Saturday, July 23, 2011

Parents Helping Parents find Solutions for Bullying

Parents Helping Parents find Solutions

It was a bitter sweet day for us when our book “When Your Child is Being Bullied; Real Solutions for Parents, Educators and Other Professionals” was released.  How we wish we were not part of the 25 million families that had to deal with bullying but we were not so lucky.  As we struggled to find solutions during our journey we knew there were other parents in the same difficult situation.  That is one of the reasons why we decided to write about the book.  We want to help you find solutions quickly.

Like most parents we did not want to discuss our bullying issue with any other parent for fear that they would think that there was something “wrong” with our child.  We are frequently asked what was “wrong” with our children that they were bullied.  It turns out there was nothing wrong with our children but there was something not right about the child doing the bulling.  This was another contributing factor that motivated us to write about solutions.  We want to help your child.   There is nothing wrong with your child, remind them that there is something not right about the bully’s behavior.        

Our best advice is to act quickly and professionally.  Do not give up until you have the right solution for your family.  We are happy to report that both of our families have survived and are thriving; we have even become closer for the experience.

We welcome your questions or comments.  E-mail us at    Visit our website for more information and advice. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Preventing and Addressing Tween/Teen Group-Think On Social Media

It is unbelievably easy for kids 8-18 yrs old to fall victim to what we call "Social Media Group Think," where one child's opinion or actions quickly becomes the prevailing action of many.  As a result, an unstoppable rumor can develop causing pain and devastation.  Kids will tell you: "I got wrapped up in it- I did not mean it,"  or "It all happened so fast,"  and yes, "It seemed right then."

It can happen in a nanosecond.  Social Media Group-Think becomes online bullying. One child using very poor judgement.  Another child with grudge.  A third child has anger issues.  All share one thing: none of them have fully developed judgement systems.

Which is why, as a parent, we must understand this fact and compensate, everyday.

We truly believe that the vast majority of parents are really "good parents." However, even good parents forget their role in monitoring activity online.

Preventing Kids Group-Think On Social Media

  • Always ask your child to "friend you" on any social media account they have
  • Require they share the password with you
  • Don''t sneak and look at their accounts, be honest and let them know you will be looking at it intermittently  
  • Coach them on dangerous discussions and share ways to either avoid or step in to defend the victim safely and effectively 
  • Share the ill-effects of sharing inappropriate or inaccurate statements on line and how it ruins lives, literally- provide examples
  • Provide boundaries and limits in terms of actions and time on social media

Addressing Social Media Group-Think Bullying

  • Always encourage your child to share discussions on social media that look problematic with you
  • If your child  sees a rumor, inaccurate statement or "mean-talk", have them alert you immediately. Discuss the best way to stop this issue: 1. Making a clear statement rebutting the issue. 2. Buffering it with humor  3. Ignore it ( only do this on the first episode and only if it is minor in nature -- never ignore if it is egregious or ongoing in any way)  4. If it is the least bit inflammatory, as a parent, consider posting a statement indicating you are the child's parent and that while the statement may not have been intended to be cruel, it was and it needs to stop online, in person and everywhere. Ask for apologies. 
  • Keep online and hard copies of the incident and document (even the first episode).
  • If the issue recurs: address with the school  (many schools will not intervene however), address with the parents respectfully and calmly (but be direct).
  • Email the superintendent and school board if the school administration will not help
  • If it continues, go to the local law enforcement office or county-level (frequently if the local police do not have a cyber-bullying unit, the county will)
We have many other solutions in our book, "When Your Child Is Being Bullied:Real Solutions"

See  or for a copy of our book.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Schools and Parents Need to Work Together to Solve Bullying

While all would agree that working collaboratively is a good thing, there is a perennial argument that we hear all the time.  Parents claim the bullying is happening at school, so they should solve it.  Alternately,
schools claim that if parents were doing a better job, they would not have a problem to solve.

If you can be simultaneously right and wrong, both sides are.  The reality is that both sides have to work hard and work respectfully. Pointing fingers at each other is not useful.  Realizing there is a problem, identifying the problem and addressing the issues in an assertive, dedicated, yet respectful way is critical.

Parents need to realize schools are overwhelmed and stressed out. Schools need to understand that parents can get the job done successfully. Schools need embrace parents' ideas and try them. Parents need to hear schools and be open to compromise.

However, neither side should ever compromise the safety of any child. Working passionately and quickly demonstrates to the community that schools are dedicated to a solutions. This becomes infectious in a very positive way and encourages the community at large to help.

Everyone can and should contribute. Embrace each other and make it happen!  Be role models for children and demonstrate that many folks with many perspectives can come together and solve problems.

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