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Why Teens Don’t Tell Their Parents About Bullying

kateIntroducing our new intern, Kate! I’m convinced that it’s impossible for adults to understand what really goes on in the minds of teens.  Yet they desperately want to be understood.  So, I’m so excited to announce the addition of our intern Kate to the Safety Mom team!  Kate is a junior in high school and loves writing.  Her dream is to work with the FBI as a criminal profiler someday.  Kate will be blogging for us and giving the teen perspective on everything from bullying to academic pressure and everything in between. At school, at work, sometimes even at home. Thousands of people a day get bullied for how they look, how they talk, the way they walk, the beliefs they have and any other things that a bully can think of. Bullies are everywhere and unfortunately we can never completely get away from them and ignoring what they say is a lot harder than parents think. Most teens don’t like to talk about bullying with their parents. They think their parents will be embarrassed because bullying, to a teen, is like saying, “Hey Mom and Dad, I’m not perfect.” Every child wants to make his or her parents proud more than anything and when they are being bullied, when people are making fun of their qualities, it makes them feel like a disappointment. Teens also don’t tell their parents if they are getting bullied because they don’t want to run to anyone, especially their parents, for help.  They no longer consider themselves children and want to handle things on their own. Another big reason teens don’t confide in their parents is that they don’t want them to hover.  When a mom hears that her teen is being bullied, it’s a natural inclination to check in every day to make sure her daughter isn’t considering or already harming herself. Asking her about the bullying every single day when she gets home, making her share her social media website, constantly checking up on her and never leaving her alone for fear she might harm herself are all the things a teen does not want her parents doing! Even though parents believe they are helping by watching their child’s every move, it actually makes a teen feel more vulnerable and worsens the situation. Teens desperately want to work it out on their own. Here’s what a parent can do to help their teen who is being bullied:

  • Simply talk to your teen. Ask her, the first time you hear about the bullying, what you can do to help or whether she even wants your help. Maybe all she wants is to talk to someone who won’t answer with the frustrating words, “Ignore it.”
  • Remind her that all bullies are the same. They are all bitter, insecure people that don’t have anyone to talk to so they take their anger out on other people. The same names they call the boy/girl they are bullying, they have probably been called by someone else.
  • Reassure her that there will always be someone to talk to like a family member, school counselor or close friend.
  • Let her know that she can’t always be strong and shake it off but that’s okay, she isn’t made of tin, she has a heart. Remind her to do what makes her happy because in the end, that’s what matters.

No matter what, things will always turn around and nothing bad lasts forever. Ten years from now, the bullies won’t matter.

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