This article was written by the ReachOut Parents coaches. You can see their friendly faces above!
Bullying and cyberbullying can make our kids feel unsafe and unhappy. It can stop them being who they want to be, and can make it hard to learn and be with other people. It can also lead to some pretty serious mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
As parenting coaches, we have years of experience helping parents navigate their way through bullying. Because we often work with parents who are uncertain about the best way forward we thought we would share our top tips this National Day of Action Against Bullying And Violence…
7 tips to help your teen right now
- Stay calm and positive.Your attitude will influence your teen - focus on identifying solutions with them rather than dwelling on what has happened. This focus on the future and taking action is a trademark of coaching that we love!
- Open the lines of communication. Make time and space to talk. Let them know you’re interested and ready to listen when they are ready to talk. Ask them what they would like to happen, how they would like you to support them, and offer to help them find strategies and ways they can deal with the situation.
- Listen. This one’s really important. Be present. Rather than listening to fix their problem, listen to understand what the problem is. And don’t worry, we even find this difficult sometimes!
- Connect. Let your teen know that you like them. They know that you love them, but actively taking notice of their interests shows them they are valued, building their self-worth and resilience. Even small things count, such as cooking together or show interest in their online world.
- Help them build their self-esteem. Support and encourage your teen to find something they can do that gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment, something that makes them feel good about who they are.
- Help your teen disconnect. Think about the last time you went more than a few hours without checking your phone? Hyperventilating yet? Your teenager is less likely to let you know about bullying if they’re afraid they’ll have their devices taken away. However, experience shows us that if you support them to find ways to manage their devices, such as limiting their use when they’re at home, this can give them some breathing space.
- Don't forget about yourself. Find some support for you! Talk to family or friends. Knowing your teen is experiencing bullying, and the effects this may have, can be extremely upsetting and stressful. It’s really important that you take time for yourself - talking about your feelings and experiences can be helpful and leave you with more to support your teen.
And remember, you don't have to have all the answers and your teen doesn't expect you to!
Want more help from us?
With ReachOut Parents Coaching, we work one-on-one with you. We can help you find ways to support your teenager and make a plan of action. It's free and you can sign up right now here.