Sending your daughter off to another year of school can be daunting knowing that her persecution may carry over, or even worsen, in the new grade. Here’s what to focus on in order to best empower and support her as she enters this next chapter:
Encourage Her to Seize Opportunities. A new school year means the reset button has been pressed on clubs and activities. Empower her to take advantage of these opportunities now before the year is underway. It’s often easier to begin the year with courage and confidence, before the stress of it all takes over; support her in capitalizing on that! A new focus and community may help shift her social life and self-image in a more positive direction.
Don’t Panic if History Repeats Itself. It can be difficult to sit back when your daughter begins to encounter the same pitfalls in these friendships time and time again. Her resilience in cultivating her relationships and surviving these challenges should not be overlooked though; trust that she will learn from the past, while empowering her to seek and expect better in the future.
Anticipate Changes. Transitioning back to school while navigating her social and academic concerns may result in a rocky first few weeks. She is not only trying to determine who she will be in this new year, but how her friendships will evolve as well. There are bound to be days where she doesn’t seem quite herself – and that’s okay. Continue to offer your love and support while giving her the space to explore her own identity. Each year comes with new expectations and responsibilities, and she will undoubtedly change and grow along with them.
Support Emotions, Not Wallowing. No matter her age, your most important job as a parent during her experience with girl bullying is to provide a safe, supportive space where her emotions are valued and heard. However, it’s crucial to notice and assess when it’s a necessary release, and when it starts to do more harm than good. This is particularly critical at the start of the school year – establish together what the tone will be for this year’s future conversations. Allowing your daughter (and the whole family) to place all focus on the negativity and hurt will bog her down before the year’s even begun.