Communicating with Your Teen about Bullying

The teen age years are quite unique indeed for today’s youth and one of the situations that many teens face is bullying. You may think that your teen has not had any problems with bullying but the truth of the matter is that at this age, many teens tend to keep such incidents to themselves for a variety of reasons. If you are uncertain about whether or not your teen has been or is the victim of bullying, the first step in getting a clear understanding or help is to communicate with your teen about bullying.

Communication in and of itself can be challenging with teens who are experiencing hormonal changes, peer pressures, challenging with learning and trying to adjust to this time in their lives period. Many are uncomfortable with any conversation that even remotely resembles a confrontation and often avoid speaking out about problems like bullying because they don’t want anyone, including parents, to know about it.

Unfortunately, many teens suffer through the violence of bullying in silence because they are afraid to speak out. Opening a line of communication is an excellent way to ensure that your teen realizes you are there to support and help and gives them a platform to speak to you about any bullying troubles they have. If your teen is shy and does not talk much, this communication can be over a meal or can be in writing if you want to be entirely non-confrontational. The key is to make sure the communication starts.  

Often, if a teen is being bullied and has not told anyone, it is because they lack trust in revealing their trouble. You can start communicating with your teen about bullying by asking some questions that propose what if scenarios to find out what your teen thinks and how they would handle bullying situations if they were placed in one. A straightforward conversation can be short, sweet and to the point. It lays a foundation that lets your teen know you do not approve of bullying and that you are available to help them if they are in any type of trouble with a bully.

If you are not sure how to start an open dialogue with your teen, check with their school or online to find some resources to help you get communication started between you and your teen. It is possible that at first you may be met with resistance, especially if your teen feels that you are prying. If this happens, don’t be discouraged nor give up in your efforts. Let your teen know that you are only interested in ensuring that a communication channel exists for their benefit and yours. Remember it may take a few talks before the communication begins to flow.