Tag Archives: BULLYING

Spotting and Addressing Cyberbullying in Teens: A Parent’s Guide

cyber bullying pic

(Photo via Pixabay)

Spotting and Addressing Cyberbullying in Teens: A Parent’s Guide

The life of a teenager is fraught with peril. From a changing hormonal makeup to the establishment of potentially lifelong identities and the formation of their own sense of morality, it is a time of personal upheaval and confusing change.

Making this time even more stressful for many teens is the existence of bullying in one’s life. While bullying in the traditional sense remains, it has also taken on a new form. The prevalence of the internet and social media in young people’s lives has meant a rise in cyberbullying, which in many ways can be worse than traditional bullying. Parents must be aware of the signs that their child may be the victim of cyberbullying, and how they should go about preventing or resolving the problem.

Spotting a Problem

If you ever see your child exhibiting behavior which you believe qualifies as bullying, sit them down and explain to them the damage they may be inflicting upon those who they are treating improperly. However, this article will focus primarily on the effects that cyberbullying takes on its victims.

One of the factors which most indicates a child will be at-risk for cyberbullying victimhood is the amount of time they spend online. If your child spends what you consider to be a disproportionate amount of time online and/or on social media, consider that this is putting them at risk for victimhood.

Gossip and rumor-spreading have been found to be the primary behaviors which constitute cyberbullying, and many victims either ignore or pretend to ignore the problem. However, in many cases a child’s behavior will change drastically. While 40% of internet-using youth in the United States reported being cyberbullied, only 10% said they would tell their parents about the problem, making vigilance by parents of their child’s changing demeanor crucially important.

Victims of bullying tend to be more submissive by nature, but this may be exacerbated by active bullying. In addition, victims tend to be withdrawn, isolated, uncooperative, less sociable, and lacking in friends. If your child exhibits these traits, consider that they may be the result of persistent cyberbullying, and urge that they open up about any problems they may be experiencing.

Addressing a Problem 

Once you have noticed behavioral changes or deficiencies in your child, sit them down for a serious yet empathetic discussion. Ask if they are dealing with a bully, and if not, urge them to tell you what is contributing to their changes in behavior. Assuring the child that you too have dealt with bullying, and that you are there to be a sounding board for their personal problems is very important.

If cyberbullying is, in fact, the root of your child’s problems, begin by restricting internet use. Of course, explaining to them that it is in their own interest will reduce the amount of likely backlash. Then, reporting the problem – preferably with evidence of bullying in hand – to the school’s administration is the next step in stymieing the problem. Approaching the bully’s parent in a calm, reasonable way may also be an option to end the bullying, as parents often are the most influential force in that child’s life.

Lastly, inform your child about how to stand up for themselves. Tolerating the forms of microaggressions – specifically microinsults, microassaults, and microinvalidation – is in many cases an open-door for further bullying. These forms of less overt insults and slights should not be tolerated, and equipping your child with the verbal tools to combat even the most mild forms of bullying is a key to lifelong coping.

Conclusion

Technology has bred new forms of bullying. While the effects are similar to those of bullying, some unique differences – primarily the ever-present threat which social media poses on cyberbullying victims – means that bullying may be present in the home without parents even being aware. However, with consistent awareness of a child’s demeanor, open communication in discussing problems, and well-informed solutions to resolving any issues which may arise, parents can do their part in combating cyberbullying.

Written by Laura Pearson Edutude.net | laura@edutude.net

 

 

 

 

Standing up to Bullies: One Woman VS. 300 Neo-Nazis

Inspirational Power: “If one person can do it – anyone can.”  This one-woman protest against 300 uniformed neo-Nazis has become a symbol of defiance against Sweden’s right wing. “Hell no, they can’t march here!” said Tess Asplund, whose photo has gone viral. [Source – AJ+ is a global news community for the connected generation. They highlight human struggles and achievements, empower impassioned voices, and challenge the status quo. They bring you the stories that are shaping our world.] 

You Can’t Tell Anybody! Hearing and Telling Secrets

What should you do when your child says they can only tell you something if you promise to keep it a secret?

“Secrets are the coin of the realm in teen and tween friendships. Our children may share these with us believing that, by extension, we’re bound by their promises. Shattering that faith is heart-rending, complicated, and sometimes necessary. What do you do when your child confides in you and tells you a secret that involves harm or risky behavior? There are no hard and fast rules, but experts agree on the basics.”  from Great Schools by Kathryn Baron. 

“Better Mad than Dead”: Keeping a Friend’s Suicidal Thoughts Secret 

“Teenagers who think of suicide often  tell only their friends, and they make the friends promise to keep their suicidal thoughts secret. This puts the friends of a suicidal teen in a bind. Should they break their promise and tell an adult?” Written by Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW

I recommend every adult, teen, and tween read the above articles for guidance on how to handle the difficult situation of being asked to keep a secret when professional help is need. 

 

20 Girls in Their 20s Open Up About How They Were Bullied — And How They Overcame It

Girl-Bullying

For many of us, it’s the silence of being friendless and alone that causes us pain. That silence can be just as loud as a group of kids teasing you in the cafeteria. Getting attention for the wrong thing can be just as horrible as being left out. However you are bullied, actively or passively, you feel less than, like your existence doesn’t matter, like you should just roll over and die already. Some of us have the tendency to take it out on other people. Sports teams, sororities, and fraternities have traditions of hazing because “we’ve all been through it” and “it makes you stronger.” But that’s missing the point. My favorite life lesson: if someone is yelling at you, it’s because someone else is yelling at them. Don’t become another bully, be the hero who breaks the cycle. Once you stand up for yourself, it gets easier every time.

Visit Teen Vogue for 20 personal stories about bullying. (Post is an excerpt from Teen Vogue article) 20 Girls in Their 20s Open Up About How They Were Bullied — And How They Overcame It:  by 

 

How Childhood Trauma Could Be Mistaken for ADHD

Some experts say the normal effects of severe adversity may be misdiagnosed as ADHD. Inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive behavior may mirror the effects of adversity, and many doctors don’t know how—or don’t have time—to tell the difference.

adhd-kids

When speaking to traumatized children inappropriately diagnosed with ADHD, Dr. Heather Forkey, a pediatrician at University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center, offers them a reassuring explanation of their behavior. The body’s stress system, she says, developed long ago in response to life-or-death threats like a predatory tiger. The part of the brain that controls impulses, for example, shuts off so that survival instincts can prevail.

“What does that look like when you put that kid in a classroom?” Forkey asks. “When people don’t understand there’s been a tiger in your life, it looks a lot like ADHD to them.”

Forkey’s goal is to remind doctors that inattentive and hyperactive behavior can be traced back to any number of conditions—just like chest pains don’t have the same origin in every patient. Ideally, the AAP will offer pediatricians recommendations for screening tools that efficiently gauge adversity in a child’s life. That practice, she says, should come before any diagnosis of ADHD.

While there are few recommendations now for clinicians, that will likely change in the coming years. The American Academy of Pediatrics is currently developing new guidance on ADHD that will include a section on assessing trauma in patients, though it won’t be completed until 2016.

Excerpt from: The Atlantic article – “How Childhood Trauma Could Be Mistaken for ADHD”

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/07/how-childhood-trauma-could-be-mistaken-for-adhd/373328/