Guest blogger Elizabeth Hurchalla: Since Tyler Clementi's suicide last week, there's been widespread media coverage about how to help your kids cope with cyberbullying. But what if you find out that your child is the one doing the bullying?! Ross Ellis of Love Our Children USA, an organization dedicated to ending violence against children, offers these tips on how to respond.
- Condemn the behavior, not your child. Tell your child that you love him no matter what, but his behavior has got to change. If you haven't already, talk about why bullying is wrong, and let him know that it can even result in legal consequences.
- Swallow your pride. Don't stick your head in the sand. It's not just about making things right with the victim; it's also for your own kid's sake. Better to work through this now than have someone kill himself over something your child did -- or have your kid grow up to commit domestic abuse or other violence.
- If your child's school is involved, work with them. Forming a united front with the school sets the stage for positive results for your child. Support whatever the school's consequences are, and enforce your own punishment at home (this might include taking away online privileges).
- Get counseling for your kid. Even if it's "only" online teasing or name-calling, it's not a joke. A therapist can help you find out what's making your kid act this way -- and how to make it stop.