How to support your LGBTQ child against bullying in school

Learn how to support your LGBTQ child against bullying in school. It’s easy for adults to forget what adolescence was like. The frustrations of figuring out the foreign world around us combined with a cocktail of raging hormones that set our emotions off at the drop of a hat. Man, being a kid was hard!

What can make an already-hard situation even harder for a young person is being “different” in some way. For young people who identify as LGBTQ, school bullying can be devastating. Rumors, gossip, name-calling, unwanted sexual jokes or comments can make learning and socializing incredibly difficult. Homophobic bullying can affect a young person’s confidence and well-being.

Here are 4  ways how to support your LGBTQ child should they become the victim of bullying in school:

1. Listen

Listen to your child and offer your support. For example, validate their feelings. Let them know it is 100% okay to question their sexual orientation or gender identity.

You WANT your child to WANT to talk to you. So when they do, give them your full attention and support.

2. Work with Your Child’s School

Any bullying incidents need to be reported to your child’s school immediately. Your child’s school has a professional and legal responsibility to keep your child safe. Work with school administrators to develop a safety plan. Encourage the school board to include specific written protections for LGBTQ students in its bullying prevention policies and student codes of conduct.

In fact, keep a written record of all bullying incidents, follow-up meetings, locations, witnesses, and what was said and/or done.

3. Contact the Police

If a bully physically threatened, hurt, sexually assaulted, stole or damaged the personal property of your child, immediately contact your local police. Secondly, if the police in your area has a hate crimes unit, contact them after your report has been filed.Specifically, let them know you believe the incident to be a hate-motivated crime based on your child’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Lastly, using your notes describe in detail the incident that has caused your child to feel unsafe.

4. Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Being the victim of bullying can put a significant dent in your child’s self-esteem. Therefore, it’s important that you help them develop their strengths and talents by creating opportunities for them to excel. This could mean signing them up for a sport, dance classes, helping them discover what hobbies they enjoy and excel at.

Bullying can be a very disturbing experience for anyone, particularly youths who are simply searching for their identity and sense of belonging. Finding the most helpful way to support your LGBTQ child during such a time can be challenging in and of itself. Many parents find it helpful to work with a family therapist who can support the entire family in finding ways to deal with the situation.

If you or a loved one have experienced bullying and would like help, please contact our intake coordinator today!

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