Bullying – counselling the parent (Tracey and Jason)

At first I noticed Jason had become withdrawn and quiet. He had always been such a happy boy. He didn’t seem to be going through any of the teenage angst that I heard other parents were experiencing. That all seemed to change so quickly. He used to tell me everything, the smallest parts of his day were shared. Then there was nothing. At first I put it down to teenage testosterone coupled with the fact that his dad was travelling a lot. But it just kept getting worse.

Then I noticed physical signs that something wasn’t right. First he had a scratch on his face that he couldn’t explain. Then he had a black eye. Finally there was a fractured wrist. I stopped believing he was being clumsy and started to realise there was something very wrong. He finally said that he was being bullied but he wouldn’t give me any specific information about who was doing this. He refused to get police involved. I rang the police but I had such little information, they were as helpful as they could be but there wasn't much they could do as Jason was so closed off. I knew he needed help as he seemed to be slipping away right before my eyes.

I contacted the Victims Counselling and Support Service for advice. The first time we went to counselling it was just me and I spoke at length to the counsellor about what was going on for Jason. I also had a chance to talk about the stress and worry this was causing me. Then Jason started attending counselling. Although it didn’t magically fix the situation and we had to take further action to fix it, the counselling allowed him a safe place to talk about what was happening to him. I could see that some of the darkness that had been enveloping him for so long had started to lift. I think talking to a counsellor was what empowered Jason to take the next step and make a formal complaint.

I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to use the service as we never made a complaint to police (no matter how much I wanted to Jason just wouldn’t initially make a statement). When I contacted the 1300 139 703 number the service assured me that this wasn’t a problem. They also assured me that what my son was experiencing was in fact a crime. Counselling for us provided us a place where we could talk about what was going on. It became our time to talk. Jason was still quiet at home but he did talk during counselling which I am very thankful for. The counsellor helped us work on tools to deal with what was going on for Jason. Counselling helped me climb my steepest parenting hurdle. I had no idea where to begin to help my son, but using the VCSS service has helped me get through this hard time. Seeing my son hurt has been very hard and I felt very much alone in dealing with it until I accessed this service.