Talking with children about tough topics


1. A long time ago when I was in primary school I had a cheeky friend in the same year group as me who threatened on more than one occasion to report his mum to the “Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children”. I thought he was making up that organisation, based on the RSPCA which I knew was real.
 
Now I see that there really is a National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (in the UK), and of course its mission is very serious.
 
They have just released some guidance for parents/carers on talking with their children about online pornography, the subject of a Counsellor’s Corner in May this year. Check it out at http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-porn/.
 
2. What are you supposed to think and feel and do if your child has been sexually assaulted? How do you help your child feel safe and secure at home? How do you support them in taking further action? Australia’s Raising Children Network has advice about how to react if you become aware an assault has happened, and about reporting, medical care, counselling, and managing your own feelings. See http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/sexual_assault.html#tells.
 
3. Another confronting topic which is in the news repeatedly is suicide. When children have questions about suicide, and particularly when it’s close to home, it is naturally a difficult matter to speak about. Jesuit Social Services has published Tell Me What Happened, a collection of stories and advice about how to talk to children about suicide. See http://express.org.au/article.aspx?aeid=42561.
 
Richmond Community Services Inc. is offering a free workshop (and afternoon tea) for adults grieving after suicide. Surviving the loss of a loved one when they have chosen to end their own life is one of the most difficult and challenging experiences to deal with. Survivors’ grief reactions associated with suicide are often overwhelming with guilt, shame, anger – life has been forever changed. In a safe and supportive environment you will be able to explore your personal loss and its impact on you, your family and friends. When: Saturday 31st October 2015, 1.30 - 3.30pm. Call 4588 3502, or email admin@rcsi.ngo.org.au, or just come along on the day.
 
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Talking about any of these tough topics with young people is going to be hard going sometimes. But it’s in tough times they need your stability and support the most.
 
Information about counselling is at {base_url}/learning-teaching
 
Martin Graham
School Counsellor