I’m writing this post because I want more people to encourage their children to contact Childline. Today the body of Amber Peat, a 13 year old girl from Mansfield was found. She died from hanging. I can’t justify with words how sick this makes me feel. I’ve always been a very empathic person, but I don’t think it takes that much empathy for this kind of story to attack your heart.
I can’t help but question what the hell was going on in her life and mind that she felt that suicide was her only option. My imagination plays out. I wonder if she ever spoke to anybody about how she was feeling or what was going on. I used to be a counsellor at Childline, which for anybody who doesn’t know, is a free service for children and young people who need to talk. They operate via telephone chat, instant messenger and email. This is exactly what I used to explain to any contacts I took at Childline:
Childline is a completely confidential service unless:
- Your life is in immediate danger
- You are hurting other young people
- You are telling Childline about somebody who is hurting you, who is in a position of authority (i.e, a teacher, a priest, a policeman/woman)
This means that unless you are abusing your child to the point that their life is in immediate danger, you 100% will not find social services or the police at your door under Childline’s direction. I say that because I want you to understand that you do not have to be afraid of your kid contacting Childline. I know when I was a preteen, I’d sometimes threaten to call Childline, like it was a sure fire way to get my parents in trouble, in an attempt to get what I wanted. It’s just not how it works.
I don’t know if anybody reads this blog, or if any of you that do have kids. But I urge you to encourage your kids to use Childline. Please be aware that there are probably going to be circumstances in your kids life that they just don’t want/feel able to talk to you about, no matter how open you encourage them to be. It’s not your fault, but you have to accept this is a very real possibility. The issues kids go through are vastly more complex now than they were as little as ten years ago. Kids will often feel like they don’t want to upset their parents, that their parents will be ashamed of them, or they will get into trouble – regardless of how much you tell them otherwise. Childline can ensure that they have a safe, understanding voice to turn to at times like this. They don’t give advice, they just listen; so you don’t have to worry about anybody from Childline steering them in a way you don’t deem appropriate. You don’t have to be afraid of your kid using the service.
Childline can be contacted on
0800 111 111