6 Lessons to remember when your child is bullied

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23 (New Living Translation)

In my last post I promised to write out the lessons we learned about bullying. There are two types: One from Kat’s perspective (teenager) and one from mine (parent).

I’m breaking them out and giving our bully the nickname “Brutus” for easier reading and because I still love him.

Lessons Kat Learned

Don’t put too much trust in your friends – We all crave family in one way or another and research shows that teens value the opinions of their friends and peer groups above all else. Kat put all her energy into one group of friends and Brutus was her bestie. He’s also the most popular, so when their friendship crumbled . . .

Teens are apt to choose sides, much like adults do when close friends divorce. Making friends in multiple areas of life is essential for helping teens get through relationship adversity.

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Forgive people when they make mistakes – Forgiveness isn’t only a biblical mandate, it’s a life skill . . . and it’s freaking hard! In this case Brutus was unwilling; he’d built up weeks of simmering anger. He’ll need to learn how to forgive an offense. Kat learned to forgive herself and others as Jesus does.

Pay attention to warning signs – In other words, trust your gut! God gave us powerful instincts. Kat knew something was “off.” She noticed Brutus’ behavior change and repeatedly asked him if something was wrong. He denied it so she decided to trust his word despite contrary evidence.

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Lessons I learned (not including my husband because he just wanted to beat everyone up).

Be available – Like most parents, I’m busy. But years ago my other daughter endured a bullying attack so severe it landed her in the psychiatric ward of our local hospital. When you see your teen suffering or notice a drastic change in their behavior, drop everything. Be available day or night and seek a professional for help.

Listen and don’t judge – Although angry with Brutus, I leaned on Jesus. Who better to lean on than the one who forgives us all? I turned to him in prayer, trust and faith that he knows more than I do and would work it out because he loves all of us.

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Mother and mentor – Teens often don’t listen to parental advice despite our best effort. In this case we met with a trusted mentor who knows both kids well. This amazing woman validated all I’d said to Kat in our tearful late-night chats. That felt great!

She ministered to her which allowed me to step back from the situation. She comforted and encouraged Kat to endure through the trial as a strengthening experience. I can’t say enough about making sure your kids have Godly mentors in their lives.

Your turn: I’d love to hear any bullying advice you can give!

Life verse: Do you have one?

Isaiah 58:11 is my life verse. One day, many years ago I was reading my Bible and this verse pierced my heart. God led me to it and I felt His presence and promise. It’s been stuck there ever since.

Note: If a particular scripture pierces your heart, God may be trying to tell you something.

My verse says: The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

I need to apologize for my lack of blog postings; I was getting dry and felt like I couldn’t write anything. In my home I have a beautiful tropical plant called an anthurium. They’re supposed to look like this…

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See those beautiful leaves? How lush and shiny they are nestled among the flowers? This is what mine looks like…

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There are no flowers and the brown and yellow leaf tip means they’re not getting enough water. I am at fault. I’m the gardner. Every time I pass by this wimpy, neglected plant I’m reminded that God never forgets to water.

He’s the perfect gardener all the time and He knew I was lacking and needed some refreshing. A little TLC and spritzing to encourage me and help me endure. Life has been tough for the last several months so my husband and I took a quick getaway to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

On one of our excursions, we went to the Castillo Del Morro which is an old fort overlooking the sea. It was built in the 17th century and is one of those crazy beautiful old places. While we were there peering over the walls of a closed cemetery I noticed these beautiful ferns growing from the massive stone walls.

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It was a reminder that God sustains all things. If you know about ferns you know they mostly grow in damp shade with well drained soil. But here they were, growing without any human help along a sun scorched stone wall. It reminded me of my life verse.

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I was looking at some other things growing outside of the cemetery walls and came upon this strange tree growing these gorgeous flowers and I thought, yes – this is me blooming again!

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It’s great to be back!

So how about you? Do you have a life verse to share?