My child has seen some age inappropriate things on the internet! What do I do?

Being a parent is ridden with a lot of guilt and regret over all the things you have done wrong. You have multiple roles to fulfill as a parent; from mentor to role model, from disciplinarian to worrier, from policing to motivator and many others. Wearing so many hats while trying to balance the whole act can sometimes be quite a task. On most days you are exhausted not only from the physical exertion but also the mental burden.

As a race – parents are also very unforgiving. Most unforgiving of themselves when things go topsy turvy. They mentally whip themselves of having not paid attention for that one split second when their child fell off the bed or when he slipped on water spilt on the floor and hurt himself. I remember the first time my baby fell of her bed I reprimanded myself for a month for having gone to the other side of the bed to get something. Why? Why couldn’t I have been more careful?

So I could empathise straight away when I saw this Mom’s question in complete panic mode: My young daughter has seen some age inappropriate stuff on the internet what should I do? And she had a long list of options she was considering!

1) Understand that mishaps like ‘watching inappropriate stuff on the internet’ have happened and will happen to parents. No the incident is not normal but the MISHAP is NORMAL and happens to the best of parents! It is not the first time this has happened.

2) Instead of rushing into trying to explain ‘facts of life’ to your child, assess whether your child is matured enough to handle all the information. Yourchild’s maturity level is based on your family, culture and environmentand you can decide whether your child is ready or not. He/she might already be overwhelmed by the ‘inappropriate stuff’ and more information might only add to the overwhelm instead of making any sense at too early an age.

3) Remember your child has short term memory and unless you reinforcesome information she will soon forget about it.

4) As parents you need to not make it a BIG issue and let go of the event.Do not keep asking her about it or doing anything to remind her of it.

5) Share the incident with the other parent whose child has influenced yours so that she can take remedial action. Try and do so with a gente and empathetic approach.

6) Keep a watchful eye on your child’s internet activity over the next two weeks, but after that let go of the entire episode. You need to TRUST that this is a one off mistake – because when you trust your child, your child will live upto that trust.