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My family and other problems: teenagers talking to ChildLine

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Presentation on theme: "My family and other problems: teenagers talking to ChildLine"— Presentation transcript:

1 My family and other problems: teenagers talking to ChildLine
Main title slide My family and other problems: teenagers talking to ChildLine Always in 354 Green Susan Dobson ChildLine Services Manager

2 The ChildLine service 24 hour free and confidential service for any child or young person with any problem Phone, online service, information, advice & peer support on the web site Ongoing Case Managed contact Volunteer service _________________________________________________ ChildLine Schools Service 24 hour free and confidential service for any child or young person with any problem. Children can contact us by telephone, by traditional letter or Online service. We also offer ongoing Case Management which can involve a young person speaking to the same counsellor every week for a specified period. This is particularly helpful when a young person has an ongoing problem which they would like to work on over a few weeks or longer. We can also offer to do ‘conference calls’, involving the child, their CL counsellor and a third party, if the child thinks this would be helpful: the counsellor’s role is to support the child or young person helping to ensure that their voice is heard.

3 ChildLine’s counselling model
respectful, valuing and non-judgmental, giving the child or young person a safe space to explore and express his/her thoughts, feelings and actions to enable the child or young person to better understand their situation and the choices available to them to provide a child or young person with relevant information and advice, where appropriate to assess the risks a child may face and try to ensure their safety and protection ChildLine has a high threshold of confidentiality. This affords children and young people a safe space to explore issues and options that they feel are realistic in the context of their own lives, Risk assessments are made by supervisors within the counselling team and managers are on call across the UK 24hours a day to support and makes decision on breaches of confidentiality where lives are in danger or children's safety is at risk form adults in authority.

4 Methods and Types of Contacts, 2012/ 13
Almost 290,000 children and young people More girls than boys (3: 1 ratio girls to boys) 87% young people contacting ChildLine aged 12 – 18 years More online contacts 94% of direct referrals young people aged Vast majority young people using CL service are teenagers. Where age known, year olds main user group (56%) followed by years (31%). Only 13% of children using service are aged 11 and under. Girls use ChildLine far more than boys: this has always been the case. There has been a broad trend over the last decade of more boys using service, altho’ this may have stalled recently. The gender ratio also differs significantly across problem categories, for example, boys are much more likely (proportionally) to contact the service about certain issues, most notably physical abuse and sexual and gender identity. Young people chose how they contact ChildLine and since the introduction of the on-line service in 2010, the ratio of voice: on-line contacts has been shifting. This year, more young people used the on-line service than the phone, altho’ this again shows gender differences, with boys more likely to use phone (78% phone); and girls preferring online channels (55% online). The issues that teenagers contact the service about show differences, unsurprisingly. Broadly speaking, children call us less about bullying as they get older (altho’ it is still high in 12 – 15 group) and more about mental health and emotional health issues like self harm and suicide. Family relationship problems are a top concern for all age groups. The vast majority of referrals made by ChildLine are for teenagers. Last year, of 1,882 direct referrals to external agencies, mainly police and S/W, 94% were for young people aged 12 – 18. (93 referrals to agencies in Scotland). This contrasts starkly with the low numbers of children aged 12 or over on child protection register in Scotland: 83% of children on CP register in Scotland aged 10 and under. 60% of all CL: direct referrals were for yp who were actively suicidal.

