As a parent, I’ve worked really hard to raise responsible, kind, respectful children. I’ve been told many times that we have “nice boys”…just what I want to hear, right? The fact is, kind, inclusive and respectful children will most likely be attacked in today’s schools. It’s just the new normal.
Unfortunately, both of my children have been bullied. In fairness, it’s pretty common….more common than it should be. It’s not teasing or name-calling, it’s the no-where-to-hide-relentless-threat that you can’t escape from. There’s no safe place. Bullied to the point that they hated their lives wanted to quit school or move. This presents a unique situation whereby parents can either flourish or fail.
For younger children, this can be easier to manage because they will most likely come to you and speak to you about how they’re feeling and what’s going on. It’s easier with younger children to not necessarily empower them because bullying isn’t a situation where some sort of empowerment is going to necessarily help, but it’s easier when they’re younger to have them open up and talk to you about what’s going on. Because they are more likely to confide in their parents and talk about their feelings, it’s easier to mitigate the negative emotions associated with bullying.
When children are older, they tend to internalize it. They don’t want to rely on their parents …they think they can handle it, or that getting parents involved will make things worse. …..and this creates a greater problem. When children internalize the negative emotions surrounding bullying they will feel a greater sense of segregation, separation and a feeling of being alone. We all cope in different ways however the coping strategies that preteens and teens have developed are at the most basic level. It is within these two demographics that we would see more incidents of substance abuse, self-harm (cutting), and even suicide.
So how do you know when somethings not right? It’s up to us parents to be involved. You have to ask questions and you have to pay attention to your gut. Parents instinctively know when something is not right with their child. This isn’t moodiness and this isn’t irritability because they’re hungry or tired, this is something inherently wrong that goes beyond the moodiness of children and typical teenage brooding. When something is really wrong with your child you will see someone you don’t recognize, so you need to pay attention.
Please note: If the situation is happening at school, it is mandatory that you get educators involved. Educators function to not only provide a sense of safety for the bullied child, but they have the ability to resolve the situation entirely.
Parents trust your instincts. Talk to your kids. Get Involved. Don’t stop.
Love & Light