What to do when your child is sexually harassing or bullying others

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What to do when your child is sexually harassing or bullying others

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It's always embarrassing when we get wind that maybe our kid has done something that's not appropriate out there, but it happens to everybody--so just get rid of the shame, get rid of the embarrassment, and think about how you can help your child learn something in this situation. Really, what is the lesson here? Whether your child is sexually harassing a girl by text, or bullying--maybe it's two mean girls getting in fights at school--first thing is, don't involve the school. The school's job is to educate our kids, and to make sure that the laws are followed and our kids are protected during school hours. Because of social networking, kids of course are continuing their schoolyard thing well into the evening by technology; that's when it's in your hands. I would suggest reaching out to the parents and creating a village. Remember the village, when you just called the parent and said, "Hey, it seems like our two girls are having a social problem. Do you want to come over for dinner? I'm going to cook some pasta. Let's talk about this." You have to be unafraid, because you're showing your child that this is how you deal with conflict. You have to reach out and create human contact. You will find, when you all get together, that actually, you have a lot more in common than you ever thought before. It actually happened to me once. In middle school carpool--I, a very loud-mouthed girl, was teasing a boy in the back seat all the time. I didn't hear about it until the mother said she was dropping out of carpool and I'm like, "Why?" and she goes, "Well, my son really doesn't like the way your daughter's teasing." I'm like, "Okay, stop it! You guys are coming over for dinner. Let's talk about this." At the end of the day, my daughter felt mortified and awful. She cried the whole next day after the dinner because she didn't know that her "fun teasing" was hurting this guy's feelings. Hey, once we all talked about it as a family and had a glass of wine together, we laughed about it--she didn't drop out of carpool, and they're still friends today.

Watch Wendy Walsh, PhD's video on What to do when your child is sexually harassing or bullying others...

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Wendy Walsh, PhD

Relationship & Parenting Expert

Dr. Wendy Walsh was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work as co-host on The Dr. Phil spinoff, The Doctors TV show. She also hosts Investigation Discovery Network’s “Happily NEVER After,” as well as being part of Dr. Drew’s Behavior Bureau on HLN Network. On CNN and 9 Network, Australia, she breaks down the psychology of sex, love, gender roles, divorce, parenting and other human behaviors. Dr. Wendy is an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at California State University, Channel Islands. She holds a B.A. in Journalism, a Masters degree in Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and is the author of three books and numerous publications, including The 30-Day Love Detox. She appears regularly on The Today Show, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, The Steve Harvey Show, The O’Reilly Factor, Inside Edition, The Katie Couric Show, Jane Velez-Mitchell, and The View.

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