15 July 2020

5 ways to help keep your child’s online experiences positive and safe

If your family is stuck at home during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, it’s likely your children are spending a lot more time online. School, chats with friends and grandparents, even music lessons — so much has shifted online. Being connected helps children and teenagers reduce the impact of this new (temporary) normal and encourages…, 1. Keep them safe with open communication, Have an honest dialogue with your children about who they communicate with and how. Make sure they understand the value of kind and supportive interactions and that mean, discriminatory or inappropriate contact is never acceptable. If your children experience any of these, encourage them to tell you or a trusted adult immediately. Be alert if your…, 2. Use technology to protect them, Check that your child’s device is running the latest software and antivirus programs, and that privacy settings are on. Keep webcams covered when not in use. For younger children, tools such as parental controls, including safe search, can help keep online experiences positive. Be cautious of free online educational resources. Your child should…, 3. Spend time with them online, Create opportunities for your child to have safe and positive online interactions with friends, family and you. Connecting with others is more important than ever at the moment and this can be an excellent opportunity for you to model kindness and empathy in your “virtual interactions”. Help your child recognize and avoid misinformation and age-…
14 April 2020

How to protect your family’s mental health in the face of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Parents and children are facing major life disruptions with the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). School closures, physical distancing, it’s a lot to take in and it’s difficult for everyone in the family. We sat down with expert adolescent psychologist, best-selling author, monthly  New York Times  columnist and mother of two Dr. Lisa…, Dr. Damour: Start by finding out what they are hearing or what they think is true. It’s not enough to just give your kid facts. If your child has picked up something that is inaccurate or picked up news that is not correct they will combine the new information you give them with the old information they have into a sort of Frankenstein…, Dr. Damour: Let them be sad and don’t try to guilt them out of it. Don’t say, “Other people have this worse than you.” Now your kid feels sad and guilty! That doesn’t make it better. Say to them, “You are having the right reaction. This really stinks. You’re not going to get to be with your friends. You’re not going to get to spend spring on…, Dr. Damour: In our house — I have two daughters — we’ve decided that we are going to have a dinner team every night. We’re going to create a schedule of who’s in charge of dinner and sometimes it’ll be me and my spouse and sometimes it’ll be me and one of my daughters. We’ll mix it up in pairs, and my older daughter is a teen and my younger…
14 April 2020

How to talk to your children about bullying

Watching your child experience the physical and emotional pain of bullying or cyberbullying is heartbreaking.  Some parents are unsure where to begin to help protect their children from bullying and violence. Others may not know if their children are victims, bystanders or even perpetrators of harmful behaviours.  Here are some tips on how to…, Understanding the basics, What is bullying? You can usually identify bullying through the following three characteristics: intent, repetition, and power. A bully intends to cause pain, either through physical harm or hurtful words or behaviour, and does so repeatedly. Boys are more likely to experience physical bullying, while girls are more likely to experience…, Starting with prevention, How can I help prevent bullying in my child’s school? The first step to keeping your child safe, whether in-person or online, is making sure they know the issue.  Educate your children about bullying. Once they know what bullying is, your children will be able to identify it more easily, whether it is happening to them or someone else.  Talk…, Responding to bullying, What should I do if my child is being bullied or threatened? If you know your child is being bullied, there are several steps you can take to help them: Listen to your child openly and calmly. Focus on making them feel heard and supported, instead of trying to find the cause of the bullying or trying to solve the problem. Make sure they know that…, Take action, In addition to being a support system to your child, you can work with your school and even your local or national decision-makers and local leaders to change policies to prevent and address bullying.