Whether it’s “cyberbullying,” or bullying in person, Lisa Furst, LMSW, Director of Education with the Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC), has these suggestions for parents to practice—yes, practice. Here’s her homework for parents:

  • Talk daily to your teen and find about their school lives and their relationships with friends and peers.  
  • Listen thoughtfully to their answers. Your teen will then know you are interested in his/her emotional state and will later come to you when upset.

Learn the Signs of Possible Bullying

  • Signs of physical injury
  • Torn clothing or broken or “lost” possessions
  • School avoidance
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches to excuse him/herself from school.
  • Mood changes that exceed “usual” mood fluctuations of teenagers. Note increased episodes of tearfulness, anxiety, irritability or apathy.  
Teach Positive Ways of Protecting Themselves
  • Walk away from a bully.
  • Avoid physical aggression which may escalate the situation. 
  • Practice verbal assertiveness such as saying “Stop!” to a bully.This demonstrates that the bully’s behavior is intolerable. 
Get Professional Support When Needed
If your teen is showing the following signs, seek professional help:

Learn more about this topic in my next blog post, and please share your experiences in the comments.                                                 

When Your Child is Gay

When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know

For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson is an award-winning freelance writer and journalist specializing in parenting as well as gay and lesbian content. For the past two years, Wesley has concentrated almost exclusively on the lesbian and gay community, specifically on advising straight parents of gay children on how to be better parents and raise happy, well-adjusted adults

1 Comment

  1. JWNYC on September 21, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    A timely, comprehensive, and compelling list. Thank you for sharing!

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