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Talking to Kids & Teens

Boys & Girls Clubs are committed to a providing safe environments and experiences so that all kids can become who they were meant to be. Physical and mental health are critical for all young people, and that is why Boys & Girls Clubs have partnered with organizations like the Crisis Text Line and Mental Health First Aid – so that all young people, and the caring mentors at our Clubs that guide them, have access to resources that can help them during critical times. When a tragedy does strike, it is important to talk with young people that have been directly or indirectly impacted. Even if they are not engaging with you, that does not necessarily mean they are not thinking about or internalizing different emotions. Here are some ways to talk with your child or teen about traumatic events:

  1. Process your own emotions: Label your own emotions and use self-care strategies - kids & teens will look to you as role models for how to cope

  2. Initiate dialogue: Show them that you understand what is going on and are here to support them by bringing up difficult topics

  3. Address the topic directly: To get the dialogue started, ask them what they have heard and what they know

  4. Show willingness to answer questions: Kids & teens will feel more comfortable asking questions and talking if they know you are willing to answer questions and listen to their concerns

  5. Validate & listen to feelings: Ask kids & teens to share their feelings and respond with empathy as validation that you are listening

  6. Continue to check in: Check back in regularly during the coming weeks to see how they're are processing and coping and do they need anything

  7. Look for solutions: Kids & teens are action-oriented - ask, "What can we do to create positive change in our Club, school, or community?" and support them in starting a meaningful project or campaign

You can learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs “Be There” initiative here:


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