Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What can I do if my child is being bullied? Part 1 - Retreat

HumpDay Dilemma

Bullying is not a new phenomenon.  It has happened from the beginning of time and it is not unique to children.  However, today bullying is far more reaching because of the use of computers, smart phones and social media.  The internet is where a lot of bullying happens today and because most children are “plugged in” 24/7, it is next to impossible for them to get away from the teasing and taunting.  When I was bullied as a child I could go home and retreat from the pain.  Now children have to do homework on the internet.  They communicate with their friends via smart phones and social media where both friends and enemies are present.  There are very few ways to retreat from the problem.  

Bullying is a huge issue. Today I will talk about some tips to help your child escape from cyber style bullies.  Over the next 4 weeks I will also give you some tips on how you should and SHOULD NOT attempt to help your children with a bullying problem.  I am even going to talk about what to do if you realize your child is being the bully.  

     1.       Set a “turn it off” time in your house.  Yes, your children have to do homework on the computer and yes they want to talk or text their friends on the computer, but you, as the parent, can tell them at 8 P.M. the computer gets turned off and so does the phone.  I can guarantee that your teenagers or preteens will not like this.  However, it is your way of looking out for their best interest.  By making them put away the technology for the night, you give your children that retreat that they might be unaware they even need.  

    2.       Be on those sites yourself.  Most of us by now have Facebook pages, but guess what.  Kids are gravitating to other sites now.  I could suggest a few but by the time this posts it would be wrong because kids today cycle through this stuff so fast.  As a parent of children online, you need to figure out what they are using and be on those sites too.  Ask them about it.  You can help your child’s embarrassment by promising not to post pictures or comments on their page and you can even give yourself a different name to avoid making them feel awkward.  However, if you do this, you must follow through on that promise.  It can be done with respect, letting your children know that you trust them but that you also care about them enough to want to know and understand what is going on in their life.  Again, they might hate it but I believe deep down in they will respect it.   
     3.       Don’t be quick to judge what they post or what their friends post.  The quickest way to get your children to start sneaking around is to point out every time they do or say something online that you find inappropriate.  Yes, you have the responsibility to correct inappropriate behavior.  But you need to find a way to correct it that does not cause them to hide things from you.  This is a tough thing to do and will be different with each child.  Don’t give up and work to be the kind of parent that your children will want to follow even if they want to follow from a distance. 

Remember to check back next week for our continued discussion on bullying. 

No comments: