My daughter is 13, was bullied at school and has become extremely disengaged. She is almost always alone in her room. After weeks of working with the school on a plan to ease her back in, she agreed to try going back to school for 2.5 hours. After I dropped her off, and made sure she would be okay, and she had a teacher supporting her, she ran away from school and called me. I wasn’t angry. We talked and she knows we are there for her. But I’m broken. What are some steps that we can take to help her heal so she can return to school and other activities she used to enjoy?

- User Submitted

Hi, I'm Dr. Kevin Skinner here at Parent Guidance. I want to take thank you for taking time to ask your question. It's about your daughter's anxiety. She was bullied at school and now she's tried to go back and ran away and you're glad she's safe but I want to just address a couple things. You talked about being relieved that she's safe and with you and she knows that you're there for her, but she feels like she's broken. - As parents, - you think, what are we missing?

Well, to help her heal, some of the specific things I would suggest, as you go through - this process, number one is I would want to get her into a professional therapist. Somebody who can do some trauma therapy, either EMDR, ART - - or what we call IFS. Now, those are all acronyms. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is EMDR, - ART is Accelerated Resolution Therapy or the third is Internal Family Systems. Those are things that I think I would want my daughter to go into treatment, just as some sessions to deal with those anxious experiences or that specific experience.

Second, as a parent you want your daughter to be able to give meaning to what she experienced. In other words she needs to be able to talk about what meaning she gave to that bullying experience. And, if she talks about it, as a parent, you want to - listen carefully. What was her, what happened? What, how did she describe this experience? - And, I think it's important, as she makes sense of that, that, you listen carefully and then help her realize that she is safe. Maybe some things that she could do that would be protective. Reaching out to teacher or coming home and talking about it, realizing that she's not alone. That's a really important part with anxieties, realizing that there are some people who support, people who do care and people who genuinely love you.

Anyway, and final, is as parent, don't feel like you're doing something wrong, your loving and caring. Try these
strategies.

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Answered by:

Dr. Kevin Skinner

Dr. Kevin Skinner