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Updated: Jun 20, 2022

You’d think this is the straightforward part, but, as for STOP and BLOCK, as soon as you tell your child to do something they will find reasons NOT to.

It is so important for your child to feel comfortable about talking when they are made to feel anxious, embarrassed, or even scared. And although we would all love to be that parent they confide in, truth is, at times for the child this may be a teacher, aunt, older sibling or heaven forbid, someone unskilled or unknown to you.

During the teenage years, our children transition from their parents and whānau being their main trusted support network to their peers, people they perceive as good friends and on the same ‘wavelength’.

Talking to their peers may, unfortunately, result in bullying and increased anxiety. This is when they find out who their true friends are. Children need to learn the value of solid friendship groups as true friends will always have your back. How did they feel when they talked to them about their anxiety? If this was not positive, empowering or relieved then they need to talk to someone who will take them seriously. Us parents, right?

A crucial part of this step, and probably the hardest for us parents or whānau members, is for us to listen. The child will not talk to us if they believe we will not listen or take them seriously. Listen with open ears and consider your body language. Don’t interrupt or put words into their mouths, let them explain in their own words what they have experienced, what is making them feel uncomfortable, hurt, anxious or angry. And don’t dismiss their feelings. Showing empathy will help build trust and together you may find solutions to the issues. Thank them for doing the right thing by talking to you, especially if they admit they did something wrong (but they still face the consequences of their misconduct).

Then take action. Go to our website for tips to deal with online bullying or other unwanted content. You can also find contact details for organisations such as Netsafe.

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