I have a very close relationship with my children (although they are not children much anymore). This is important to me to try to maintain and I believe important to them. One of the added benefits to having a good strong relationship with your children is that you get to know their friends. Some of their friends I have known since the day they were born and that gives me a good insight to them.
So, this weekend one of their lifelong friends who I have known since he was born came over. Out of all the years I have known this boy, he is always smiling and positive. He is a good kid, but bookish and shy, who is more comfortable reading a book than interacting with people. I have known quite a few people like this. They are shy and usually quite brilliant when you can talk to them.
Well, when he walked in I could really tell that he was unhappy. He actually seemed angry and withdrawn. It definitely bothered me, because I had never seen him like this. I asked my son what was up and he told me that the boy was being picked on pretty bad at school and that he was pretty down about it.
This boy was exhibiting physical aspects to this. He was withdrawn and seemed untrusting of all of us. He certainly wasn’t going to talk to any of us about it. It really worried me. Lately I have seen this from several friends of my sons. Not that surprising, because they are in that age point (10-14) where I recall the worst bullying happens. In the couple of instances where the parents did open up I offered to be a mentor to their child and talk with them about both my experiences and theirs. Both times I received the same reaction from the parents.
‘Oh no…thank you, but he doesn’t want to talk about it.’
Of course that goes against what I think, that he should talk about it and understand he is not alone. That others have gone through and are going through this. That help is around them. But I don’t say anything. How can I? I’m not the parent and they need to decide what’s best. So how do I educate the parent to help their son or daughter? What can I do? I guess that’s the question that I’m asking. Any suggestions from the peanut gallery? The biggest thing to me is that they don’t feel hurt. That they know they are not alone. It’s really hard to watch it happen around you. What can we do to make it better?