a Christian perspective.
Nick Vujicic was born without arms and legs. He is very open about his journey learning to accept his disability and the role his faith had in the process. He has written several other books for adults on his life and how he has triumphed when others had doubts. This time his book was written to help kids and teens learn how to stand strong in the face of teasing, bullies, mean girls and the other terrors that are destroying many of our young people today.
Vujicic is not a pollyanna. He even attempted suicide at the age of ten and is quite open about the incident, his thought process and the thinking that prevented him from going through with it. He doesn’t throw platitudes at readers either. Instead he has developed one of the best plans I have ever seen to set up a wall of protection against bullies and their tactics.
It’s hard to pick a favorite part of the book. Vujicic’s plan is so thorough and so concrete, I think it will help teens who aren’t currently being harassed as well. It involves so many of the life skills all teens need to become godly individuals and develop into the people God meant for them to be.
Vujicic strongly encourages readers to develop a relationship with God. Even though it is a major part of his plan, he does not try to force teens to believe. In fact, he quotes stories of teens who are not Christian, but used other parts of his plan to stand strong against bullies.
My only minor criticism is that the author is writing from his perspective of being bullied by boys. The benefit is that he does one of the best jobs I have ever seen of dealing with the idea of physical violence and bullies. He is somehow able to balance Christian values which suggest non-violence and the realistic thought that at some point a bullied child may need to defend himself to survive.
Although he does a lot to address the idea of social mean girl behavior, you can tell he does not have a lot of personal experience with the subject. His advice in dealing with the meanness particular to girls is just not quite as thorough. In spite of that, the bulk of the advice in the book will still position girls to stand strong against the mean girls of life. If there is a second edition, he may want to consider having his wife or another woman add more tips for dealing with mean girls.
If your child is teased, bullied or is involved with mean girls, run and buy this book. Share the youtube video of Nick with your kids or teens before giving them the book to read. It’s not mandatory, but I think it will help them appreciate the book even more. Read the book with your kids and discuss how you might be able to help them put the author’s plan into action. You will be an important part of your child’s defense system and you need to understand your role as much as your child does. I would love to hear your thoughts after you both finish the book. What changes did you make after reading it? What changes did you see in your child?
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. It is so good, I would gladly have paid for it and plan to share it with the teens I know.