A quick one for the parents.
Are they being bullied?
Have you seen a change in their mood or attitude that has come out of nowhere? Are they trying to avoid school or other locations suddenly? Are they just not themselves?
Speak to them. They may be victims of bullying.
It’s hard to talk about. You don’t want to embarrass them, they don’t want to make things worse. So, you need to work on this tactfully and sensitively. Work out what’s bothering them or ask them to talk to you about things like school and classes. You should have a route in quite quickly from there.
Encourage them to confide in you and treat their responses to do so with care. You want your children to know and believe that they can come to you with their issues.
Ask them how they would like you to deal with it. Talk through options and agree on relative steps with them, wherever possible. Keep your child involved in the resolution throughout, it lends itself to building trust and gives your child the opportunity to learn how to deal with such things.
I’ve tried this, and I’m getting nothing…
It’s fine. People go through some tough times when young, not least of all when those hormones kick in. Take your time.
If you are at a loss and immediately worried about your child, then you should try speaking with their school to find out what is happening. There are also several support services out there that will be on hand to help, and I’ll list a few at the end of this article.
The important thing here is to present yourself as the pillar your children need and allow them to rely on you for support as they need you.
You can also make your children aware of the support services out there that are tailored for them. ChildLine is a phenomenally good way for children to seek help with complete anonymity, which seems to help them express their concerns. When they start talking about it, they become more aware of the issues and can sometimes begin to open up to others, including you.