Olivia Jade, social media influencer and daughter of Full House star Lori Loughlin, received negative messages on her Instagram account and on her YouTube channel as a result of the college admissions scandal. Since the online bullying continued, Olivia Jade disabled the comments section on her social media accounts. The YouTuber also reportedly decided to withdraw from the University of Southern California out of fear the bullying would continue at school.
Online bullying can take a toll on your mental health, especially when you’re a child or young adult. What should you do if your child is facing online bullying, particularly if you’re a high-profile member of your community facing a public crisis? How can you make sure his or her mental health doesn’t deteriorate? The Cheat Sheet reached out to a few relationship and mental health experts to get their advice.
Provide a safe space for your child
Protect them as best you can. It may be a good time for them to go to Grandma’s or some other safe place, especially if the media is involved. School isn’t necessarily a safe place. They could be teased and taunted, and the press might find them. Talk to the school about how to keep them up-to-date with their studies and keep them out of the public eye. Explain in terms they can understand that there’s a big story in the media, it’s not all true, and that you will keep them informed.
Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., (aka “Dr. Romance”) psychotherapist and author of How to Be Happy Partners: Working It out Together
Consider having your child attend therapy
Open and direct communication is best. Your children’s age would determine what to share with them. However, the greatest gift you can give them is to demonstrate how you come together as a family to prevail. It is also crucial to have a therapist or coach available to help process and unpack any emotions, traumas, or feelings that may arise.
Matthew Solomon, love and happiness coach
Try to keep your child away from upsetting details
Keep your children out of things as much as possible, but don’t try to protect them from every last detail. You can’t control what they will hear or see out there, but they don’t need to be exposed to the gritty details you may be facing. At the same time, it’s important to discuss with them honestly and at their level what’s happening so they can understand it, and so that they can be prepared to deal with the comments and reactions of others they will likely face.
Raffi Bilek, couples counselor and director of the Baltimore Therapy Center
Keep your home life as normal as possible
The health of your marriage is a key factor in your child’s emotional, cognitive, and social development. Building and maintaining your marital health is the best way to protect your children through tough seasons. Healthy couples who maintain their marital bond and protect their children’s mental health do four things really well: first, they maintain a close, connected, and trusting friendship with each other. Second, they continue to respond to a high majority of one another’s emotional calls or attempts to connect with one another. Third, they deal with conflict in healthy, positive ways. And fourth, they create deeper shared meaning together.
Steve Dziedzic, certified relationship coach as well as founder and CEO of Lasting, a relationship counseling app
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