If you even suspect this might be the case, you need to address the issue immediately. But calmly. It’s important that you talk about your concerns in a calm, non-accusatory manner. Sometimes when parents are very worried, they end up saying, ‘Don’t think this way,’ or, ‘You shouldn’t feel that way,’ and they come across not as loving and caring, as intended, but as critical. Children respond negatively to that.
- Let your child know you love her over and over again when she’s having a hard time.
- Validate her feelings by saying things that show empathy such as: “It sounds like that was really difficult.” “I know how painful that can be.”
- Work with your child to get professional help and explain that seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness.
When it comes to the silent treatment, remember, it’s not about you. You have to pick your battles and give your kid room to grow. But you also have to put your child’s health and well-being above all else, and that means staying connected even when she doesn’t make it easy…or fun.
Compiled in collaboration with SaferLondon, the Anti-Bullying Alliance and John Carr OBE