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Book offers advice on dealing with bullies

By: Lauren Weber Gold Country News Service
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More than 50 percent of students say they see others bullied at least once a week, according to the National Crime Prevention Council Web site. Rocklin resident Dr. Lothar Mader sees it in his practice on a regular basis as a psychologist. “There’s a lot of children that I see where siblings often times call each other names,” Mader said. With an emphasis in child development, he works with many children and families in his Roseville independent practice. Many times he uses books as tools while working with children, he said. Because of that, he saw a need for a constructive book on bullying. “There’s really nothing good out there on name calling,” he said. That reasoning prompted Mader to write his own children’s book, which he began in July of 2007. In December 2008, the book hit shelves both in store and in cyberspace. The book title, “Fartface: Stop Teasing Me, Bulliback…,” was chosen by Mader after hearing the name during a session with a child. “I thought this was a cool name,” Mader said. “It’s not too offensive. There are a lot worse things kids are called.” The book tells the story a child named Erik who is continually bullied and called names by Bulliback. At first Erik becomes angry, upset and feels like crying. But after talking with his mother, she gives him advice that goes against what children are many times taught. She tells her son to “show him names don’t bother you.” Mader advises children being teased or bullied not to ignore the teaser, but instead to let the teaser know it doesn’t bother you, he said. “Their reaction is what keeps the teasing going,” Mader said. When children say “stop bullying me” to the teaser, it’s accusing the person of being a bully and brings up a challenge, he said. His book tells children to show that the teasing doesn’t affect them. “Whatever you throw at me, it’s really funny,” Mader said, as an example of a comeback to a tease. The last page of the book has a suggested lesson plan for parents and teachers, which has children practice teasing responses. “The emphasis is very direct,” Mader said. “When we look at behavioral change, you need to practice.” Many other psychology books for children also include lesson plans, some like Mader’s book with specific role-playing. He also finds it informative to read and follow his lesson plan during client sessions. “It has an impact and they remember that,” he said. According to Mader, name-calling is one of the first signs of bullying and he hopes his book helps parents, teachers and children cope and respond to it. During the book writing process, Mader knew that illustrations would be what really enticed kids and helped them understand the concept. One of his wife’s former students, Robert William Palitti of Roseville, agreed to illustrate the story. Although Mader and Palitti became acquainted about 20 years before, they ran into each other at a local store and almost immediately started working on illustration plans. But Palitti admitted he wasn’t sure anything would come from their chance encounter, as many times people don’t follow up on it, but Mader followed through with a call. “Proof to me right there that he’s serious,” Palitti said. They shared ideas and Mader gave rough drawings of what he envisioned, Palitti said. Together they came up with a space-like setting with an imaginative world of eyeball flowers, the ring-wearing lunch monitor, Mrs. NoCrumb Left-Behind and the multi-eyed yard monitor, Mr. Seeall-Hearall. “Being a storyteller myself, I read it and thought, ‘It’s good that he’s keeping it simple,’” Palitti said. Mader’s 27-page book is available online at Amazon.com, www.-lulu.com/content/2606876, Borders.com and Barnesand-noble.com for $14.95. – Contact Lauren Weber at laurenw@goldcountrymedia.com.