5 main issues teenagers contacting ChildLine about
main issues young people aged 12– 15 main issues young people aged family relationships depression and unhappiness bullying/ online bullying suicidal issues self-harm self harm physical abuse problems with friends sexual abuse and on-line sexual abuse mental health issues puberty and sexual health pregnancy and parenting school or education problems bullying/ on-line bullying Slide shows the 10 most common ‘main problems’ teenagers ‘talk’ to ChildLine about, by age group. Most problems are experienced across the ages, with a couple of exceptions (in red). The order can differ significantly though, in relation to specific problems. For example bullying, which is the most common concern of children under 11 calling service – is still a troubling problem for 12 – 15 year olds – with increasing numbers also talking about cyber-bullying, but recedes greatly in the 16 – 18 year old group. We could talk about this slide for a long time, however in a 15 minute slot at a parenting teenagers event, we need to move on – but not before stressing two things. Firstly, this table represents a somewhat superficial way of looking at teenagers concerns. I’ve used it simply to provide a very broad picture of the key issues affecting young people in their teens contacting ChildLine. However it is one-dimensional: the vast majority of young people who receive counselling at CL talk about a range of issues impacting on their lives, not just one ‘main problem’ as listed here. We can break down the information in many different ways, to provide insights into issues affecting specific age groups, the different genders, children in different circumstances, for example those living in care, problems which appear to be highly related to each other . If you want more comprehensive picture of what teenagers are talking to CL about, there are reports I can give out: please contact us. Secondly, its also vital also to talk briefly about the issues of depression and unhappiness, suicide and self harm, which are no doubt screaming out from the table at some people. ChildLine introduced the category of ‘depression and unhappiness’ in 2012, to better represent the extent to which young people contact the service for support with how they are feeling. The category includes feeling sad, low mood , loneliness, low self esteem and negative body image issues causing acute unhappiness; many of these issues were previously recorded under other categories, hiding the extent to which young people’s emotional wellbeing is affected. These are collectively issues that are not so severe (as far as we know) that they can be classed as mental health problems (diagnosed depression and other mental health issues – check with Susan). However we know poor emotional health in childhood and adolescence can be linked with longer term mental health problems, so its important to understand the extent to which young people talking to us about unhappiness and also, vitally, that the focus is on helping young people untangle their feelings and identify underlying issues, before they escalate.

6 I’m getting bullied at school
I’m getting bullied at school. They are saying really nasty things and telling me it would be better if I wasn’t here. I feel so scared and I’ve been self harming because i need a release. I’m a pathetic failure and a nobody. Every time I look in the mirror I feel disgusted. I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t want scars but I need to cut and I need to suffer. Also important to note that there has been a trend over the past few years in increasing contacts to ChildLine from young people who are self harming and young people who are feeling suicidal or talking about suicide. Around 40% rise in contacts about self harm, huge gender difference, with girls 15 times more likely to talk to about self harming than boys. Where boys do talk about self harming, there are clear gender differences in harming behaviour: boys more likely to talk about hitting, asphyxiation, girls cutting, scratching etc. Clear pattern in young people talking about self harm as a way of coping with pain, finding a release from emotional anguish. Also appears, however, to be a correlation between self harming behaviour and feeling suicidal, with over a third of teenagers who talk to ChildLine about suicide also talking about self harm. Counselling interactions with teenagers who were talking about suicide or actively feeling suicidal also rose for the third year running, and whilst suicidal issues clearly become more prevalent for young people as they get older, becoming 3rd most common issue fro teenagers 1ged 16 – 18, there has also been an increase in the numbers of 12 – 15 year olds talking to CL counsellors about suicidal issues. As I mentioned previously, the majority of direct referrals – around 60% - that ChildLine makes to external agencies were young people who are actively suicidal It is vital not to ‘scaremonger’ about these very serious issues. Whilst in some ways perhaps not at all surprising, given the UK’s ‘position’ n the table of child wellbeingand some of the known factors associated with this: poverty, lack of educational opportunity, ChildLine figures do not necessarily indicate a rise in the numbers of young people self harming or feeling suicidal. The only thing that we can say for sure is that there are a great many more young people talking to ChildLine now about these issues than 10 years ago. The reasons will be manifold: greater awareness, media coverage, young people more able to talk about their feelings, health and wellbeing curriculum more widespread in schools? However, the increase in what ChildLine hears about can also in no small part be accounted for by the expansion of the CL service to include on-line. ChildLine On-line has profoundly changed the way that young people use the service and the nature of the issues they bring to the service. The majority of young talking to us about self harm and about suicide are doing so on-line – and the majority the increase in these contacts is on-line.

