Sunday, October 18, 2015

"My child was on an inappropriate what do I do?" by Dr. Charles Fay

Even wonderful kids can make mistakes when faced with the massive temptations whirling about the web. What's a parent to do when they discover that their child or teen has been visiting sites containing sexual material, racist, cult, or terrorist propaganda, etc.?

Safety first.

Before visiting with the child, remove or disable any devices you can. While we can't control every internet access point available to our kids, we must control what we can.

Protect yourself.

Immediately report to the police any inappropriate content involving minors. Absolutely report any threats of violence. Parents who’ve tried to cover up or “smooth over” incidents of such nature have found themselves in legal hot water.

If empathy is impossible at the moment, delay the consequence.

In an ideal world, a parent would respond with great empathy:
This is so sad. Today I discovered that you were on a website…

In this less-than-ideal world, we may need another alternative:
I am so angry that I can’t even think. We'll talk later when I'm calm.

When everyone is calmer, listen to your child’s heart.

In some situations, children’s hearts are filled with so much sadness, darkness, anxiety, or other forms of hurt that professional help is definitely necessary. In addition to providing healthy limits and loving consequences, the most effective parents look below the surface by asking sincere questions and listening without judgment:
I really want to understand. What about this is interesting to you?

Is this something that you are serious about or
are you just kind of curious?

Some kids get into that stuff because they are really hurting.
Does that sound familiar to you?

With great empathy, hand the problem back.

Over time…perhaps plenty of it…the child or teen must take real action steps to develop and maintain a plan for making healthier decisions. Depending on their heart condition, this may involve conscientious participation in therapy, demonstrating greater respect and responsibility in other areas of their life, agreeing to keep parental monitoring software on their devices, etc.

Until the parent feels thrilled with the youngster’s plan and their overall attitude about it, no devices are provided.

Learn more techniques to lead your child to responsible decision making, in my new book
Technology and Kids. for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.

Dr. Charles Fay

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