Talking to teens - young girl

Accessing resources that can help during critical times.

Talking to teens about traumatic events

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 - teens will look to you as role models for how to cope with these incidents
  2. Initiate dialogue: Show teens that you understand what is going on and are here to support them by bringing up difficult topics
  3. Address the incident directly: To get the dialogue started, ask teens what they have heard and what they know about the incident
  4. Show willingness to answer questions: Teens will feel more comfortable discussing the incident if they know you are willing to answer questions and listen to their concerns
  5. Validate & listen to feelings: Ask teens to share their feelings about the incident, 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 teens are coping with and processing the incident
  7. Look for solutions: 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, supported by the New York Life Foundation, here: /kids-in-need/initiatives/be-there


Be There Logo









This article was previously posted on 2/14/2019.



Add your comment

Please confirm you are human by typing the text you see in this image: