Are you viewing this post on a desktop, tablet or smartphone?
The answer to that question alone shows that the way we communicate has moved online. This also means that the way bullying or abuse occurs has moved online as well. So what can parents do to stop bullying in person and online?
1. Choices have consequences. As a parent, this is the golden rule. Acclaimed play therapist Dr. Gary Landreth advocates that choice giving teaches decision-making and promotes self-responsibility and self-control. Choosing to give your child access to a computer, a tablet, or a mobile phone is a decision that has many consequences, positive and negative. It is important to explore all of these consequences and set clear and reasonable boundaries together with your children. The key word here is together.
2. Establish an honest, trusting relationship with your children and become their safe adult. When you have a good relationship with your children the need to snoop or threaten your children with punishments becomes obsolete.
3. Encourage your children to become the DBBW if bullying does occur!
a) Be a Detective! Find out what the bully is planning to do.
b) Be the Brains! Name the consequences.
c) Be the Backup! Suggest an appropriate alternative.
d) Be a Welcomer! Leave the welcome mat out.
4. Do not blame your child when bullying or abuse occurs online or in person. It is never someone’s fault if another person chooses to hurt them physically, verbally, emotionally, or otherwise. It is also important not to minimize the situation by saying that bullying is normal, that bullying is just a part of growing up or the fall back that kids will be kids. Remember: Number 1 – choices have consequences!
5. If bullying or abuse does occur, document it until sufficient evidence is collected and can be brought to a school counselor or the police. This includes taking screen shots of online conversations and making notes when other forms of bullying happen in person.