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Posts Tagged ‘parenting classes’

Parenting In Social Media Age- Keep Kids Safe Online (Guest Expert)

Friday, December 6th, 2019

technologysonParenting has changed drastically in the past decade. Instead of dinner bells ringing children home, they now have cell phones. Social media has become an obsession and a favorite past time. With the changes in technology, changes in parenting become necessary.

You can keep your child safe in the social media age with a few tips to help you stay up to speed with today’s technology and your child’s plugged-in world.

Learn the Technology

First and foremost, for parents to be able to help, it is important that they understand how technology works and accept that technology is a big part of young people’s lives, says Silje Vallestad, CEO and founder of Bipper, a mobile safety app company. As cyber bullying situations continue to increase, parents must know how to operate and monitor apps, social media networks and various technology to ensure that their children are acting appropriately and that they are treated respectfully in what is a 24/7 public environment.

“For kids today, being stripped of their access to the social communities and technology in general is considered so bad that they won’t ask for help or tell parents about negative experiences,” says Vallestad. “Parents need to understand that there is a difference between the digital childhood of kids today and their own upbringing, and that access to technology is as important as access to paper and pens.”

Although social media is extremely important to your child, it doesn’t mean they should have full reign of the technology. “Parents should never grant kids access to technology without guiding them in the world of technology and to be able to guide their kids, they need to understand technology and online services,” says Vallestad. “I believe in parents spending time educating themselves, combined with frequent conversations between parent and child about the use of technology in general and use of specific services in particular.”

Use Technology to Bond with Your Child

Monitoring your child’s social media use does not have to be a negative experience, wherein you are acting the part of a spy. Use technology as an opportunity to learn something new from your children and brush up on your own skills. Vallestad, the mother of three kids all using technology, says she uses mobile app alerts that provide information on which social media applications her children are downloading.

“When I see that they have installed apps I either don’t know much about or that I’m worried about (such as SnapChat or Instagram), I make a point of having a good conversation about these services,” she says. “They teach me a lot about technology and the services while we talk about how things can be used for good or bad.”

These conversations can help to create trust between a parent and a child and allow opportunities to talk about how technology can be used to harm others and how to react in those situations. “With our frequent talks on tech, where I show that I’m both interested and involved in their digital lives and also allow them to use technology, I believe we have fostered an atmosphere where they will feel safe to tell me if something bad is happening,” says Vallestad.

Have a Plan of Action

As you are learning the technology, it’s important to remember the top three actions to take when your child is engaged in social media, according to Vallestad.

  • Technology is Important to Your Child: Understand that your kids need to use technology and be part of the online communities where their peers are. It’s part of their lives and if you remove it, you will probably create a growing gap between you and your child instead of fostering an atmosphere of dialogue.
  • Open Conversations are Necessary: Engage in open and trusting conversations with your kids about technology. Let them tell you, show you and teach you. Reacting with anger or shock to things you might see could result in your kids closing down conversations. Try to stay calm and ask questions. Together, you can agree on rules. Sometimes you both may come to the conclusion that a particular service is not ok. Other times, it is ok but you may require that you will be a friend or follower.
  • Research is Key: Do your own research on services and use that research to ask your kids the right questions. However, don’t automatically assume that your kids are using a questionable service in a wrong way simply because there is a lot of information online about that service being used negatively. Do keep an open eye and make sure you are neither naïve nor ignorant about social media.

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Beating The Bullies-Draw The Line On Bullying

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Are you afraid your child is being picked on by a bully in school? Do you know how to talk to your kids about bullying and methods for beating the bullies at their own game? How do you draw the line on bullying?  How do you and your child succeed at beating the bullies? Is bullying that bad?  YES.

Left unchecked, bullying can be disastrous for children and their self-esteem.  Some of the long term effects of bullying may lead to depression or make it hard to form lasting trusting relationships.

