Promoting Empathy With Your Teen

The most efficient way to address everyday issues with your teen

Helping Your Child Make Better Friends

Hint: look for the silver lining in cyber bullying.

A case of bullying, if handled the right way by a parent and child involved, can turn out to be a blessing in disguise. This is because at the heart of bullying is a youth lacking adequate social support in his or her peer environment for a variety of reasons—more often than not: poor social skills.

In most cases of bullying, when kids resort to bullying another peer, it is usually the bully's way of saying, "you don't belong to this group, now leave or I will continue to make your life miserable." Meanwhile the recipient of the bullying continues to return to the scene, as if to say eventually I shall outlast you and everyone else will come to accept me.

Take cyber bullying for example, someone overcome by envy posts something scandalous and untrue about their intended victim. The person about whom these scandalous remarks have been made becomes very upset and saddened. In my experience, once I begin my series of questions about what they are experiencing and why they are truly upset, it becomes less about the bullying facebook posts and more about the concern that their friends will believe such lies and that they will be ousted from a particular group.

At which point, I will ask, "Why would your friends believe such lies?"

The response I usually get ranges anywhere from "I don't know" to a break down of how judgemental some of their friends are. At this point I will usually respond, "it doesn't sound like you and your friends know each other very well, otherwise you would not be bothered by what they think. Further, true friends would stand up for you and would not tolerate any facebook friend slandering you on their facebook wall. They would collectively debunk the rumors and unfriend the culprit.

"You don't understand my friends."

"No I don't, but I do understand that the relationship you have with these so-called friends is superficial."

It usually takes about a week or two, for the client to begin the process of conceding that he or she has pursued the wrong types of relationships and for the wrong reasons.

This provides an opportunity for the client to begin the process of establishing new types of relationships which usually begins the process of a whole new journey into becoming more empathetic. By 'more empathetic' I mean a young person who is becoming more conscientious about others, as he or she starts paying attention towards others who are more receptive and accepting of him or her.

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So what are your thoughts? Do you have a better argument? If so please leave your interesting, clean and creative comments in the comment section.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions, a professional counseling and life coaching practice.

 

 

Ugo Uche is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in adolescents and young adults.

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