I read, in one engaged sitting, Pamela Price’s new book Gifted, Bullied, Resilient: A Brief Guide for Smart Families. She presents a guidebook on gathering a team and resources to respond to bullying in gifted and multiply-exceptional families, from larger coordinated responses to just you and your kid and your internal resources of courage and empathy.
Price draws from a wealth of thinkers, from Elvis to Thich Nhat Hanh. She also mentions the work of some NVC trainers, including Inbal Kashtan (a dear, and deceased, friend of mine), and Jean Morrison and Christine King (developers of the Grok feelings and needs cards). To this great team, please allow me to introduce the restorative justice work of Dominic Barter.
Barter encourages us to identify an act, and then to name the author of the act and the receiver of the act. Both the author and the receiver are impacted by an act of bullying.
Name the behavior, not the person.
This gives us a glimpse into taking an empathic stance about what needs were involved on the part of the receiver of the act and the author of the act, tragic as the act may be. This deep digging isn’t about being soft, but about being rigorous about the relevant needs and enabling us to be more confident about better outcomes in the future.
Price writes of relational aggression in a way that helped me connect with the subtleties and complexities of patterns of bullying. Her empathic firmness is both protective and uplifting.
Price completed impeccable research from books and journals, as well as personally gathering stories from over 100 families. She also offers a self-study so vulnerable as to be healing in its own right. In December, she told me in an interview that “we have to give kids words.” She takes it further here, modeling a courageous introspection.
The reason I value that vulnerability so much isn’t just for the courage of it, but that sometimes you need to scan all parts of an experience to notice multiple access points for shifts and healing. Tearing your heart open, in the presence of fear, is a bold move. Price models, explains, and invites this vulnerability in the most accessible way I have seen in this content area.
Read it first in a comfortable place, allowing an hour for the read and an hour to be gentle with yourself. If bullying is a sensitive subject for you, have a friend on call. Call that friend, if it even only crosses your mind. Later, look up resources and suggestions as needed.
The lessons and resources shared in this book serve the fundamental goal of empowering people to work for safety. I am left with a gut sense of “We can handle this.”
This book contributes to power and healing, two central needs in our responses to bullying. I would also encourage kids to read this book, perhaps a PG level of emotional intensities, depending on if and how they are impacted by bullying.
This post was part of the GHF Blog Hop on Bullies, Bullying, and Gifted/2E Kids.