If your child has is having counselling, it can cause difficult feelings for you, and you may not know how to approach the subject or know what to say during this time.

This guide has been written to help parents navigate this time and has been written with input from young people.

Children and Young People enter counselling as a way for them to process whatever is going on for them in their own individual way. It can provide a space for them to talk without fear of burdening parents and without others’ opinions. It can be a powerful tool for young people to get to know themselves and increase their confidence and resilience.

  • Sometimes young people ask for counselling help, but it is much more likely that either you or a teacher has suggested that counselling might help things. It is important to reinforce that going to counselling is your child’s choice and they don’t have to continue to go if they don’t want to. This can be a balance but if it is not the right time for them it is important for not them to feel they must go as it might put them off seeking help later.
  • Reassurance and transparency are key. Although the counsellor will explain things it can be helpful that you fully understand the process so you can reassure your child that you can come in for the first little bit to meet the counsellor but then you will leave them with the counsellor for them to talk privately.
  • Avoid giving suggestions to your child about what they might or might not want to talk about. Counsellors are used to people feeling nervous and they can manage that in the session.
  • Life is very busy at times but, if possible, it’s good to try and allow some quiet time before and after you child’s session.
  • Although this might be hard, try and avoid asking your child how it went as soon as they come out from the session. Counselling can feel quite intense, and it is likely that they will feel quite tired, or their thoughts will be busy so give them time to process. Listen to music or chat about other things on the way home.
  • Keep in mind that their counselling sessions are confidential to them but reassure them they can talk about their session if they want to. Their counsellor will let you know if there is a serious concern.
  • It can feel quite uncomfortable for parents for their child to have confidential counselling with someone. Be reassured that counsellors are not there to judge you or your parenting but are there for your child and what’s going on for them and their perspective. It’s about them and not you.

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