Jan 4
Parenting Paragraph – My son was being tormented

Q: My 11-year old son was being tormented by a couple of girls for half the school year and I didn’t know until the Dean call me. I’m concerned he let it go this long and I didn’t know anything about it, what should I do?

A. Great question! It’s important to begin by understanding your son’s perspective on the situation. Tormenting, teased, bullying, and harassing are strong words adults use to label situations, so let your son explain his view of the interaction. Go into the discussion open-minded and ask lots of questions. “How did you feel when they talked to you?” “What specifically did they say?” “What did you do when they said those things?” “What prevented you from talking to an adult sooner?”  Often internally expressive children will attempt to take care of challenging situations themselves. (NOTE: Even someone who is extroverted socially may go internal for counsel when confronted.) Be careful not to judge his actions and instead discuss the importance of getting help sooner. Remember to allow your child’s natural style to process the situation – forcing your solution on him will likely shut him down more. Decide together an appropriate time-frame for him to talk to an adult “What would it take for you to go to an adult sooner?” “How long will you allow something like this in the future before talking to an adult?” Explore the negative impacts of waiting to ask for help. “What would have happened if the Dean didn’t speak to the girls?” Naming a specific “go to” person and meeting with them in advance will open a child up to getting help sooner. Find someone he is willing to talk to, “Who is the adult you are most comfortable going to?” Also ask “Is there anything that would prevent you from talking to this person?” Listen to his answer for any subconscious resistance he may have to getting help and explore it with more questions. You can’t force your son to get help but you can support him with open dialogue and lots of resources.

laughingLaura Treonze, serves as Chief Life Strategist with LMT Consulting, which helps executives and teams create massive success through self-awareness. Her life-changing approach has transformed individuals and families and has redefined the way non-profits and corporations “do” business.