There is an English proverb that states, “you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar”. Meaning, one will be more successful in life by being kinder or sweeter than by loud or hurtful.
I thought about this proverb for several reasons and one is because school is about to start, and as parents, our anti-bullying radar, while always on, kicks into a higher level. Not only should we teach our children about bullying but benefit them through practicing techniques to remain calm should a situation present itself. In researching articles, one topic stood out to me, especially from “Empowering Parents.com”. In teaching your child to be proactive, they recommend coaching your child how to react.
In some ways, being a bully is an adaptation of Newton’s Law of Motion: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The equality happens when a person (the bully) has been hurt by someone and turns their offense on someone else. If we practice with our children to learn to react with kindness or not react with retaliation, then the opposite reaction would be forgiveness, or the chain reaction will continue until someone stops it with forgiveness. The bully will stop if they see that the child they intend to ‘pick on’ stands up for themselves or does not get upset.
Work with your child to develop assertiveness. You want your child to have a voice to stand up when they are needing assistance or wish to share a thought. Help them find leadership roles in non-intimidating ways. For example, when at the grocery store, let them pay for an item. Coach them up before you go to the checkout line, so they know how to talk to the cashier. This builds confidence in your child (and they get to practice ‘please’ and ‘thank you’). Another example is to take them with you when you do your volunteer work and let them see you and assist you. All the while you are building leadership skills.
As always, teach your child to be assertive in telling an adult and to always reassure them they can tell you what happened with fear of judgement. This is also a good time to evaluate your child’s home technology usage agreement. WHAT? Yes, school district have them, perhaps, as parents, we should consider the following:
As the parents, we will pay for ________ (child’s) devices, Internet and cell phone and will pay for the monthly fee as agreed upon with our carriers Family Plan agreement (100G data, unlimited texting, unlimited voice). If my device or cell phone is stolen, I, _____ will be responsible for paying back fees based upon a monthly fee until the device or cell phone is paid off.
I, ______ will respect the rights of property in this household regarding devices, Internet and cell phones that are not my property and will not access what is not mine. I will not download anything such as apps or programs without permissions from my parents.
I, ____ will never give out personal information regarding my own or family. Any information in regard to data or files will never be uploaded to social media without permission from my parents and I will never take a picture or video of anyone without that person’s permission.
I, ___ will never use my device, Internet or cell phone in a hurtful manner to bully or threatening manner.
If my parents ask me to end a call, text, game or app as it is disruptive to family time, I will do so. And I will always respond to my parents’ texts and calls to ensure my safety. My username and passwords will be given to my parents.
As _________ parents, we freely abide by adding __________ to our contract and include them in our Family Plan. We will not invade our child’s privacy. We will listen and communicate by the terms of this writing, but as parents, will always have our child’s best interest to protect. We will be a part of our child’s online activities, especially for the reasons of cybersecurity.
So, how does one feel about a cyber security contract with your child? I realize that it depends on the age. I mean, technology was around for me back in the MSN messenger days. My Mom was always asking who I was chatting with and yes, it was annoying. Today, I realize she was ‘cybermomma-mode’ and protecting me. Today, there are so many apps available to download to protect your children’s devices and cell phones. Some are free and some you must pay for, but if you want peace of mind, then it is worth extra bucks. Stay tuned for part 2 of the topic coming next week! Also I have created a printable file for parents if you like the idea of a cyber security contract in your home, they are both uploaded below.