Educational psychologist Jo Hamilton has written her first book, a hands-on guide for youngsters to help them resist and avoid bullies.
The Ultimate Assertiveness Toolbox for Kids was launched at Kingsmead College on 2 March with an attendance of around 150 people.
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Hamilton was in conversation with a panel of experts, including Dereck Jackson, Dr Brendan Belsham, Nikki Bush and Sister Ann Richardson.
The guide aims to help children develop assertiveness, foster independence and boost self-confidence. “The kids who are frequently picked on at school often aren’t aware of how their own behaviour aggravates the problem. And as parents and teachers, we don’t always know how best to help and advise them. I hope this book will change that,” Hamilton said.
Encouraged by her publisher Sarah McGregor of Clockwork Books, Hamilton aimed to write the book in a practical way that speaks easily to children, parents and teachers.
“We don’t always know how to empower our children so this material is so valuable and timely. The issue has always been there, but our parenting styles differ and we have to use different tools for different personalities,” said McGregor.
The panel of experts, moderated by educational psychologist, Dereck Jackson, was the draw card of the evening. Jackson who wrote the foreword for the book said, “The most common cause of suicide for children under the age of 15 is bullying. Schools in South Africa are tackling the problem but are losing the battle because teachers have not been given the tools to effectively render help.”
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McGregor encouraged Hamilton to continue her writing career, “Jo was incredible to work with. She is unique and so full of personality. She speaks to children in a way they can understand without talking down to them.”
After beginning the publishing process one year ago, McGregor was proud of the response at the book launch, as many people raised more questions than expected during the Q&A segment of the evening, “It seems that this is what people have been looking for. So it is incredible, not only to hold the book in my hands after months of hard work, but to then see the positive response from the readers. That was even better.”