Bullies Cannot Be Allowed To Harm Our Kids

But as a caring adult, what can you do that will not make the situation worse?  You may very well think that playground bullying is between the children and adults should not get involved.  However, left unchecked, bullying will only escalate and your child will be left feeling vulnerable and unsafe.

Granted I am older that most parents who are dealing with this issue.  But, even when our kids were younger, bullying wasn’t much talked about. If teachers or parents saw a blatant case of bullying, they stepped in and put a stop to it – often with a smack to the head or a threat of one. Even if the smack was not delivered, most kids were scared enough of the principal and teachers that the abuse stopped.

Many times the teachers would look the other way when someone had the courage to confront the bully and fight it out behind the school.  That may very well happen today, but it is not condoned. Times have changed. As a society, we don’t discipline in that manner any longer.

Teachers and administrators are so afraid of a law suit that they frequently jump in too soon.

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New ideas to help you and your child beat the bullies. Check out for more information. You will be glad you did.


New Way Of Responding To Bullies

Many schools practice some sort of “bullying control.”  I am familiar with Kelso’s Choice which is an excellent program for elementary schools.

One middle school I know, practices the concept of ‘the line.’ Individual students either operate above the line or below the line. Above–the-line behavior includes self-control and respect for others – especially respect for fellow students.

Below the line is the domain where the bully operates. Bullies don’t care so much about respecting others. Bullies choose to elevate them selves by putting others down. The bullies own lack of self-respect is most likely a root cause of their bullying behavior.

Let’s be clear, the bully is a leader who leads others below-the-line. The bully gains power when others follow. Without a following, the bully loses power.

Teach your children to pick up on what the bully says but to reply in a way that neutralizes the insult.  For example:

“You stink.”

“Yep, it is a new shampoo.  I think it smells great.”

Help them to understand they have a choice. Either choose to lead and live above the line or lead and live below the line.
Either choose to follow the leaders who operate above the line or follow the bullies who operate below the line.

Bullies Are Cowards

A great method for defussing bullying incidences is to ask the bully to “say it again.” Encourage your child to keep asking the bully to repeat the insult until it becomes less offensive. Since most bullies are cowards and lack the courage to repeat the insult and are more likely to tone it down.

Teach your kids to imagine themselves inside a protective bubble that bounces off bullies’ words.  If they practice visualizing this with you, they will be able to have some control in a potentially disempowering encounter.

Empower Your Child

 Make sure your children have chances to make friends and have successes away from where bullying takes place.  Try a drama group, sports club, band, or choir where the group provides a shared activity than can rebuild confidence eroded by bullies.

Share your comments and ideas at  You will also receive a two page list of resources to help beat the bully and draw the line on bullying.

Judy Helm Wright is an author, coach and parent educator.  Schedule a free consultation with her at   You will be glad you did.

My Eleven-Year Old Bullies Siblings In Family

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Hello from Montana:

Just as your sweet little baby turns into a tyrant at two years old, your cooperative ten year old is changing also. Previously devoted to parents and other important adults and wanting to please them, now at eleven they are experiencing the beginning of the end of childhood. Though not  yet a teenager, eleven very often behaves as if he/she were an adolescent.

Makes Family Life a Battlefield

A child of this age makes little or no effort to cooperate in even the most minor ways, especially for the mom.  Eleven year old pre-adolesents tend to be at their worst with their mother.  They flare up with anger against restrictions and chores.  They also quarrel with siblings and get very angry very easily. They display their worst attitudes at home and that should give you some comfort.Teachers and youth leaders will usually be surprised if you describe the way the eleven year old acts at home.

Encourage Empathy and Kindness

Much of the obnoxious behavior can be attributed to sheer inexperience in making interpersonal relationships work. You can assist them in treating others with kindness by making it a family rule. A child will be less likely to tease or put her peers down if you make getting along with others a priority. The best way to get this relationship life skill to become a habit, is to praise others when they are kind.  Mention how it makes you feel when others treat you with respect.

