Thoughts on fostering growth through empathy
- a blog for parents -
At the end of yesterday's post, I put in a P.S. to say that my father had protected me when I was afraid. Essentially, he identified that I was being bullied, took charge and met with the Principal, and made sure to follow up with me and the Principal to confirm that the issue was dealt with & I was safe.
But I have met many adults over the years whose parents had not noticed that they were being bullied at school as children and so the bullying persisted until the situation resolved because they grew bigger than the bullies and "handled the situation themselves", transitioned by chance to a different school separate from the bully, withdrew, found a peer group that was protective (though not necessarily healthy), or the family moved and they got to start fresh with a new peer group. While these alternatives "solved the problem" of being bullied, none are ideal. In situations where parents were not part of the solution, the children did not feel able to turn to their parents to talk about their needs, or their parents did not notice that their children had anything to talk about, or more likely BOTH!
So, the key here is that parents need to be able to NOTICE when their children are in need of emotional support, encouragement, or help with problem solving.
My father noticed that I was "off" and persisted and insisted that I talk to him about what was troubling me. I had not told my parents about the situation because I did not want to trouble my them with such things - they had enough on their plate. However, when he insisted, I opened up and he took charge and made sure I was safe.
So, my question to you today is, what signs would you look for to know that your child needed you to protect them?