My heart aches for all parents who are suffering watching their child be ostracized, physically bullied, called names or hurt online. It’s one of the hardest things a parent can go through. It causes a flood of negative emotions.

The frustration is enormous and the fact that there is no crystal ball indicating when and how it will get better is so discouraging. Sometimes the anger is hard to manage. You may be wondering, “How did I get to the point where I’m furious with a child that was once my child’s friend? Or with the parents who don’t step in?”

You work so hard to build your child’s confidence over the years and someone comes and steals it. That’s what it is. A theft. When others don’t care, it’s an insult.

I hear over and over how parents of children who were once close, are now enemies because of the change in behavior their children have towards one another. I’ve noticed that when girls start forming cliques and start leaving one-time friends out, the mothers of the girls in the clique turn a blind eye. I often wonder if it comes down to something as simple as they are secretly pleased that their daughter is perceived as popular. No one wants a child to be perceived as a “loser.” Parents are supposed to be mature. It’s not always the case.

This goes for boys as well. Why upset the apple cart when the apple of your eye seems to be the one everyone wants to be around? Negative or positive attention — it doesn’t matter. It’s attention.

Sometimes it just takes one parent of one of the popular kids to step up. I recently heard of one of these moms. She heard that her son and his friends were cutting out a couple of the boys in their class. Why? Because they could. The mom confronted her son and asked him why certain boys weren’t invited to go get pizza. The boy’s answer was lame and the mom knew it and straightened it out. It didn’t happen overnight, but the situation definitely improved.

That’s a cool mom. She was realistic about her own child’s behavior and instead of being defensive, she was objective. She felt it was a teachable moment and the way her son was “leading” was not the desired type of leadership.

Every once in a while, you meet someone with a backbone. It’s so refreshing.

To all the moms and dads out there who could be helping, please step in. It’s good for you, for your own children and for your community. Kids are not going to magically do the right thing. You have the power to blunt the suffering of others.

And to all the moms and dads out there who are suffering along with your child, I hope you meet someone with a backbone and a capacity for compassion. In all the heartache, don’t lose heart.