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Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Practice responding to online requests.

What you can do

Practice ways your child can respond to online requests that make her uncomfortable or intimidated. Help her understand which requests she should try to gracefully decline and which ones she should ignore.

What you can say

“Sofia, it’s OK to ignore a friend request from someone you don’t know. It’s a little bit trickier if a classmate asks you something and you don’t want to answer it. There’s a polite way to make that clear without ending your relationship.”

“Let’s say a classmate you don’t know well asks you online to go to the homecoming dance with him. If you’re not sure whether it’s a sincere offer, or if it’s even really from him, you could say, ‘Thanks, I already made plans to go to the dance. Hope to see you there, though.’”

“If a classmate asks you something very personal, a good response is ‘Sorry, not comfortable answering that,’ or ‘Sorry, none of your business.’ If someone’s being a jerk, you don’t need to respond at all.”

“Remember that nobody on the web can make you do or say anything you don’t want to. I’m always here if you need me. We can work together on how to respond to questions you’re concerned about.”

Why this will help

Identifying possible questions and practicing how to safely respond will prevent your child from being caught off guard. This kind of preparation can be empowering. Remind her that she’ll never be sorry for what she doesn’t say.

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