This post was submitted by Ranbir Puar. She recently did a Tedx Talk that really spoke to me. In thinking about my own son’s interactions on the playground I am reminded the source of his behaviour goes back to us. It is, after all, all he knows. Now I’m not being hard on myself, I just know that when he’s cranky he lashes out much like his mama and it’s time to change it. Thank you Ranbir for this. It really did hit home in the best of ways.
Kids today face a challenge unlike any that we experienced in previous generations. Cyberbullying.
At first glance, it may not seem to be a big deal, given that every generation of kids experiences adversarial peer relationships. But, if you dig a little deeper, you will likely find that this is a unique and widespread problem.
Believe it or not, many parents are not even aware that their child is being harassed online, or via text.
My guess is that many adults are so fried with information overload because of the “digital age” that they are just seeing waves of grey in their own lives …no colour. So, perhaps they assume their kids are experiencing life the same way? We didn’t grow up with the internet and smart phones…we grew up with direct human connections, so at a deeper level, this is a foreign world to us.
Cyberbullying can often start with small jabs or insults, and can quickly snowball into hurtful attacks with many others joining in for a little ‘fun’.
A 2009 survey1 comparing online to in-person bullying found that approximately 80% of youth agree that online bullying is both easier to get away with and easier to hide from parents.
That is one of the reasons a bully picks this form of harassment: Keyboard courage.
My belief is that a person that has a strong self-image cannot bring him/herself to speak down to another human being. Those people who do not speak kindly to themselves, tend to do the same to others.
The interesting thing is that your self-image encompasses how you speak to yourself when you are alone with your thoughts…in other words, how you speak to yourself in a private space.
It makes sense to me why someone who speaks down to them themselves when they are alone with their thoughts would easily type harassing, derogatory or threatening words from behind a screen.
This is a serious problem that we can’t ignore. But, how can we most effectively change things? I believe that we need to educate our kids on the importance of developing a strong self-image.
A strong self-image is the foundation your child builds her life on. With a strong self-image, a child can see clearly that the derogatory comments are coming from a place of lack within the bully….not a place of lack within them.
In my TEDx talk, I discuss how a person that bullies lacks emotional nourishment. When they can’t find that nourishment at home they look for validation in other ways.
How do we end cyberbullying? By getting to the root of the problem: kids with low self-image are crying out for guidance.
If your child is acting like a bully, do an audit of the emotional balance in your home…focus on how you communicate with your partner and kids.
If your child is being bullied, reach out to him/her and support her. Ask for help. Many of my clients are teens that have experienced bullying. When they are given some clarity on their self-image, things turn around powerfully and usually quite quickly.
Cyberbullying is widespread and it’s toxic. The first step to ensure your child’s safety and well-being is to ensure your child feels emotionally nourished.
The next step is to create a home where you welcome open communication. This may sound trite, but open communication means speaking without judgment. It means speaking to your child with the same respect you would give your best friend or top client.
For example, don’t rush to saying…”you see, that is why I tell you to get rid of that phone or computer…you are on it so much…” instead try saying, “If something happens, make sure you talk to me about it. I am here for you.”
A strong self-image for your child is the key to countering cyberbullying. Help strengthen your children so they have the tools to manage todays’ reality.
1 Cox Communications Teen Online and Wireless Safety Survey in Partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 2009
About Ranbir Puar
Ranbir’s journey was born of a deep desire to transform despair into destiny. Her passion for empowering others led to the development of Spirituality for Reality Inc., an organization that focuses on integrating mind, body and spirit to instill positive self-image in children and adults. Ranbir’s unique ability to get to the heart of the matter in a highly intuitive yet pragmatic and direct way has enabled her clients to achieve clarity and make dramatic changes in their lives. ~ Ranbir Puar Creator, Realist, Light-Bearer, TEDx Speaker.
You can connect with Ranbir on Twitter and on her site Spirituality for Reality.
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