No Name-Calling Week: How to Teach Kids to Use Words Appropriately


Name calling not only affects our children, it affects siblings, parents, and adults too. That is right! Adults are guilty in their relationships as well.  It is time to set an example for our children and stop the cycle. Remember when your mother used to say "sticks and stones can break your bones, words will never hurt you." WRONG! Words can hurt, sometimes even as badly.  In honor of proving that out-of-date childhood adage incorrect, the week of January 24th-28th has been set aside as No Name-Calling Week in schools across the country. Check out these great children’s book titles that can help you reinforce this important message at home and maybe even help you as well.


3 Books That Reinforce the Concept of No Name Calling

1. Bullies Never Win by Margery Cuyler

This easy-to-relate-to children’s book tells the tale of Brenda Bailey, a bully who persistently and relentlessly taunts and teases her classmate, Jessica. Cuyler creates an accurate portrayal of how targets like Jessica typically respond to bullying, including experiencing anxiety, losing sleep, quitting sports, changing their style of dress, and fearing asking for help. She also uses Jessica to show young readers that the best way to handle bullies is to stand up to them in assertive ways. Jessica’s bold “Toothpicks may be thin, but bullies never win,” is a triumphant moment of self-defense that can inspire and embolden elementary school-aged readers.

2. My Secret Bully by Trudi Ludwig

My Secret Bully, written for tween readers, lifts the lid off of the hidden culture of relational aggression, otherwise known as girl bullying.  It tells the story of Monica and Katie—two girls who have been friends since Kindergarten, but who now are facing a rift in their relationship, as Katie begins to exclude and embarrass her former friend in front of their other classmates.  In tackling this painful subject of the ways in which some girls use relationships as weapons, Ludwig provides an accurate and not-often-addressed portrait of a young girl’s anguish at the hands of a frenemy. My Secret Bully is not a light-hearted portrayal of bullying, nor does it offer pat answers.  But it does address an important issue in the lives of upper elementary and middle school-aged girls and can serve as a great springboard for discussions with parents.

3. One by Kathryn Otoshi

You know how sometimes a book comes along that you just know you will hold on to long after your child is done with it?  Borrowing it from the Library will not do—you have to own it and you are certain it will be a top gift pick for any of your Mom friends. For me, that book is this one!  Part of the magic of One is the significance of its message, conveyed in the simplest of terms and illustrations. This multi-award winner is one of the best books I’ve read (and I’ve read a LOT!) on the subject of the power that one child can have to change a bullying situation and to stand up for themselves in a way that garners self-respect and promotes dignity for all.

Additional information, suggested resources, and engaging discussion ideas to use during No Name-Calling Week can be found online at

Signe Whitson, LSW is a family therapist and an adviser on how to handle passive aggressive behavior in our day to day lives.  She has co-authored the book, "The Angry Smile: The Psychology of Passive Aggressive Behavior in Families, Schools and Workplaces", a self help book for those subjected to this type of behavior.  Her partnership with My Baby Clothes has afforded her more exposure to the parenting community.  New baby on the way? Check out their selection of tutus and matching baby headbands perfect for every angel.
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