School can present many parenting challenges. And not just in conflicts between child and teacher or child and studies. Today’s technology can take many conflicts from the classroom or schoolyard into the home, through stealth and secretive routes.
One example of a modern parenting challenge is cyber bullying. Where a person bullies a child via Face Book or other internet means. Due to social status issues and the lack of privacy inherent to social networks, many adolescents and teens are very hesitant to speak out regarding cyber bullying. As a result, it often occurs without parental knowledge for a long time. Communication with your adolescent is the first step. Ask about your child’s on-line friends and discuss any changes in mood or behaviors that you are observing. If you suspect you child may be the victim of cyber bullying, help your child understand how this is inappropriate and, if need be, assist him/her in terminating the on-line relationship. It is also important to consider the impact on your child’s view of him/herself and discuss why people bully (the bully is likely acting out because it is popular to do so and thus is distracting from the bully’s own issues). Be sure to watch for residual effects from bullying, such as increased anxious feelings, decreased confidence, depressed mood, withdrawal from activities, preoccupation with what others are thinking or saying, etc. Seek professional support if any difficulties of this nature are observed.