7 So my mum and dad have started arguing ALL the time. Over everything
So my mum and dad have started arguing ALL the time. Over everything. Every time one of them says something the other one yells or critisizes them. They've now started arguing about me as well, blaming eachother my self harm ever since the school found out and rang them. Also its my birthday on sunday and i really don't want it to happen anymore because all my parents will do is argue. Have nowhere to go to escape the arguing because i can hear with my door shut. Stress is getting to much for me and sometimes it feels like i can't breathe. Since this conference is all about parenting teenagers, however, whilst keeping the wider socio economic picture firmly at the front of our minds, it is probably most helpful to hear directly from teenagers and the counsellors working with them, what their family relationships are like, what relationships with parents are like, what teenagers need from parents. When reading what young people are saying, please also keep at the front of our minds at all times that the ‘ family relationship problems’ these young people are talking to ChildLine about will rarely be their only problem but rather part and parcel of what’s going on in their lives ; bullying, difficulties with relationships and friendships, depression, self harm – maybe even abuse and sexual exploitation. Most common issues young people talk to CL about in relation to family relationships is shouting and arguing. At times with siblings, more often with parents and also between parents. Also to bring out the sense of YP carrying/ feelings of responsibility – often for siblings and for parents – within households; and a general sense of feeling unappreciated by parent(s); feeling judged – not trusted; feeling not liked/ not loved, that comes through in many message board posts.

8 I’m scared they’re going to split up
I’m scared they’re going to split up. They argue all the time over the smallest thing. Basically, my mum and dad has split up and my dad has a new girlfriend, who he's had for 3 weeks and already wants me to meet her. Ok, I don't know If I feel happy for him or angry at him. He said he wouldn't bring his girlfriend to his house yet but when I arrived her boots and coat were there... I told my dad something I found out about my mum and I feel like I wrecked the family as they split up after that. Dad drinks a lot now and leaves me on my own. I feel like he’s not coping and he never takes any interest in me anymore.

9 My mum wants to move back in with my dad
My mum wants to move back in with my dad. She is bipolar which makes her really depressed and that effects everyone in my family. She doesnt really take her meds. I feel like running away because my homelife is falling apart. I'm 15, I want to run away, I hate living with my family, my sister's older and we share a room now she's pregnant and homeless and waiting for a house, my dad lost his job 5months ago, he managed to get a new job but it pays less and he is stressed. My mum works 6 days a week too and still doesn't make much over £100 a week, I'm so stressed living with all of this, im behind on school work because I get so stressed trying to do the work in such a small room. I'm at the end of the line now I need to get away from it all! I need some help

10 My mum is acting strange around me for a really long time
My mum is acting strange around me for a really long time.... She ignores me when I try speaking to her and when she does reply she has her back turned to me and gives one word answers, sounding really annoyed with me. When I try asking her if i have done something wrong she just says 'no', but I can't help feeling that i have; as soon as her boyfriend comes home, she is really bubbly and she laughs a lot to him. With me, it's like I don't exist. One minute she will give me a hug and ask me how school was, and the next time I see her, she doesn't want to talk to me. I come home from school everyday, not sure what to expect frpm her. I don't know what to do!!

11 i can tell my dad isn’t well, i think he's going through a midlife crisis or something but whatever it is [he] isn't acting the same. He argues with my mum constantly to the point where she's sleeping in my bed crying herself to sleep. I've tried talking to him about going to the doctors while we were alone and i explained all my emotions how he shouldn't be so over protective of my mum and how he really isn't well but he's convinced my mum is the ill one. About 3 times a week he tells me and my brother that she isn't well and that's why they're getting divorced then the next second he's obsessing over her and saying how much he loves her (like bi polar). The brainwashing about my mum being ill works on my brother and i dont know why he believes it but i dont know what to do anymore. How do i convince my dad he HAS to see a doctor? I can't cope with this arguing anymore, whenever i step in to help he shouts at me saying i'm on my mums side and i don't love him as much and i end up crying and getting in a state. I've now got behind in my sixth form work, i cry all the time, and now my boyfriend has broken up with me, everything is getting worse and I just don't know what to do.

12 Teenagers (contacting ChildLine) often seem to protect their parents
Teenagers (contacting ChildLine) often seem to protect their parents. These young people often go through difficult, traumatic or even just ‘new’ things, but go through them without adult support/guidance because their parents have ‘enough to worry about’ or ‘just won’t understand’. Young people miss out on so much just because parents/carers aren’t spotting the signs/clues to their realities and aren’t ‘there’ when strong bonds can be forged in the heat of adversity. I’ve hardly ever heard a young person dismiss their parents’ feelings (other than when the parent is an abuser), but every day I hear young people expressing concern for their parents and their feelings- often to the detriment of the young person’s own well-being. (ChildLine Counselling Supervisor)

13 Thank you Disclaimer All quotes are derived from real counselling sessions or message board posts with ChildLine service users but are not necessarily exact or direct quotes. To protect the identity of the young person, all potentially identifying details have been changed.


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