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When your Child is Being Cyberbullied

What To Do If Your Child Is Being Cyberbullied

Your child being bullied is every parent's worst nightmare. Naturally, you want to do whatever you can to stop it and protect your child from the bullies. What will you do when your child is being cyberbullied?

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Cyberbullying is a concern of recent decades. Cyberbullying plays out online, in texts, and on social media, and takes a different form than physical bullying. This makes cyberbullying far more difficult to monitor and manage. It's a lot easier to spot a child being harassed in a classroom than in their Snapchat messages. How can teachers and parents police kids' cyber-lives? How can you even tell if your child is being cyberbullied? 

Here, we break down a few signs that your child may be the victim of cyberbullying, and what you can do about it. There are loads of groups you can turn to for help, whether you are dealing with Cyberbullying in UAE, America, or elsewhere. If your kid is the cyberbully get help here.



When your Child is Being CyberBullied


Spotting the Signs

There are some common signs that your child is being cyberbullied, including:


1) Nervous, anxious, or jumpy when receiving a text, email, or message on social media, or when using it generally.

2) Very reluctant to tell you about what they do online. 

3) Upset, angry, or stressed after online gaming or another online activity. 

4) Suddenly leaving their console, phone, tablet, or computer after using it, or suddenly closing the device before an activity is completed.

5) Disrupted sleep patterns: Your child struggles to sleep at night and/or has become tired and irritable during the day.

6) Doesn't want to go to school or spend time with friends, and withdraws from family and friends in real life. 

7) Sudden, unexplainable changes in health such as weight gain or loss, change in appetite, headaches, stomachaches.

In particular, be alert for changes in behavior that suggest your child is depressed. Any comments that indicate suicidal feelings are an immediate red flag. 


What You Can Do

Parents often feel powerless when they think or know that their child is being cyberbullied. Bullying is bad enough, but cyberbullying lives in a space that is unfamiliar to many parents and out of their reach to help. Don't worry, there are plenty of options out there for you. 


1) Talk to Your Child

Children often feel embarrassed or ashamed when they are being bullied, cyber or not. Talk to them calmly and just listen to their response. Don't make excuses for the bully or minimize what is happening. Validate your child's feelings and consider how they want this resolved.


2) Take Action

Collect evidence of the cyberbullying - encourage them to take screenshots and save messages, conversations, and emails. If your child's bully goes to their school, the school will be able to deal with the child in question based on the proof you provide. Also take notes of how your child seems at the time of cyberbullying, any background to the bullying, and the views of any witnesses. 

Some cyberbullying can rise to the level of criminality, so you can take it to the police if you believe the bullying is severe. Consider this, particularly if the bullying is based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.


3) Avoid the Bully's Parents

Many parents naturally want to confront the bully's parents, but this is unhelpful. They can become defensive if confronted about their child's actions, which won't help resolve the bullying. Only engage with them if the school or another authority is mediating.


4) Consider Counseling

The effects of bullying can be long-lasting and traumatic. Consider seeking out a counselor for your child as soon as they feel ready. A mental health professional can help them process what they are going through. 


Offer Support

Reassure your child that this bullying will not last forever and the issue will get resolved. Tell them you're there for them no matter what's happening. This will help to bolster their mood while the matter of is worked through. Hopefully, these helpful tips help you feel more comfortable in knowing what to do when your child is being cyberbullied.


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Healthy Family Advice

Can't We All Just Get Along?

The last few articles have been on the subject of mental health and the breakup of the family unit. As the family situation changes, so do the matters of family concern. Of course, how you deal with these changes affect the future mental health of your children, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. As mentioned in a previous article, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” My advice is this, self-care is a key element to a happy, healthy family, but be careful, don't over do it.

                                                  This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links.

healthy relationships how to get along self care  quote


If you’ve come off a long-term, unhealthy relationship, chances are you’ve been neglecting self-care. Self-care is key to your happiness. Newly separated or divorced individuals might choose to jump out into the dating scene. At first, it's exciting and new. If you've been in a bad situation, going out on dates and having fun can feel like self-care, but you need to be careful that all that good time fun having doesn’t lead to an even more unhealthy rebound relationship. Just like our children, we need to make healthy choices.

Practice being alone. I can’t emphasize this enough. Spend time alone. As much time as it takes for you to get over the pain. And as much time as you need to grow as a person. Learn from your mistakes and take care of yourself.  As I age, I see intelligent women jumping into relationships. Perhaps, they’ve been a stay-at-home mom. Maybe they’ve never held a full-time job. Some never had the chance to go to college. They’ve never managed their own finances. Often, they feel like they just can’t handle the responsibilities of taking care of themselves and their children. So, they go out on a man hunt. The goal is to find a better man than the last one. Some are looking for a man to meet their financial expectations, others are looking for companionship, and some are looking for a father figure for their children. Whatever the reason, they jump into a relationship too soon. Been there done that. 


