Parents – How to have the conversation

Speaker 1: If you're honest with yourself, and you're actually watching what's going on with your teenagers, you know that you need to do something. So, it's just taking that leap of faith to actually be brave enough to do it.

Speaker 2: You've just got to pick the right time to have that conversation.

S1: I can't do this when I've just rushed home from work or trying to make tea or all the 50,000 other things you do every day. It needs to be when I go in and talk to her that I can just stay there.

Speaker 3: Be natural and whatever comes out is okay. I would actually ask, "Hey, I've noticed that, you know, you don't seem as bright and bubbly."

S1: You're not behaving the way you normally behave. 

Speaker 4:You're not sleeping as well.

S3: Is everything okay? 

Speaker 5: Then leave a little bit of a pause. They may well start to talk and open up.

S2: And, of course, you get the instant "No, no, no. Nothing's wrong."

S1: Don't give up at the first rejection. [laughter] 'Cause there might be more there that's only one more little feeler away, and they'll say something else.

S5: You've got to have a go, and if you muck it up a bit then the next day, you say "You know how I tried to broach that topic with you yesterday? I don't think it went real well. Can we try again?"

S5: Ask the question to open up the conversation and then shut up.

S3: You're not judging. You're not coming out with statements that are gonna make them go "Oh, I'm gonna close down now."

S4: Really acknowledging those feelings and not just saying "Oh well, you shouldn't be feeling like that."

S1: I think she talked for about two and a half hours in the end. I just waited till she finished saying all the things she wanted to say.

S4: Empathising with them... "I hear what you're saying is that you're really going through a really tough time."

sing her words so that she knows that you're hearing her.

Speaker 6: Rather than spitting out the next solution that you've conjured up, while you're thinking a

S2: Answering using her words so that she knows that you're hearing her.

Speaker 6: Rather than spitting out the next solution that you've conjured up, while you're thinking about it while they're talking to you.

S1: She stopped talking. I just sort of say, "Well, how did you feel about that?" Reassure her to keep on going when she was talking about things that were difficult.

S4: And just that gentle touch was, yeah, mum's here. Mum's here. She wants to listen to me.

S1: I just offered to support her whichever way she wanted.

S3: It's being there but not being in their face all the time.

S4: It's probably really making sure that you're not picking on the small things at them, sort of giving them a little bit of slack. I mean, not saying that you just let them get away with everything, but if their socks aren't in the wash or... It's picking your battles.

S3: He will even send out a text message. "Hey, just thinking about you. Just making sure you're OK."

S4: Also explaining that everybody at times has trouble dealing with their emotions, and at certain times, those emotions can get too much for us to deal with on our own.

S5: Then actively saying, "Here's a terrific website that I think you'll find really useful. Why don't you go onto that in your own time?"

S2: The thing we found the most helpful was actually getting someone to see her.

S6: If we can't help you, someone can, but whatever, we're going to get through it together.

S5: I said, "We would like to make a suggestion that you see a counsellor."

S1: I suggested her GP first.

S2: They're not going through it alone. Everybody is there to help, whether it be the parents, family, their friends, and the professionals that they're seeing, we're all a team behind them.

S3: It's persevering, persevering, and persevering, and just keep reinforcing that I'm here for you. I want to listen. I want to help.