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Family Works Central is just one local social service organisation seeing an increase in teenagers and their parents seeking support for dealing with the effects of bullying.
Bullying is reportedly widespread in New Zealand. Cyber-bullying is posing an even bigger problem as it becomes increasingly easier for bullies to remain anonymous and continue their bullying at all hours of the day and night.
Family Works Central counsellor Lizzi Winn finds bullying is not the most common reason teenagers or their parents seek support, but is often an underlying issue.
“If you’re strong, healthy and secure in who you are, you might be able to just brush it off or ignore a bully’s comments, but if you’re feeling slightly vulnerable, lonely or a bit down, bullying can be very difficult to deal with.”
“Counselling supports people to feel empowered and more resilient. They might not be able to change the behaviour of the bully, but counselling can provide the tools for them to better manage difficult situations. Essentially, they can change how they respond and how they feel about the situation,” says Lizzi.
One Wellington mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, explains that her once happy teenage daughter rapidly became down and pessimistic after she began spending time with a new group.
“The Family Works counsellor gave our daughter a safe place to express her feelings and helped her explore alternative ways to react to the situation. After just a few weeks we began to see a difference in our daughter’s outlook.”
She is encouraging other parents and teenagers to seek help if bullying is an issue.
“A few months on and our daughter is making better decisions. She’s decided she has the power to choose who she associates with and now has a very strong network of true friends. She is back to her happy and optimistic self.”
Family Works Central provides a range of counselling and family therapy services for people of all ages in Wellington and Hutt Valley. For more information visit phone 04 439 4900.