Healthy Family


I got married while still in college. It was okay. Just okay. I wanted to be happy, but we were young and a lot was missing in the relationship. At that point in my life, the idea of a wedding was more important than the idea of a marriage. We were friends and companions struggling to find common ground, but something was always missing. Both of us had placed our focus on gaining knowledge and prepping for a career and little attention was given to intimacy. As starving college students, there was no money for fun things and then we jumped into buying a house, and then another house, and then it all just got way too overwhelming. There was simply no fun to be had.

Eventually, we talked to friends, family, and clergy. We attended counseling. It all pointed to the same thing, we just didn’t have the same goals or the same outlook on life. We ended the relationship in an amicable fashion. And that’s when my real troubles started. I briefly dated, but playing the field has never been my thing. Dating in your late 20’s is an experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Ugh. It’s a brave new world. With my thirtieth birthday looming over my head, I really wanted to settle down and start a family before it was too late. I had some great men to choose from, two were truly amazing with interesting careers. One was neither amazing, nor did he have a great career. He was lucky to hold down a job. But he had what I wanted. A little girl. My family doctor and the counselor both advised against any serious relationship or even dating after the first year of a breakup, but my biological clock was ticking. Tick tock. Having been told I likely could never have children, I jumped at the chance. 

However, that wasn’t the only thing. He was fun. Oh so fun! He loved to dance, hike, bike, play sports, cook, and clean. One day, he called me one of the “cools.” I had been feeling lost. I was never cool. I wanted to do all those things I felt I’d missed out on in high school and college. Except I didn’t. I was still that goody two shoes inside. His risky lifestyle stressed me out. We fought. Among other things, he drank. He was verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive. It was like a dark movie from one of those cable tv channels for women. That was my first rebound.

After that, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pick myself up again. I had a lot of counseling. I saw a psychiatrist. I took various medications. Was I suicidal? Not really, but it seemed like life had gotten the best of me. I felt like a failure in every way imaginable. No kids, no career to speak of, and no real chance to recover from all the despair because, in my head, I was old. Oh, so old. I turned to online dating. It was uplifting to have so many men interested in dating me. It was also terrifying. That was the start of rebound number two. Not only did I not wait a year to date, in only a few short months I had moved in with a man and was pregnant. At the time, it seemed like he had everything I wanted. A good job, two kids, pets, a nice home. He was a widower and that (like the alcoholism before him) fulfilled my need for codependency. I had something to do, people to take care of, and dreams to fulfill. Except, we were less compatible than the previous rebound relationship. Shortly after my son was born, I became pregnant again.

Things weren’t ideal, but I always questioned myself. Why not? Maybe I was the problem. I should’ve been content. I was determined to make it work. I mean, after all, he wasn’t abusing me. He yelled a lot. It triggered old feelings from the previous relationship. I cried a lot. It made him mad. I cried more. It was an endless cycle. We barely knew each other. We met online. We were both lonely. As it came to be that he was my only friend for many years, we were really never friends. We both tried. The harder I tried, the more difficult it got. And now, there were kids involved. I didn’t want to break up the family unit. I didn’t want my kids to come from a broken home. Ugh, the damage I did to all of us by trying to stick this one out. We were the absolute opposite of compatible. I will spare you the gory details.

I had so many health issues. I spent months in bed, with nothing more to do than reflect on my past. I knew it had to end. But I was scared. Could I do it alone? Was I strong enough? I started stepping up my game, working harder from home, seeing various specialists and improving my health, and building credit. Once I knew what had to be done, I still wasn’t ready to do it. Things finally worked out in a way that made ending the relationship the most logical decision. It was difficult, but I didn’t need to seek counseling. I threw myself into my work, my writing, and the remodeling of my new house.

After years of thinking about it, deep down, I knew if I were ever to have another relationship again, I’d have to be strong. I’d have to take care of myself first, I’d need a break. I wrote down the pros and cons of dating. Months passed. I thought about what I wanted. What I needed, who I wanted and why. I realized I didn’t need a man to be happy. But I wanted that companionship that had eluded me for most of my life.


Why it's okay to Need a Man


It was always the same set of traits that had always led me to the same conclusion. But, I didn’t want to make the wrong choice with the right choice. So, naively, I  attempted to play the field again, but I didn’t date. I just talked. I talked to several old friends and acquaintances. This time no online dating, no strangers. I weaned them all out. I settled on one for an attempt at dating. We talked for weeks before meeting in person. I knew him from high school. He seemed to fit the criteria. But low and behold, it was a mistake. A big mistake, but one I wanted to cling to because I was sad and lonely. I had basically given up. I was about to turn fifty. There was no more time for mistakes. If I thought dating in my late twenties was hard - whoa. In your fifties, it’s a whole new frontier. Casual dating wasn’t an option for me. 

