Cyber-bullying: How parents can help

What is cyber-bullying?

What is cyber-bullying?

Cyber-bullying is engaging in the spread of embarrassing, humiliating, or damaging communication through the internet, cell phones, text or picture messages. Cyber-bullying has resulted in children in skipping school, ruined friendships and in an extreme case, suicide.

Most parents would like to reduce the chances of their children being cyber-bullied, but the problem has become big and chances are they might not escape it at some point in their school lives. So, if they do experience it, parents would like to maximize the probability that they would know how to help them deal with it.

What can parent do?

There is absolutely nothing we can do to guarantee that our children may not be a victim of cyber-bullying, but there are many things parents can do to help minimize its effect if it does occur.

Below are what parents can do to minimize the effects of cyber-bullying:

Listening

The most important thing parents can do, is to listen to their children. By listening, we have given our children the time, attention and security necessary to get to the bottom of the real issues.

Discussing 

There is the need to keep the conversation going with our children regarding the dangers and the fun of the internet. Constantly talk about this at interval to help keep the lines of communication about internet safety.

Building self-confidence

We can help our children fight cyber-bullying by building self-confidence. Let your child know how much you value him because he is part of your life.

Show your child example of building self-confidence by valuing yourself, standing up for yourself, and not allowing others to put you down. With that, your child would know what self-esteem is like.

Enforcing rules

Discuss rules and ask for your child’s input. Always hold your child accountable when any of these rules are broken. Be careful on how you handle self-reported behavior. Children will, most likely not, report behavior if they are afraid of being punished. In most of these cases, what children need are help and guidance.

Finally, always keep computers in common areas of the house so monitoring can be very easily. Restrict communication with the use of filter.

Whenever you suspect that your child is being bullied, talk to him in a clear, and honest way about the situation. He needs to know that you are his great source of support and help.

Balancing Teens’ Freedom and Privacy

Right to privacy against keeping them safe

Balancing Teens’ Freedom and Privacy

Teenagers will always fight privacy – the freedom to do as they wish, without parents prying into their activities – as if their lives depends on it.

Unfortunately, there are times when teens aren’t doing things they should be or they are doing things they shouldn’t be doing. Before now, the privacy issue is always about if their parents have the right to search their rooms or read their diary, but today, there are issues and concerns on how to use the internet

Mistakes parents often make

  • Abandoning children by allowing them too much freedom and increased responsibility than is necessary. For example, not checking their social media posts.
  • Not allowing the freedom to make good judgment and behavior on things they can handle. For example, insisting on reading all of your teen’s texts.

Below are steps you can take to make sure that your children have the right amount of privacy they required.

 Know your children

The best place to start is by observing your children’s behavior. Consider hoe their behavior have been over the few past years and be honest about the assessment to determine if they would require more monitoring on any particular area of their life or not.

Most children who have demonstrated good decisions previously are, most times, more likely to behavior well in the future, but this isn’t a fixed rule. Remember, kids are a work-in-progress, so you must be alert and check for behavior that does not speak well of them and quickly steps in with greater supervision.

Conversely, turning a blind eye on your children who have shown history of untrustworthiness, is not only dangerous but disastrous.

You may need to then follow up by looking in his room for signs of substance abuse paraphernalia. Yes, you are invading his privacy but the goal in this situation is to keep him safe and on a healthy track.

Let go over time

Few things get a teenager riled up faster than the sense that they’re not being treated like a grown-up and not being given a say in things that affect them. So, getting them involved in drafting out an action on the levels of privacy you are willing to give them is a good way to show them respect and to indict that your trust them. Don’t forget to explain to them, that if they want greater privacy, they would have to earn it by doing some specific things. They will come to understand that greater responsibility leads to more privileges and freedoms. 

Setting rules

From day one, make it clear that their privacy on their device is limited – you’ll be checking what’s installed on it regularly. You can as well let them know that you are setting these rules not because you don’t trust them but because it is your job to keep them safe.

Teaching children good manners

Teaching children good manners

Assisting children learn appropriate and polite behavior enables them develop good manners and become more responsible people as they get older. It is much easier to cultivate good behavior in your child if you work as a family to set the rules for good manners in many different situations.

