How To Help Your Child Cope With Cyberbullying In A New School
by Joyce Wilson
Moving is stressful at any age, but for children, the prospect of relocating and changing schools can be especially traumatic. Oftentimes, “the new kid” is subject to being picked on in the new school. To complicate matters, cyberbullying can be especially challenging for parents and kids alike. How do you help your child cope when bullying isn’t happening face to face?
Here are some tips and tools to help.
Being the new kid
Moving can be very stressful for children. Some experts recommend moving when there is already a planned transition, like after the school year completes or before entering high school. Psychology Today suggests that changes in the middle of the school year or in the middle of high school can be much harder. Here are some great suggestions for helping your child through the transition:
● Let your child know early on that you will be moving
● Let your child vent worries without judging him or her
● Have a going away party
● Allow your child to make some of the decisions relating to the move
● Help your child to keep in touch with old friends
During the adolescent years, kids are in the process of learning who they are as individuals, preparing to leave the nest, and are forging deeper friendships with their peers. That evolution has a big hiccup when a move is involved. If your child becomes the target of a bully on top of all that, experts say it can be emotionally devastating.
Tools in your toolbag
Some experts recommend a conversation about bullying to give your child some basic coping skills. The Los Angeles Times recommends watching this great video to open lines of communication with your child about bullying.
It also suggests three simple tips for dealing with bullies:
1. “That’s not cool.” If the bully is a friend, your child can use these three little words to address the issue.
2. Tell the school. Your child can approach a teacher or other school official with the problem.
3. Don’t laugh. Laughter encourages bullies.
Cyberbullying occurs when kids use technology to bully their peers. Bullies use avenues such as texting or social media to harass or embarrass victims. It has become so rampant that some studies show one in four adolescents is cyberbullied. It can seem overwhelming and complicated when the situation isn’t occurring in person. Here is how you can respond if you believe your child is being cyberbullied:
● Be supportive. Make sure your child knows coming to you is the right thing to do, and he or she is not to blame for the situation. Encourage your child not to fan the flames by responding to the bully. Be sure the school is aware of the situation and see if a counselor is available to talk with your child.
● Be protective. Record all of the evidence you can. If you have photos, screenshots, text messages, or voice recordings, save them. Then block the bully on all accounts and devices.
● Be comforting. Kids respond to your stress with more anxiety. Your fearful response tells your child there is something to fear. Instead, maintain a positive attitude and keep lines of communication open.
Less stress at home
Having a safe haven at home can help your child cope with stress. Here are some helpful tips:
● Get a calm start on the day, not rushed or chaotic.
● Be sure your child gets enough sleep.
● Instead of staying chronically busy, be sure you child is getting sufficient downtime.
● Talk with your child and offer advice, but don’t be critical.
● Set aside some alone time in a quiet space to disconnect from others and make time for yourself
Being the new kid isn’t easy, especially if targeted by a bully. Prepare your child with some basic tools, keep lines of communication open, and make sure your home is as stress-free as possible. You can help your child cope, even with a cyberbully.
Side note: I hope you enjoyed reading this information as much as I did. Thank you Joyce for sharing ideas on how to stop and cope with bullying. You can check out her website at teacherspark.org
Please #makethetime and #takethetime today to talk to your child about bullying.
No child should ever be bullied or bully.
It all starts at home by teaching your child to be kind and respect one another.
If we, as parents and caregivers, #takeastand together to stop bullying we can #makeadifference
Show your kids you care.
All of my best, Dyan