Parent Sanity – How to be a parent and keep your sanity

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How to help your kids deal with cyberbullying

on October 18, 2012

By now, most people have heard about the tragedy of BC teen, Amanda Todd and her ordeal with cyberbulling. I cannot image what her parents are going through and only hope that they are seeking professional help to cope with the tragic loss of their daughter.As a parent, our job raising our kids revolve around providing guidance and structure, a loving environment, a good education, and basic food, shelter and safety needs. What do we do when our kids experience bullying? What can we do to help them either avoid it happening, or cope if it does?

I am not writing this blog from a position of authority on bullying. I am not an expert. How many of us are? But we still need to talk about it.

In school, our kids are exposed quite early on with messages on bullying. As parents, we need to continue this dialogue at home. When they are in elementary school, we tend to be quite involved with helping our kids identify bullying and teaching them skills to avoid or stand up to bullies.

But what about when our kids enter high school? It appears that a lot of parents tend to back off and let their kids deal with it. That is not the case with Amanda Todd. From what I have read, her parents were very involved with trying to help her – even changing schools multiple times. Again, tragic story.

According to The Kids Help Phone1 published research paper:

“65% of respondents to the 2011 Kids Help Phone cyberbullying survey reported having been the targets of cyberbullying at least once.”

Whenever such tragedy occurs, I think it opens up an opportunity for us as parents to revisit this dialogue with our teens. In a mind of a teenager, when something goes wrong, they often think its never going to get better. They don’t have a lot of life experience, and feel that the situation is “the worst thing that as ever happened to me” and “how am I ever going to get through this”. Much of the cause for teen suicide.

What can we do as parents?

  • Become more observant – is there a change in your teen’s behaviour, or school marks that might signify an issue?
  • What rules are in place around internet? Are you aware of what your teens are doing on the internet, communicating through social media, etc. Teens need structure and rules.
  • If there are signs of bullying, we need to open up lines of communication, take it seriously, remind our teens of the tragedies that have occurred, reach out to schools, authorities, and get our kids into professional help.
  • Post the Kids Help Phone number on your fridge at home – if your teen is reluctant to talk to you, perhaps they will call the Help Phone.
  • Finally, I think we need to do more to educate ourselves in this area. A quick Google search provided me with what appears to be some useful information. Check them out below.

3 responses to “How to help your kids deal with cyberbullying

  1. Deb Fraleigh says:

    Thank you. It is a very important topic and one that is important to me. My kids have experienced various types of bullying and we need to keep talking about this to help put an end to bullying. I just heard a stat this week, that if bullies are confronted by peers, it makes them stop 80% of the time

  2. Artisanian says:

    Great posting! Bullying and Teen Suicide are two of the most serious issues facing our young people today, and the more we speak out about them, the better.

  3. Jo-Ann says:

    Wonderful post Deb and great links for those that may read your post looking for answers. It is a very unfortunate topic and one that is often proven tragic as was the case for Amanda (so sad). Talking about the issue and getting more and more awareness “out there” is a start in the fight against this type of bullying

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