How to be a Trusted Adult
Trusted Adults are good role models for kids when it comes to communicating feelings. Learn more about what it takes to be a good trusted adult in this caregiver activity.
Children with strong communication skills can seek help when they need it. Children who can identify and express their emotions are less likely to act out, hurt themselves or others, or develop unhealthy forms of coping.
|Your child a broad range of words to express themselves. Instead of happy try "excited" or "glad".|
|Before you assume. If your child is displaying strong emotions, ask questions to figure out what's really going on.|
|Good behavior and set a good example when it comes to expressing yourself and managing your own emotions.|
Ready to talk to your kids about their feelings or anything else that might be on their mind? Before you answer or discuss anything, remember to BACK up and follow these 4 steps.
If you suspect abuse, the best thing to do is talk to your child about it. Find a comfortable space to talk and remain calm throughout the conversation. You can say something like, “You know it’s my job to keep you safe and healthy. I want you to know you can always talk to me about anything, and we’ll work through it together.” Avoid asking if someone is hurting them; understand that sexual abuse can feel good to a child, so they might not view it as being hurt. Don’t pressure the child if they aren’t ready to talk to you, but make sure they know you’re available and that they’re not in trouble. Reassure them that you are simply asking because you are concerned about them. If they do disclose abuse, take them seriously, tell them you believe them, and thank them for telling you. Make sure they know the abuse was not their fault and that they didn’t do anything wrong. Before you report the abuse, tell the child that you’re going to talk to someone who can help, and that this is what needs to happen to keep the child safe. This resource provides more information on how to have this conversation and can help you find your local Child Protective Services phone number to report abuse.
Kids are going to decide on their own who they are comfortable talking to and sharing information with. This might be another family member or they might have a teacher, coach, or neighbor they feel they can confide in. Be sure you know who your child is spending time with, and consider having a conversation with that adult to set boundaries about what kind of information you would want them to share back with you. Be clear that if the child’s health or safety is at risk, that they will get you involved.
Start by modeling healthy behaviors and communication. If a child tells you something or asks you a question, take them seriously and help them. You can also say to them, “If you ever need anything, you can always talk to me – and if I’m not nearby, you can call or text.” Trust and healthy communication is built overtime through small connections and interactions. If the child ever discloses something about their health or safety that concerns you, be sure to alert their guardian or someone else who can enlist the proper help.