What to do when a kid shares something important with you

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“I work as an elementary school counsellor. I keep a stack of cards with your phone number in my desk drawer. Kids Help Phone offers kids a safety net and some peace of mind, and it offers ME peace of mind too, knowing help is there for them. I know many kids who have used it and come back to me at school to tell me about it. There is nothing more valuable than the safety of ‘our’ kids!” – Kids Help Phone supporter

Sometimes, young people need a safe adult to talk to about what’s happening in their lives. If you are that person, it can be hard to know what to say and do in the moment. Here’s how you can help:

Tip #1: Listen carefully

Be present and listen closely to what the young person is telling you. Don’t judge and let them know you believe them. Keep the line of communication open by reassuring them that it’s OK to talk to you about anything.

Tip #2: Ask questions

Ask the young person questions about what they’ve shared with you. Try to stick with open-ended questions so you can understand the issue further. You can ask, “How does this make you feel?”

Tip #3: Stay calm

Try and stay calm and collected, no matter what the young person tells you. Go slow, try to keep an open mind and take breaks if you or the young person needs them.

Tip #4: Make sure the young person is safe

If the young person discloses a potentially harmful situation to you, get help for them right away. If they are in immediate danger, call 911 or the emergency services in your area.

Tip #5: Explore solutions

Ask the young person what they are hoping will come out of your conversation. Are they looking for a solution or for you to just listen? (You can suggest a resource like Kids Help Phone!)

Your support reminds young people they are not alone and that help is always available!

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