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Tue, April 23

Dear Rhonda & Dr. Cheri: Attention-seeking daughter

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My daughter has an app called the Sarahah. Anyone can say anything anonymously.

We just went through this last year with the Ask.fm app. My baby girl, who is 13 years old, tried to kill herself because of the horrible things that kids said about her. And they said the most vile and sick comments you can imagine.

I took her out of school for a couple of weeks of intense psychiatric treatment.

This summer, our family went out of the country for six weeks without phones!

We played games, did water sports, and just lazed around. It was heaven.

I let her bring her phone to school, but I thought I had controls on it. I check her phone every night.

I went to the school nurse, the principal, and her teachers. Do you know what they said? My daughter is an attention-seeker.

I took her phone and she said she would just use her friends’ phones.

Is she just trying to get attention? Should I ignore her?

Signed,

Scared Mom

Dear Mom,

If your daughter is trying to get attention, give her attention!

Give her the right kind of attention:

  1. Don’t judge – If you listen without judging, she is less likely to become suicidal. Remind her of the fun you just had on your trip together, but don’t stop there. Do those same things at home.

  2. Don’t ask why – it’s not important right now.

  3. Don’t blame yourself – blame and shame does not help … ever. You are doing the best you can.

  4. Never ignore a suicide attempt – she’s looking to these apps for feedback, in order to find out what’s wrong with herself. She may feel stuck as a victim and doesn’t know she may choose not to stay a victim.

  5. Get professional help immediately – again, every suicide attempt must be taken seriously. For every 100 attempts, someone is successful.

What you can ignore is her attempts to manipulate her phone rights. She has none. Phones are a privilege and, in our opinion, kids should not have, do not need, and can’t handle having the responsibility of a phone at school.

Bullying would be greatly reduced if our kids weren’t permitted to bring a phone to school. Parents need to say no to the phone. There is a never-ending list of apps for ruining our kids lives.

Please keep paying attention to your girl. Good job, Mom.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Rhonda Orr is the president of Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation and host of a podcast at therhondaorrshow.com. Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Write us at Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org. Save the dates; Oct. 5 for the “Bully Fighter” red carpet movie première at YCPAC and Oct. 13 for our downtown Prescott rally and civility march. Let’s make Prescott the most civil city in the US.

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