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Hey guys,

Since the beginning of this school year, I have a strong feeling she is being bullied by someone in her class. She's not very responsive when I ask her about her day, almost like she's hiding something even though before she used to chatter away all the time. I found this opinion by another parent that suggests shes being bullied but I don't want to jump to conclusions. Thoughts?

https://www.hubub.com/41014/213221
 

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Hhhmmm. It's possible, if you just asked her, that she would be reieved to have a chance to talk about it. Although....also at these ages, it's possible she'd take it not well if you explained it like "because you've been acting differently..." Seems like my preteens/teens don't appreciate that feedback. But what if you happened to have a newspaper article/magazine or something with a bullying type headline to use as a gentle segueway, and first relate it to yourself like, "Gee, this article makes me remember having to deal with a bully..." and star talking about it--maybe she would open up...? You could also ask her teachers, sort of "off the record," what they have noticed....
 

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Hey guys,

Since the beginning of this school year, I have a strong feeling she is being bullied by someone in her class. She's not very responsive when I ask her about her day, almost like she's hiding something even though before she used to chatter away all the time. I found this opinion by another parent that suggests shes being bullied but I don't want to jump to conclusions. Thoughts?

https://www.hubub.com/41014/213221
I'd be more worried that my kid would not talk with me if she is under pressure at school. When a kid (like me) has to hide things from their own parent, who should be the kid's most trusted supporter and confidant, there is something seriously wrong there. In my case, I was afraid to go to my parents with my issues since they would have laughed it off or kicked my a** for being a pathetic coward!
If I were you, I'd sit down with my kid and begin becoming a friend that she can trust to share her feelings with.
 

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I'd be more worried that my kid would not talk with me if she is under pressure at school. When a kid (like me) has to hide things from their own parent, who should be the kid's most trusted supporter and confidant, there is something seriously wrong there. In my case, I was afraid to go to my parents with my issues since they would have laughed it off or kicked my a** for being a pathetic coward!
If I were you, I'd sit down with my kid and begin becoming a friend that she can trust to share her feelings with.
I can tell we have some fundamental differences in our beliefs in child-rearing. You seem to see everything a child grows into as a direct reflection of how they are parented. I've never bought into this "blank slate" idea. If it were true, there would be one good way to parent, we'd all get the book and all raise perfect human beings. Kids are born with personalities and traits that are all their own. As a parent, the challenge is not only to figure out WHO these little creatures are but figure out what kind of environment they need to feel safe and to thrive (and it's not the same for all.)

OP, you could be the most perfect parent on the planet and your child could still hide things from you. I can't say if your child is being bullied. I can say that's it's quite common for kids to hide that from their parents and it has far more to do with how THEY feel about it then how much they trust you. They can feel like nothing can be done and that telling an adult will only make matters worse (and most schools do handle it really badly.) They can be embarrassed and not want to disappoint you (and be too inexperienced with life to understand that you wouldn't be.) I have one child who was bullied for several years and it's an incredibly complex situation to deal with. My advice is to ask your child outright. Perhaps start with your own memory of being bullied.

Then again, how old is she? It's really not unusual for young teens to pull into themselves. My DD rarely volunteered anything from 13.5-14.5. She was mopey and defensive. She wasn't getting bullied. She was dealing with other things like a bad academic environment, feeling ugly, obsessing about world problems and absorbing the negativity of the gloomy friends she had chosen during that period. It passed. My DS 13 is happier than I've seen him in years but I notice he too is starting to withdraw a bit... spending more time in his room, wanting to spend more time with friends... it's pretty normal.

I'm not saying "don't worry." I mean, you should keep an eye on things. Talk to teachers and to other adults in her life. Talk to her. However, there is the possibility that she's just withdrawing because she's a teenager.
 

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I totally agree with whatsnextmom. Some inward-turning and withdrawal from parents is normal for many kids during adolescence. That may be what's going on. There could be more to it. It can be hard to know.

I think the best thing parents can do with kids at this age and stage is to simply keep the door open and provide opportunities for conversation and disclosure. My kids tended to bristle at interrogative interaction ("How are things at school? Having any problems with the other kids? Anything bothering you?") but if conversation was natural and undemanding, they were much more apt to disclose stuff.

How do you open the door and create the space for genuine conversation? I think keeping the personal electronics to a minimum during particular parts of family time is essential. And sometimes you can engineer opportunities around time spent together in travel or yard-work or whatever. I refused to fix our our broken dishwasher when my eldest kids were 15 and 13, because I discovered that there was something about working side by side over sinks of warm water at the daily routine of hand-washing dishes -- without the necessity of eye contact -- that created the time and space for genuine conversation. I'd share an anecdote, they'd laugh and comment on something similar that had happened to them, I'd commiserate, they'd drop a little clue about something that was bothering them, the next day more would slip out and so on. By bits and pieces I could fill in a pretty good picture of what was going on in their lives.

Good luck. Cheers!

Miranda
 

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I totally agree with whatsnextmom. Some inward-turning and withdrawal from parents is normal for many kids during adolescence. That may be what's going on. There could be more to it. It can be hard to know.

I think the best thing parents can do with kids at this age and stage is to simply keep the door open and provide opportunities for conversation and disclosure. My kids tended to bristle at interrogative interaction ("How are things at school? Having any problems with the other kids? Anything bothering you?") but if conversation was natural and undemanding, they were much more apt to disclose stuff.
Yes and yes - completely agree. I learn most from my teenage daughter when we are driving in the car or watching TV talking about something else rather than from direct questions. She is very suspicious of / uncomfortable with those.
 

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Yes and yes - completely agree. I learn most from my teenage daughter when we are driving in the car or watching TV talking about something else rather than from direct questions. She is very suspicious of / uncomfortable with those.
Yes -- another agreement. Talking in the car while going somewhere is often easier than sitting down to have a conversation.

I also think that its important to talk to kids about the things they are genuinely interested in and enjoy. Even if that is which videos on You Tube they think are funny, or great a new song by their favorite artist. In spit of the fact that its make no sense to tell another person that we are really interested in them AND tell them that everything they are interested in isn't worth talking about, parents do this all the time to their adolescents.

I don't understand jumping straight to bullying. Seems like a pretty big leap for a little breakdown in communication, which is really normal and common at this stage.
 

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I also think that its important to talk to kids about the things they are genuinely interested in and enjoy. Even if that is which videos on You Tube they think are funny, or great a new song by their favorite artist. In spit of the fact that its make no sense to tell another person that we are really interested in them AND tell them that everything they are interested in isn't worth talking about, parents do this all the time to their adolescents.
Excellent point! DD told me today what was bothering her after I spent some of the afternoon watching YouTube videos with her. Funny that you mentioned that exact situation.
 

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I tend to ask my DD who she sat next to at lunch or what games she played on the playground. That was more likely to start a dialogue at our house when she was younger (K-3).

Now that she's a tween, she is constantly decompressing about her day - no shortage of details about who said what and who is annoying. And yesterday she was showing me Harlem Shake videos on Youtube. The military one is pretty funny, LOL.
 
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