Book Review: Be Bully Free by Thornton & Panckridge

Book Review: Be Bully Free, by Cathie Thornton & Michael Panckridge

A self-help resource outlining how to better cope with the impact and ramifications of being bullied and how to avoid being the target of bullying.


In the introduction to Be Bully Free the authors identify that approximately 1 in 5 students are bullied. More recent research shows that this has risen to 1 in 4. If there is a major issue we are continually made aware of in schools and out, online and off, it’s that of bullying and the impact on the lives of young Australians.

Thornton, a psychologist and school counsellor, and Panckridge, a children’s novelist and middle school teacher, have put together a self-published, self-help resource, outlining how to better cope with the impact and ramifications of being bullied, how to avoid being the target of bullying, and a range of life skills to assist in strengthening the inner personal resolve.

bebullyfree200The book initially identifies what is or is not bullying and then the 3 types of bullying behaviour:

  • Overt – that which is through direct contact with a bully, face-to-face verbal and physical activity
  • Covert – the malicious kind, spread through lies or indirect attacks
  • Cyber – that which is achieved through text messaging and social media networks.

This is followed by 24 individual accounts of bullying, experienced by students, in relation to their physical attributes and activities, academic capabilities and emotional development, in terms of friendships and relationships. Each individual account is then reflected upon, in terms of how it could have been handled and approached more proactively by the victim, as well as providing ‘Key Points to Remember’.

The subsequent portions of the book relay health and mindful living techniques incluidng sleeping habits, eating properly, assertiveness and meditation techniques.

As a resource for identifying bullying techniques, this book covers the range and types. The problem is that it almost completely ignores the cause (only 2 and a half pages to bullying behaviour) and focuses on trying to convince the victim that by hardening up, things can only get better, as their resolve to tolerate it reaches capacity.

Bullying will only become more prevalent, until a stand against this behaviour is taken. Thornton & Panckridge needed to address both the cause and the symptom. Perhaps a companion volume will follow.

Reviewed by: Glen Christie

Rating out of 10:  4

Be Bully Free is self-published and available now in paperback through the Be Bully Free website.

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