There are a lot of benefits accrued for teaching your child good manners. Every parent will definitely be happy to hear from other parents, and teachers, how polite their children are.

How can parents raise children to be polite?

Model good behavior

At home, parents must model good behavior for your children to follow. This is so important because children easily emulate the behavior of their parents

Always say “please” and “thank you” whenever necessary and encourage your children to do so too. Everyone feels good when they are thanked, even for the smallest of things.

Be Patient

Be very patients with your children about this. This may take a while before it could sink it, especially when this is new in the family. But with gentle and continuous corrections, the results will be worthwhile.

It may require you to put in more months of efforts to make that change, but once you hear your family speaking kindly to one another out of habit, it will surely change the family for the better.

Teach gratitude

Teaching your children manners is more than just words. Gratitude and politeness are obviously a valued features in our culture.

Without such expressions of gratitude, your children may become self-centered and may take for granted all that they have. People who use “please” and “thank you” regularly are regarded as gracious and thoughtful. These two characteristics are admirable in every individual.

Start Early

Start early by inculcating the fundamentals of good manners in your children.

When parents teach appropriate table manners, like no elbows on the table and saying, ‘Please pass the sugar,’ children will consequently learn them and use them too.

Continue as your children grow

For the grown up children, good manners is knowing what to say when someone gives them a gift—even before they open it, what to say when they are introduced to a new person, or how to answer the phone rightly.

If these continues, the child will become accustomed to them and a remainder won’t be needed and less guidance will be required.

Always remember to acknowledge them whenever they use proper manners because they will repeat the behavior you notice.

Helping Teens deal with sexuality and romance

Helping Teens deal with sexuality and romance

As sexuality and romance loom during the adolescent years, a whole new world opens up to teens. Biological and social drives push teens into new sensations and experiences that they might spend most of their time studying on how to deal with the emotions that comes as a result of it.

Becoming comfortable with their the changes occurring in their bodies and learning how to effectively relate with the opposite sex, and entering romantic relationships are just some of the developmental tasks that teens need to deal with before they can leave adolescence and move into young adulthood.

It is essential that parents help their teens during this time by playing a very important play a role in life.

The parent’s Role

Talking may feel awkward

Sexuality is one of the most uncomfortable subjects most parents face during child-rearing. Despite this, parents need to pass on the information and guidance that their teens desperately need information and guidance. Otherwise, friends will be helping out by filling in the knowledge gap with some incorrect information that may lead to risky behavior.

There is no other way through this, parents must communicate with their children about this. If you don’t, your teen children may not feel so comfortable asking you questions based on this, if the need arises.

Talking is essential

No matter how you feel about this, these conversations must take place. If you think you are not so comfortable discussing these things, you can solicit the help of a sibling or an older family member to assist on this subject.

Parents need to share their values 

Although, teens need information as regards sex, but what they need most is understanding their parent’s values as it pertains to sexuality. Helping them to achieve satisfying romantic relationships is one of the most important lessons a parent can ever teach. Developing this may takes years, but with continuous discussions and exposure to the concept, the ideas will sink in.

Don’t always think that schools are covering all that needs to be discussed. Most school curricula is not enough, and does not teach those values that will help teens put facts into contexts with which you will be comfortable.

It may be likely you have some control over what your teen does, but you will not know everything. The decisions they make as regards sexuality is going to be a combination of different factors like their readiness, impulses and their ability to control these impulses, and your values.
For teens to learn about sexuality and becoming comfortable with it, it needs inputs from their own, parents, and peers, and each of these group of people plays a different role in the teens’ developing sexual maturity.

Ways Parents Can Help Prevent Teen Depression

Ways Parents Can Help Prevent Teen Depression

Parents are understandably worried about their teens. The ever increasing rate of teen suicides and depression, have made parents wonder what they could do to help kids overcome treacherous moments during their adolescent years.

Fortunately, scientists have come up with some advice on how to better understand impacts of depression on teens and how to prevent it. These suggestions are explained below.

Provide continual warmth, caring and support

A study result in 2016 of some group of teenagers from different  ethnic backgrounds, have showed that teens with sufficient parental support had lower depression symptoms and lower cortisol and C- reactive protein levels – two physiological markers associated with depression – than teens with less supports.

