Remember that you make a difference. Parents often feel like their teens reject their advice out of hand. But experts say parental perspective goes a long way toward alleviating the pain of bullying.
“They haven’t lived through a zillion relationships that break up and make up and grief and loss and job changes,” says Goldman. “They don’t know how resilient they can be. …
“Set a goal. ‘Let’s get through these next six months. Things will change.’ You have to let them know, even if it feels like the end of the world, you will feel other joys. You won’t always be in this seventh circle of hell.”
The other side
As hard as it is to learn that your child is being victimized, it can be even more traumatic to discover your child is the bully. But consider the news a blessing, says Lowen.
“It gives you an opportunity to take stock of how your child is using his or her social power. If they’re having anger management issues, if they’re going through trauma or something at home or school. …
“Use it as an opportunity to say, ‘Things have gotten totally off-track here. How do we get this back on track?’ If your child has a lot of social cachet. If they are someone other kids look up to. If they’re a big bruiser of a kid. How can these qualities be used to be a leader among their peers, rather than someone who’s hurting their peers?”
And remember that it doesn’t define your child.
“In another situation,” Lowen says, “he or she might be on the receiving end of bullying. It’s a very complicated problem. Kids don’t fit neatly compartmentalized into ‘bullies’ or ‘victims.’ ”