Last week, I spoke to a local Rotary Club (by the way, they do great work for the community) and during the question and answer session, one member asked me what my best piece of advice was for a parent of a child getting ready to start middle school. He alluded that this child had thick glasses and wasn’t the coolest cat in town by middle school standards.
When you only have time to give one piece of advice, what would yours be? Mine was sharing with him a piece of advice that I had come across a few years ago:
Make sure your kids have a few different groups of friends.
That made sense to me because although you can’t always prevent bullying, you can prevent your kids being devastated by bullying if they feel good about themselves somewhere and with someone.
The other question was similar but this time it was about cyberbullying and it came from the same father. Smart guy. He realizes that his son or daughter is about to enter a new expanded neighborhood. What was the first thing that popped in my head?
Make sure the computer is in a public spot.
I also slipped in the advice about asking your child to take you for a tour of what they do on the computer…and also how to train them to take their hands off the keyboard as soon as they see a message they don’t like. Taking a breath and telling an adult are key things to tell your child to do.
I’m just curious. Bullying and online safety are big subjects. If you only had 1 minute to share, what would be your best pieces of advice?
And if you’re already back in school, best of luck for a year full of many smiles.