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Christmas and Family

Worried Friend (Friend) 20 Dec '16

Each month we feature a Common Advice Blog piece. The Common Ground Panel of professionals answer one of your questions on how to support a young person dealing with difficult situations in their lives or a young person experiencing a mental illness.

Question:

Hi there, I am 14 years old. My friend's parent's have just split up and she's feeling really down about the holidays coming up. I'm worried about how she's going to handle this first Christmas and she seems really worried about splitting time between her parents. What can I do to help her get through this Christmas so she doesn't feel so down?

Common Ground Panel Responses

Jono and Ana

Jono and Ana from Mental Health Foundation say:

Just being there for your mate is really important. Let her know that if she needs to talk about stuff, that you’ll be there for her, even if it’s just to talk about chill stuff. It might also be a good idea to encourage her to talk to her parents about what she’s feeling and what they can do together to look out for each other and enjoy the holiday period together.

Although it’s cool that you want to look out for her, make sure you’re also looking after yourself. Youthline is a really good place to call if you need some tips and tricks to support her, or if she needs to talk to a trained counsellor. 

Jenny

Jenny from Skylight says:

Christmas can be an especially tough time for anyone coping with change, loss, and grief. Christmas carries memories and expectations of family traditions and festivities and when parents split, things are going to be different.    

Some tips to help:

  • Let your friend know that you are aware things will be different for her this year and how  difficult that must be – you could make her a card to express those sentiments.
  • Suggest she plans how she would like to spend the day and communicate that to her parents. This will give her some control as she faces the changes in her family. Keeping it simple, as it is not going to be an easy time for anyone.
  • Let her know that you will be available, either in person or by phone if she needs to talk.   
  • Plan some fun things to do together and encourage her to be active and do things that she enjoys.

Each month we feature a Common Advice Blog piece. The Common Ground Panel of professionals answer one of your questions on how to support a young person dealing with difficult situations in their lives or a young person experiencing a mental illness. Got a question to ask our panel? You can ask us here »

*Please note, by commenting on this post, you agree for it to be used by Common Ground online and offline to help encourage a conversation about supporting young people.
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