We really need to do something to stop bullies

Remember not all that long ago when people would talk about how bullies are just acting out or that they themselves were the victims of someone else’s bullying? Turns out that isn’t true. Some kids (not mine, of course, or yours) are just mean.

With kids spending more and more time online, it’s increasingly hard to protect them from bullies. It used to be that bullies would have to be in same place as their victims. But no longer. I’m sure you’ve read the tragic stories about kids who’ve committed suicide after being bullied online.

Even if you trust our children completely, you can’t control for what other people are going to do. A few years back, one my daughters–an incredibly responsible, clear-thinking girl–was being bullied through Facebook and a few other places. We eventually figured out who was doing it and came down hard (not hard enough, in my view–that little punk should have gone to jail). But it was still a traumatic experience.

A recent article from the Birmingham Patch (Michigan) cites stats from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Safe and Drug-Free Schools: more than 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the United States.

More info and some excellent resources here: http://birmingham.patch.com/articles/panel-urges-parents-educators-and-kids-to-stand-up-against-bullying

School Dayzzzzzz

Dear Mr. Dad: My 12-year-old daughter spent most of the summer at various camps and came back just before school started. While she was away she was allowed to stay up as late as she wanted. Now that she’s home she’s insisting that she’s old enough to stay up late. I’m sure that it’s unhealthy for her to get so little sleep, but I don’t know how to get her back on track. Do you have any tips for me?

A: Bottom line, your daughter couldn’t be more wrong. Sleep is important. Period. And not just for little kids. She might have spent the summer staying up late, but now that she’s back in school, it’s essential that she get back into a healthy sleep routine.

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Does your child really need a cell phone?

Dear Mr. Dad: My daughter turns ten next week and has made it known that she expects, needs, yearns for, and won’t be able to live without a cell phone. “Everybody has one,” she says. Is she too young? I’m not even sure I know what the issues are, but it seems like opening a huge can of worms.

A: When I was a kid, the rules about cell phones were simple. Oh wait, we didn’t have cell phones at all, which explains why you’re not up on the issues. So let’s start with a few advantages.

  • Cell phones allow you and your kids to stay in touch. The additional safety and security that this provides is—at least from your perspective—the greatest benefit. Your daughter can call if she needs you, and you can call her if you need to know where she is and what she’s doing.
  • Many parents (mostly those with children older than your daughter) use cell phones as a small-scale introduction to adult responsibilities—everything from paying the bill and staying within monthly minutes to keeping it charged.

At the same time, there are some potential downsides. Whether they outweigh the benefits is your call.

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