Parenting a teenage girl might occasionally seem to be an exercise in frustration. She might be in one mood one minute and another the next. With extreme emotions come extreme shifts in friendship; you might have a hard time remembering who's friends with whom this week. Worse yet, sometimes the drama is directed toward you.
Refuse to engage if your teen directs the drama at you. Don't stoke the fires of rage or whining by arguing. Tell her that drama is not an effective way to get her needs met, and ask her to leave the room and calm down.
Listen to her feelings when she can tell them to you calmly. Sit down with her and reward her positive behavior by listening to everything she has to say, without interrupting. Often your teen just needs to vent; she needs a sympathetic ear before she needs advice.
Talk through the problem step-by-step. Ask her where she could have modified her behavior and where other people needed to modify theirs. Collaborate about what she can do differently next time to change the outcome. Encourage her to recognize when someone else is at fault and resist the urge to excessively apologize just to make the situation better. Developing the self-confidence to stand up for herself is just as important as learning to apologize when she's wrong.
Bring the girls together, if possible, or ask someone else to do it. It might be better for the parents to be present, or it might be better for the girls to talk it out with a teacher or counselor.
Write down everything that happens in a case of serious bullying, and ask her to do the same. Record the date of the event and a brief description of what happened. Keeping a record not only helps her feel empowered, it creates documentation should you need to make your case to a teacher, school administrator or other authority figure.
Seek professional help, preferably family therapy, if the drama is so extreme it disrupts functioning at home. If your daughter shows signs of depression, such as constant crying or rage, isolating herself or refusing to go to school, take her to a therapist as soon as possible.
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