If your child really needed help, who would they go to? They might think first of a friend their own age, and while this friend may be good at listening and empathizing with them, they might not know what kind of advice to give. This is because as a young person, they have not had as much experience as an adult. We recommend to young people that when they have more serious concerns, they go to a supportive adult. Some young people don’t feel comfortable going to their parent with their concerns, because they feel guilty or that their parent will be disappointed. Going to another supportive adult can help a lot. A supportive adult can be your parent, relative, teacher, priest, therapist, nurse, doctor. But how does your child know if this adult is someone they can depend on?
They should ask themselves:
- Does this person care about me? do they want me to succeed?
- Are they someone who I consider a role model? someone I wouldn’t mind being like when I get older?
- Have they been kind to me in the past?
- Do they listen to what I have to say?
- Do they respect me and my decisions?
Surround your child with other adults who you feel are good role models. Even if they are not comfortable coming to you, they may be able to trust another close adult. Also, if you have concerns bring your child to their PCP or to an adolescent medicine specialist. These healthcare provides should spend time alone talking to your child. This might allow for a more comfortable environment where they can share their concerns.
How has a supportive adult helped your child in the past? Are there any questions you would add to our list?