If your teenager’s being bullied, firstly, they need your emotional support.
Initially when they tell you, just listen to them and stay completely calm.It may be very difficult for them to share, because they may feel embarrassed or responsible.So let them talk,let them cry,comfort them with hugs and say ‘that must have been so hard for you.’
If they responded badly or made things worse, this is NOT the time to correct them.Hold back your own feelings and emotions and focus on your teenager. At this moment they just need you to be there and support them.
However, after they’ve told you everything, suggest they write every incident down, with dates, times, where it happened and any witnesses, so you can use it as evidence if you need to.
Secondly, help them explore ways to deal with the bully.
Don’t be tempted to take over dealing with the bully yourself or you’ll give your teenager a clear message that they’re a victim in life and need protecting.They’ll come across bullies in every school, and workplace they’ll ever go to, so they need to learn skills to deal with it.
- Ask, do they want to report it to the school?Or the police if it’s happened outside school?
- Do they want you to go with them for moral support?
- Explore why bullies pick on others-so they understand that bullies are probably unhappy and desperate to look cool.
- Help them limit the chances of being bullied by sticking with friends and staying in public places.
- How will they keep a positive mindset?And adopt the attitude that happiness is the best revenge.
- How can they learn how to say things assertively?
- And most importantly if it happened again,how can they not appear to get upset or angry and act as if they don’t care?
- It’s good if you can help them work out how to appear confident –even if they don’t feel it.
- And practice what to say and do if it happens again.
Finally, keep up the support until the bullying stops.
So every day check:
- Did it happen again?
- How did they deal with it?
- Did that stop the bully?If it did, give them a high five!If it didn’t, and the bully carried on,
- What will they try next time?
- Do they want to practice?
- Make sure they write it all down, and then check:
- Do they want to report it?
So if your teenager is being bullied, three things you can do are:
- Provide emotional support.
- Help them find good ways to deal with it
- And support them until the bullying stops.
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