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WHAT'S YOUR REACTION WHEN YOUR CHILD SHARES DISTURBING INFORMATION?

09-Mar-2017


Though it may be difficult to suppress an immediate, emotional reaction based on what you hear, try to resist that reaction. Reacting too quickly may cause your child to withhold additional information, out of fear of judgement or punishment. Worse, it may make them reluctant to come to you with similar matters in the future.

While working with teenagers over many years I learnt to keep cool, when they shared their crises with me, even when my mind was shouting ‘WHAAAT?!’

The goal is to remain calm, assess the situation, and formulate a thoughtful, measured response. Such as, "Can you tell me more?"

Thank them for having the courage to confide in you; then establish firm guidelines for addressing and resolving the situation, and end the conversation on a positive, reassuring note.

The sad situation is when dads respond strongly or with a blow-up in the heat of the moment that your teenager will never confide in you again.

So be unshockable but also loving and firm. Be 'the Iceman' - be cool.

Hope that your teenager will get to know over time, "Dad will know what to do, he’s a rock."