Bullying is not something you’d classify as a positive experience. In fact for many, it’s the harmful defining hallmark of their teen years. Thankfully bullying has been brought into the spotlight in the last few years so we are better able to understand what it is, how it happens, and how we can deal with it as parents and educators. The most important part of bullying is identifying it – does your daughter understand when she is being bullied and then are you as parents aware that it’s going on?
Once parents are made aware of a bullying situation, their entire efforts are usually to stop the bullying from happening. While this is important, the actions of others aren’t always in our control. Parents of bullied girls are actually in a unique position to use the conflict to teach their daughters important life skills that can help them down the road.
Bullying Can Teach Us Valuable Lessons
- Embracing her circle of control. When your troubled teen is experiencing bullying, she may be confused and feel helpless. Often these behaviors lead teen girls to lash out or cope in unhealthy ways. Instead, you can use this opportunity to teach your daughter the critical skill of identifying her circle of control. Discussing what she can control and what she can’t is a powerful way to help her take the reins and avoid giving up control to other people or even addictions.
- Developing Body Positivity. Girls bullying girls almost always includes some kind of body image/appearance component. Being bullied creates dangerous feelings of negative body image and poor self perception. Instead, talk to your teen daughter about her body and all the wonderful things it can do. Discuss concerns she has and help her develop the skill of loving her body and resisting the urge to criticize it or compare it to others.
- Choosing good friends. One of the most troubling things about teen girl bullying is that it comes from those who are labeled “friends.” It makes it more hurtful and more difficult to challenge. Girls need the skill to identify good and bad friends, and bullying can help them figure out which types of friends make them feel good and which types of friends makes them feel bad.
- Healthy Coping Mechanisms. Sometimes you just feel sad and hurt. It doesn’t stop when you grow up, so helping your daughter learn healthy coping mechanisms in her youth will pay off in the long run. Teach her to journal, talk about her feelings, practice self love and self care, and how to turn to others for help and support when she is feeling low.
Bullying has a multitude of harmful effects, but there are ways to turn it around and make a difference in your daughter’s life. If your teen daughter is troubled or experiencing serious problems due to bullying or other factors, there is help out there. Bullying and other teen challenges do not need to be the end of the road for a troubled girl.