What to Do If Someone Confides in You About Trouble at Home
Certain secrets you take to the grave, others may be cause for action.
If anybody in your life confides in you about having trouble at home, here is what you should do next.
Accurately Access Danger
The first thing you should do is accurately access if your friend or loved one is in any danger. Secrets can range from the mild (my mom yelled at me because I missed curfew), to the dangerous (my family does harmful things to me). Let your friend finish their story and listen attentively. Ask for details if you have any questions, and after the conversation is done, access if this is something that may escalate or cause them danger. If the answer is yes, you need to consider next steps.
Confide in an Adult
Yes, we know. Adults can oftentimes be the last people we want to share anything with. That said, there are instances when you most definitely need their guidance. If your friend's situation is unsafe or if you feel it can escalate to danger, seek out an adult you completely trust. If you fear your parents will judge your friend, remember that there are other adult figures you can always go to. A teacher, your coach, your aunt or uncle—all of these are good options.
Pick someone you trust and don't hold back about the situation. After you've shared what is going on, ask if they deem it necessary to take any further action. If they believe so, have them guide you through who you need to contact next. It could be a non-profit, the school or any other organization that will help your friend get out of deep water.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
After you've gone through the above steps, try to take a moment to put yourself in your friend's shoes. This will help you anticipate what they need during this time. It may be as simple as a hug. Don't forget to be discreet. Even though you may have felt it necessary to confide in an adult, it doesn't mean everyone at school should know. Don't gossip about the situation, and keep it under wraps as much as you can. Not only could you really end up hurting your friend by sharing their personal business, but it could end backfiring on you as well.
Check in on Your Friend
After your friend confides in you, don't stop checking in on them. Text them during the week, ask them to hang out on weekends. Use any excuse to see how they are doing and keep them distracted from the troubling situation. If you hear that the situation is worsening, you may need to take action again. If the situation was nothing to fear in the first place, lending a listening ear will show how much you value their friendship. If the situation was indeed serious, they will need you more than ever during this time.
Now that you know how to handle that type of situation, figure out how to have a difficult conversation with your own parents HERE.