I took a few weeks to get myself together. I pulled out my list again, and this time, I realized what I always needed had always been there. Sometimes, you just need a friend.


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Feeling Disrespected by Family

Do you often feel cast aside and disrespected by family members?

Are you feeling disrespected in your relationships? Most of us feel disrespected at times, even when no one really means to show us disrespect. Parenting is hard, but being the mom is harder. Society puts pressure on moms to always do the right thing, to put on a happy face, and never to let the family see that you’re human too. How do you know when you’re just feeling emotional versus when the disrespect is out of control? Feeling disrespected by family stifles good vibes, what can you do?

Damned if you do quote
You're damned if you do and damned if you don't quote.

 This sponsored post contains Amazon affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

 

Kids will be kids. But when teenagers behave like teenagers, family relationships can get difficult. When do you choose your battle, when do you ignore the emotional roller coaster, and when do you jump on the parenting train to try to fix it? Is it just a phase or are they modeling the behavior of another family member? If your partner is disrespectful, chances are your kids will be too. Not sure if your partner has crossed the line? ReGain has a very eye-opening article that can help you decide.


Get my Debut Novel: Allegedly Mystic


If your kids are suffering from the effects of your relationship, they may act out or become depressed. Children, especially teens, get frustrated by their lack of control over their life situations. Sometimes they feel like the situation is hopeless- no matter how hard you try to work with them. I’ve been down this road more than once. It doesn’t get any easier with practice. All you can do is learn from your mistakes and be prepared to be the bad guy no matter what you say. The old adage, “You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t,” starts to feel like the title of your life.

When I split with my partner of fifteen years, we all suffered with depression and the fear of the unknown. As a parent, watching your children suffer is painful. No matter how much you want to help, your help may not be the answer. Public school counselors can often help zero in on issues like adhd, autism, depression, suicidal tendencies, or other emotional issues. If you’re a homeschooler, finding an affordable counselor isn’t as easy. There are many online resources. This article might help a teen who is fighting to hold back tears when they’re feeling frustrated or angry: Why do I cry when I’m Mad?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, this article from GoodTherapy shares a list of teen help hotlines and other free mental health resources. Your pediatrician can also do a depression evaluation survey, and based on the results, refer you to a family counselor. Many family therapists operate on a sliding scale. 


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After the upheaval in our family, the kids and I moved to our happy place. A little cottage on a quiet lake, where we could swim, kayak, and birdwatch to our heart’s content. The first few weeks we kept our minds busy by remodeling the house, but after a while reality set in, and we decided to try family counseling. No one really enjoyed it, we had to make some sacrifices to find an affordable therapist which ended up being an hour from home. By the time we got off the waiting list, much of the family dynamic had changed and the diagnosis was changed from severe depression to adhd. The counselor had to have a diagnosis for our insurance to continue to pay, but it didn’t really seem to fit our circumstances.

With other members of the family with adhd, we had some prior experience dealing with the ups and downs, and this really wasn’t the same thing. It was nice to have a neutral party listen to our problems, but it wasn’t really worth the trouble. It caused more stress on an already stressed relationship, because the kids didn’t want to go and the family dynamic continued to play out. I know that sounds counterintuitive. I know that I’m the parent and I shouldn’t let the kids overrule me, but believe me, this wasn’t good for any of us. At the time, an online therapy option would’ve been ideal. 

Finally, the best solution for our family came through the advice of our pediatrician, the kids needed their own life. They needed more activities that they enjoyed. Sure, we did homeschool groups, 4-H, and summer camps, but it wasn’t enough. My kids were at a place in their lives where they needed more, even if they didn’t want more. They also needed less. Less time with mom, less time with each other. We all needed some space to help distance ourselves from the previous situation.

The biggest battle we faced was a lack of real relationships. There were no close relationships so that the kids could see healthy family behaviors modeled. We lived over an hour away from any relatives, so extended family time was few and far between. It was definitely time for a major change. After some heartfelt conversations with the pediatrician, relatives, and close friends, we decided our life needed an overhaul. The biggest piece of the puzzle that we all longed for was a sense of belonging. So we packed our bags and moved back to my hometown where we could be closer to family that would provide a support network as we all stepped out into the real world for the first time in years. I took a part-time job as an activity assistant at a retirement home and the kids both enrolled in public school. Talk about change! Change is scary, but sometimes we need a catalyst to set our lives in the right direction. All of these changes have led me to a wonderful opportunity with our local Habitat for Humanity. Look for more updates in coming posts.

 

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