Middle School Drama :: Feeling Left Out
As a parent, hearing that someone is being mean to your child crushes your heart. Worse is hearing your child feels left out by their peers.
Middle school is a transition; sadly, bullying and exclusion are nothing new. Unfortunately, our children’s interactions with their peers do not just occur in person. Social media adds another way for children to feel excluded and let down.
It does not matter how well-adjusted or well-liked they are; they will feel left out eventually. Maybe they have become the third wheel, were left out of the latest social media dance craze video, or were not invited to the group get-together.
However, as parents, what can we do to help? When do we step in? Below are some things we can do to help our children navigate these situations and build meaningful friendships.
When your child comes to you about being left out and feeling like no one likes them, try not to interrupt. Refrain from reacting too quickly, which I know from experience is easier said than done. Try not to criticize or diminish their feelings; instead, encourage them to talk to you about what is happening.
Validate and Remind
Confirm how they feel and reassure them you understand. Make sure they know their feelings are justified, and they have every right to be upset. Remind them that friendships will change over the next few years. Remind them to surround themselves with encouraging people and build their self-esteem.
Make home a safe space to land when they are feeling alone at school. Let them know their family loves them unconditionally and you are always there for them.
You can motivate your child to find healthy ways to deal with their feelings. Finding an outlet such as journaling, painting, playing sports, or listening to music can help them deal with the stress they are experiencing.
As parents, we hope to provide the tools for our children to solve their issues independently, standing up for themselves assertively and respectfully. However, that only sometimes works. Contact administration immediately if your child’s feelings of isolation and bullying have reached a breaking point and they feel unsafe.
We hate having to watch our children deal with peer drama. What are some other ways you are helping your children navigate and cope?