Growing up as a young woman in our society can be quite difficult, with immense pressure placed on perfection, and the added fact that girls can be cruel to one another. That is why our job as a mother is so important.
A major part of our role as a parent is to provide emotional support to our daughters. When the outside world seems scary and even callous, our girls need us to swoop in and provide them with much-needed emotional support. Relational aggression is a very real thing and happens when children are the target of bullying. Regardless of what it is that your daughter is being targeted about-she needs you to help her remember who she is, despite the hateful comments coming from her peers.
When your daughter comes to you, or begins to show signs that something is amiss in her school or friend group, here are some ways you can help emotionally support her.
1. Listen to her.
When your daughter comes to you, don’t assume you understand what is going on without listening. Let her know that she can vent to you about anything, and make the listening space a safe space. If you immediately jump on her if she brings up something you might not agree with or want to hear-she is not going to be able to trust you.
2. Remind her of her strengths.
Make sure she understands what her strengths are. While the bullies at school may be pointing out her pimples or weight or whatever the case may be, they are overlooking the best parts of her, because they are immature. By focusing on the positive rather than getting hung up on the hurt or responding inappropriately, you are giving her the support that she needs.
3. Share stories.
By sharing your stories, you are letting her know that she is not alone. Make sure that it is relevant to what she is going through, of course. But, when you do this, you are showing her that you do understand how she feels.
4. Incorporate the wisdom of older girls.
It is helpful to incorporate outside help from an older daughter, friend, cousin, or someone who can relate and show support. This will further work to verify that she is understood and never alone.
5. Maintain a strong connection.
Don’t just show support when things are going badly. Instead, work to always show support and be there for her. You want to maintain a strong connection so that she feels safe coming to you for support.
6. Set a good example.
Above all, the best thing that you can do is set a good example. Be respectful with your daughter but also hold her to that standard as well, with others. If she pushes away your attempts at helping – continue, but it’s also helpful to respect her need for space. Giving her a card, or a funny gift is likely to get her to open up, or just saying a simple, “I’m here when you need me, I love you, ” works wonders.