My daughter, who is 10, made a stupid joke on Twitter the other day and now she’s very upset because lots of people at school have been tweeting back saying she’s stupid and even worse. She’s apologised for it, but it doesn’t make any difference. I’ve told her just to ignore it but she says she can’t and she’s crying all the time and won’t eat. I’m so anxious about her. I keep reading of children who have killed themselves when they’re attacked like this, and obviously this is worrying. How can I help?
Yours sincerely, Mandy
Oh, boy. #firstworldproblems
You’re right to be worried…
*sighs* There is, however, some very useful advice to follow:
On the odd occasion when I’ve received a cruel letter, I haven’t kept it, to mull over. I’ve chucked it straight in the bin. Every time you reread cruel remarks aimed at you, you are traumatising yourself once again. It’s like accidently cutting yourself on a knife and then recreating the pain by deliberately cutting yourself just to remember what it was like.
Excellent! Sadly, the rest of it is the sort of advice we could all do with seeing less of – the idea that those in ‘authority’ need to know (and deal with) personal problems:
Then, I really would tell her teacher – presumably these unkind remarks are made mainly by peers at school, unless the tweet has spread further afield.
Really? You don’t think they have enough to deal with..?
The advice from others that the paper also prints is even worse!
Another way to help your daughter – which is useful for other painful situations, too – is to encourage her to put her worries on some kind of internal mental shelf, to look at later. Tell her to make a specific worrying time – between 4pm and 4.30pm, for instance. Then she can worry and cry all she likes.
Yes, that’s going to help in later life, isn’t it? And we wonder why we seem to be creating a generation unable to cope with the slightest difficulty or setback…