Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Talk about cyberbullying.

What you can do

Talk to your child about bullying in general and online bullying in particular. Assure him that you’ll always be there for him. Make clear that you won’t let kids continue to bully him, but that you have to know about it first in order to help.

Let him know that bullies rarely go away if you just ignore them. This is particularly true online where kids feel emboldened because they’re not making the comments face to face.

Explain how important this issue is and how your child is not alone in being bullied. Talk about how schools have ways of dealing with bullying and that sometimes the police have to be involved. Remind your child that he doesn’t have to endure any amount of bullying. Period.

What you can say

“Jacob, now that you’re spending more time online, I want to be sure you know that you don’t have to put up with anyone who’s intimidating or bullying you. Schools take bullying very seriously. Some kids have even been arrested for bullying.”

“Your teachers and I can do things to stop someone from making your life miserable at school or online. But you have to help us: You have to let us know if it happens and who’s doing it. I know you hate to tell on anyone. We appreciate that, but we never want it to stand in the way of your getting help.”

Why this will help

Children with learning and attention issues may be targeted by bullies. They may have less ability to cope with bullying than their peers. That’s why it’s important for you to explain as clearly as possible that bullying truly is a crime and that your child shouldn’t suffer in silence.

It can help to explain that reporting bullying is just like reporting any other crime. This can make your child feel more comfortable telling a responsible adult and getting the help he needs to stop the bullying.

Get more information on bullying.

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