Once again, your typically studious daughter wakes up saying she does not feel good and refuses to go to school. Her grades have been dropping, and, for that matter, so has her weight. She has not been eating well, she spends her time hiding in her room, and she bursts into tears over everything. Yes, teen girls can be a little complicated, but sometimes it becomes more than that. Sadly, an increasing number of young people are dealing with bullying.
How You Can Help
The most crucial step is to get her to talk about what is going on. If you ask, “Is everything okay,” you will probably get the standard, “I’m fine.” Instead, dig a little deeper without any judgment, disappointment, or accusation. If she realizes you are a safe place to vent, she may be more open to you. Be specific by asking something like, “Is there something going on at school?”
Once you get her to talk, be sure to listen attentively. Let her vent and encourage her to get it out. Let her know she is not alone. Once she has had a chance to release those feelings, there are pieces of advice that may help.
Remind her that the reason for the bullying is to get a reaction, so make sure that is the last thing she will want to give them. Even if she is terrified, keep it inside and walk away. Do not let the bully see it.
Other Tips for Coping
There are other tips you can pass along to your daughter. She should avoid areas where the bullying takes place and block phone numbers and email addresses. Choose a group of loyal friends she can discuss the bullying with and stick close to. There is always power in numbers. As a last resort, if she must respond, do it with humor.
As her parent, consider discreetly telling a teacher at school about your daughter’s situation so they can keep an eye out. Do some research to put together a list of activities that will help build her confidence and open a new social circle.
Make sure your daughter knows beyond a doubt that she is important and loved, and the bully’s opinion is not reality. Make sure she has confidence and a support system. Research all the resources available in your area, and let us work together to stop bullying.