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06/12/2012 12:17 - Bullying
Bullying it is, and its never easy to deal with. It sounds like your daughter has strength, and its important to encourage that. Build her self-esteem, show her you believe in her ability to cope with this and that you will help her all the way.
Unfortunately there is no easy answer for this situation. Keep up the communication with your daughter. Help her to look at all her options. Check in with her about how she is managing to distance herself from this girl and whether it is affecting her other friendships. And where the other friends are concerned - do any of them ever join in with the hurtful stuff? or is anyone else ever targeted? It rarely happens in isolation. Help your daughter identify allies and keep up friendships, make them welcome in your house, encourage her to have hobbies and sports where she meets people too.
Perhaps the most important thing here is to help your daughter stand up to the bullying. Avoidance is one strategy, but if she could be supported to speak up, to defend herself, then she will learn more about her own inner strength and build confidence that she can deal with other similar situations - as well as possibly changing the bully herself because bullies can´t bully someone who sticks up for themselves well.
See if you can brainstorm things she could say, even like ´Yeah, look who´s talking´ or ´Takes one to know one´ to deflect the verbal bullying. She definitely does not have to be friends with this girl (she´s no friend for her) - but she may still have to have some interactions with her so she needs to be prepared to handle her effectively. Humour is a great way to deflect things - for instance replying to a hurtful comment with ´That makes two of us then´, or acting confident ´Thanks!´ or ´Cheers!´ as if its water off a ducks back. Try not to let any of the upset show in front of the bully as that just gives them power. Instruct her to laugh it off where possible, or ignore. Don´t give the satisfaction of showing upset.
Another tactic is to name it as bullying - act confident, look the girl in the eye, and ask her to Stop or else she´ll be reported to the teacher (if in school). Your daughter could say ´Stop bullying me´ or ´Dont be such a bully´ particularly in front of friends - the bully won´t want to lose face. In fact, if this bullying is happening in school, you should consider involving the school to protect your daughter.
A useful resource is the Anti-Bullying Centre (ABC) in Trinity College Dublin; Dr Mona O´Moore has written ´Understanding School Bullying: A Guide for Parents and Teachers´, published by Veritas.
I hope this helps.
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04/12/2012 17:01 - Bullying
Hi everyone, any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. My 11 year old daughter is having problems with a "friend" of hers. I don´t want to overuse the word "bullying" but this girl is regularly making smart comments to her, slagging her and generally just being mean. It has been ongoing for many years now, on and off but in the last few months seems to be getting more frequent. The rest of the time they play well together. I have had a chat with my daughter and she herself has decided to try and put some space between them, in fact she is adamant that she doesn´t want to be friends any more with her. The problem is that they are part of a gang of friends and have mutual friends and I don´t want my daughter losing out. Any feedback on how to handle this would be great. Tks.