One important thing from this study is that, supports from peers did not change these markers, suggesting to us that parental support is key.

So, the best way to help guide your teen is to provide appropriate supports without discounting their emotional lives. Showing empathy, asking open-ended rather than pointed questions, seeking to understand rather than correct, being gentle when your teen’s words and actions don’t match, and showing support for their growing autonomy. Most importantly, adequate support and enforcing appropriate limits, are key toward helping your teen avoid depression.

Teach and model strong social and emotional skills

Teens also go through different social and emotional situations, just like adults. These include changing friends, sour romantic relationships, disappointments, the stress of academics and so on. So, coping with these challenges can be difficult, making teens more prone to depression.

According to report, parents can help their teen face emotional challenges by modelling positive emotional responding.

Parents can also help their kids through emotional coaching, starting by accepting their teen’s feelings. Also, practicing mindfulness – which is an awareness of one’s present emotions, thoughts, and experiences – can help parents keep calm whenever they are interacting with teens. This in turn helps teens avoid depression, anxiety, and the use of drugs, which have all been linked to depression.

Encourage positive peer relationship

Teens look to their peers for approval and status. But if these relationships are agitated, they may lead to depression.

A study in 2015, reported that having positive friends, and being in a romantic relationship, can help protect the teenage child from social anxiety and depression.

However, negativity and abuse in friendship and romantic relationship can lead to social anxiety and depression.

So, parents can help their kids by not becoming unnecessarily worried because their kids have many friends and by understanding that taking risks in relationships is part of growing up

Encourage teens to seek purpose in life

Research have shown that having a sense of purpose in life or even searching for one is beneficial for teens, especially as they get older.

Parents need to always interact with their teens by asking relevant questions and then listen carefully to what they have to say in order to assess where their sense of purpose may lie.

So, if parents can practice these points and others, they will not only help their teens avoid problems like depression, but will also help to shape a positive future for them and for society.

Tips for parenting in digital age

Tips for parenting in digital age

Kids between the ages of 6 and 23 fall into the category of people who are now referred to as Post-Millennial or iGen. IGen is a recent name given to any one born between 1995 and 2012. They are about 24% of the American population and the most diverse in the history of America. They are also the most digitally connected and smartphone addicted generation. They were born after the internet has been commercialized and each of them will enter adolescence in the age of the smartphone. As parents, we face many challenges in parenting these kids in the digital age.

Characteristics of iGen

The iGen generation are marked by a few things and they are highlighted below

They are smartphone natives

According to a report, about 80% of iGens are smartphone users.

They are always online

IGens are spending massive amount of time online. They are virtually never offline.

They are secularizing

About one fourth of iGens do not attend religious activities or practice any form of private spirituality

They perceived one another through fractured bites

They connect and learn about one another digitally and in fragments

They are woke

IGens are socially awoke as they can stand up for anyone who is vulnerable and they can rally as seen in such rallies like March for Our Lives and the National School Walkout Day

Tips for iGen parents

Delay social media as long as possible

Social media poses a dilemma. Social media is where teens look for life and it is what costs them their lives. Parents must help their kids see this paradox. Social media, unwisely used, will cost them something precious.

Delay smartphones as long as possible

Once parents introduce their child to a smartphone, with texting and apps like Instagram and Snapchat, parental controls are virtually futile. Kids can be exposed to all kind of materials like nude selfies and sexualized conversations and the parent may never know. So, resist the pressure to give your kid one and don’t leave old phones around.

Keep screens out of bedrooms

Always make this a rule in your home. From 8pm to 8am every day, impose a no TVs, gaming devices, laptops, tablets or phones. Break off the endless social demands, gaming addiction and preserve sleep patterns.

Write a smartphone contract

When you move to the smartphone, write a contract of expected behaviors, curfews, family expectations that comes along with the phone. Have your child share their login information and get familiar with steps to temporarily pause or deactivate the phone

Redeem dinners, car rides and vacations as a family

Ensure you enforce a no phone rule during dinner times, family car rides and  family vacations . Unhurried time together especially during dinner is very important because it provide an opportunity for parents to get to know their kids. It also afford parents to interact with their kids and ask questions like, what happened at school? This fellowship is carried over in more intense way on family vacations.