Helping Skills

There may be some instances where you will be assisting a child to deal with his or her feelings or behaviors. When you are about to talk about something that is bothering a child, do not promise not to tell anyone. You may have to break that promise. Explain to the child that he or she may say something that other adults need to hear. Explain that you may need to ask other staff members for help. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, DON’T TRY TO HANDLE SERIOUS PROBLEMS BY YOURSELF (E.G. SUICIDAL OR HOMOCIDAL CHILDREN, DISCLOSURE OF CHILD ABUSE, ETC.). SPEAK TO STAFF MEMBERS ABOUT THESE ISSUES.

There are several skills required for listening to youth. First, attending skills are required; this includes listening with your ears and your body language. Second, you need to show genuine concern and respect for the child. Third, you should demonstrate empathy by attempting to understand a child’s feelings. Fourth, it is sometimes appropriate to share information about yourself, but self-disclosure should be done sparingly. Fifth, the use of confrontation should be limited, and when used, it should be done carefully. Finally, there are natural steps that are taken when problem-solving. Assist children who come to you in solving their problems, but don’t “tell” them the solutions.

Please click the links below for more information on each of these skills.

Additional Resources:

Problem Solving