Rumors are common in our society but children may believe certain rumors they hear in their environment to be true. When it comes to rumors or gossip, it is especially pre-adolescents and adolescents who may suffer the most with the consequences of them, especially if the people who spread it do so out of envy, revenge or simply to harm others.
The objectives of the rumors can change at any time. Maybe one day the children talk about something someone supposedly did and the next day your child is the target of those rumors. The result of this is that children do not know why they have to suffer these gratuitous attacks and do not know how to deal with them. You need to learn to deal with these situations immediately and deal with what happens in a healthy way.
But how should rumors be dealt with and how can you teach your child to do it in a healthy way? While it’s true that every situation is different, here are some ideas to help your child deal with rumors.
FIND OUT WHERE THE BUZZ COMES FROM
It is important to find out who started the rumor and find out why it is happening. Maybe the rumor started with the goal of hurting your child, or maybe it’s just a bit of misinformation or misinterpretation. It may be a case of bullying and they are trying to isolate your child and get other people to turn against him.
It is important to know this information before your child responds or acts on a rumor. Once all of this is known, you can better decide what steps to take next.
AVOID THINKING ABOUT RUMORS
If you think about the rumors, you will be giving them too much power. Although this may be easier said than done, it is necessary that your child not focus all his energies on what they say about him. Thinking too much about rumors will only make your child feel worse.
Instead, try to help your child focus on other things. You can get involved in outdoor activities, you can plan a mini family trip … choose an activity that distracts your child from the thoughts of the rumors.
It is also a good idea to avoid contact with social networks or WhatsApp or to monitor their use of these media. Although this is especially difficult for adolescents, it is very important to achieve it since social networks are the perfect breeding ground for spreading rumors and trying to harm other people thanks to the advantage of anonymity or the physical distance that it provides to aggressors. Perhaps your adolescent wants to know what they say about him / her but it is better not to read cruel words so as not to give them more importance than they really have.
SIGNS OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS
Even small rumors or insults can seriously affect your child’s emotions. You should be aware of the signs of emotional distress that can occur in depression, anxiety, stress, thoughts of suicide, etc. There are even warning signs in more serious conditions like eating disorders, self-harm, psotraumatic stress disorders … that should never under any circumstances be ignored.
If you notice that your child has some of these signs, it will be necessary for you to take him to the doctor for a referral to a mental health professional who can help him in his specific case. Your child will need to learn to handle negative emotions in a healthier way, and at home they will need to feel safe and warm all the time. You will have to listen to him whenever he wants to speak and show empathy for his emotions, whatever they are.
Even if your child seems fine at home, it’s always a good idea to give him a chance to share his emotions. Sometimes the best person to vent is someone who has no emotional interest in the situation.
RESIST THE URGE TO SEEK REVENGE
When people are bad, it is very difficult not to feel angry and react negatively. As with any other type of bullying, rumors will get worse when the victim or group of victims is upset. It is also tempting to respond with rumors or gossip against the attackers.
It is necessary to be aware that revenge in many cases is useless, if not so that the problems are considerably worse. Sometimes it’s better to change your situation and do something positive about other people’s petty behavior.
REDUCE THE CHANCES OF IT HAPPENING AGAIN
Children need to learn from situations and not feel bad about something others do. No one can control the behavior of other people and only we decide when it affects us. In this sense, encourage your children to be aware of what they say to others, including what they put on the Internet, in text messages and in emails.
All of this information can potentially be used to create rumors about them. Explain that the more private information you make public or give to other people, the more ammunition others will have. Therefore, they must be very careful about who they trust and what they say to others. It is better to be cautious with what you say about yourself to others, the less information others have, the better.
IF THINGS GET UGLY, TAKE ACTION
If the rumors begin to be too much or your child begins to affect him very negatively, in addition to going to a therapist who helps your child to deal with negative emotions , it will also be necessary to make known what happens to the school if it happens at school or the authorities if there are threats or any humiliating behavior towards your child.
What is extremely important is that your children learn the meaning of ‘waterslide’ and everything that others say, just slip on them. They know their worth and the people around them are the ones who should support them and show them the wonderful people they are. What others say simply has no value.