When you make a habit of saying complimentary things about people and their accomplishments, your child will be likely to do so as well.

Teach About Appropriate Uses of Power

The desire for power is the primary reason for teasing, taunting and bullying others. Perhaps no other age gets on as badly as the eleven year old does with siblings.  Younger brothers and sisters may know that the fuse of anger is short, and so deliberately tease, needle or joke about him/her and even get into their private possessions.  Then when trouble occurs, the older one gets in trouble.

The fact is that a child who bullies others is not necessarily a troublemaker, but may need to learn more communication skills. Nor is the one being teased necessarily a victim.It is important to teach the difference between aggression, passive and assertive behavior.  Assertive behavior will build self confidence and help determine boundaries in relationships.

Choose To Get Along

Helping siblings recognize their options when rivalry or teasing occurs at home, will also help them navigate the school ground politics.  It is important that they understand you do not need to put others down in order to feel powerful.  You already have your own power- over his/her own behavior and over how to react if others tease them.

All children and adults need to learn empathy and to treat others with respect.

I have confidence in you.

Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote speaker

PS: If your family is having serious child behavior issues, please go to

You will be glad you did.

My Child is Being Teased – Mama Mouse into Mother Lioness

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

“He is picking on me because I have big ears.” “I hate school.” “Nobody likes me.” “My friend called me fat.” “Someone texted lies about me.” “Mom, you have to do something.”

As I teach parenting classes around the country, many lovely well-dressed, calm and intelligent women confide in me that they turn into a Mother Lion when their children are threatened. They are embarrassed to admit to the whole group but share privately that no holds are barred when a bully picks on their baby.

They say that all of their protective instincts rise up and they become ready to do battle. I know how they feel, because I have felt those same feelings when my child was teased or bullied. But my children let me know in no uncertain terms that if I over reacted, they would not share any more confidences with me. This may have happened to you as well.

What’s A Mother To Do?

It is so easy to have a knee jerk reaction when our children are being teased, taunted or bullied by others. Our minds immediately jump back to sixth grade when we too were teased or picked on. We remember how horrible we felt and we want to protect our son or daughter from going through the same pain.

We want to expose the bully and teach him a lesson. And while we are at it, we are going to say the things we couldn’t say 25 years ago. We want to fix this problem and we want to make the world a safer place, or at least one little corner of the playground.

Remember We Are Adults

No matter how angry we are about teasing, taunting or bullies, we need to support our children as a rational sounding board. Focus on your child by asking questions (not interrogating) and remain calm.

Tell your child that you are concerned about him or her and will do what you can to help. Perhaps the child will simply want to talk about it, or may want to do some role playing on words to say. Empower your child by asking what they want your next step to be.

You may want to talk to the teacher or principal and ask them what they have observed. They will be in the best position to understand the relationships between your child and others. They may want to keep a closer eye on things or bring the subject of empathy and kindness up in the classroom, without using names or specifics.

Big Problem or Small Conflict

It is scary for children to see their parents act like children. They are embarrassed when an over-protective parent scoops down to save them. It makes them feel even more victimized and helpless.

They need adults who will help them solve problems and to find solutions. They do not need or want their moms to attack or bully the bully. It may have been a one time incidence or a misunderstood rough housing on the playground. By next week, they may very well be best friends.

They want their story to be heard and they want to have the power to say what happens to them in their lives as much as possible.

Fine Line of Parenting

As parents, we walk a thin line between being nurturing, loving and understanding role models. If we are too over protective, they will not learn the negotiating skills necessary to survive socially in life. However, if we react too strongly to tales of teasing, we may miss giving them some necessary social skills.

However, if we ignore what they are telling us, or dismiss their concerns they may feel we don’t care.

Mother Lioness nurtures the inner strength of your child and follow his/her lead in making sense of the Playground jungle.

I have confidence in you. Listen to your heart and your child and you will know what to do next if your child is being teased or picked on.