How to Respond to a Troubled Child

When a child makes an effort to share his troubles with you, take the time to listen. Reassure him that the bad way he is feeling is a normal reaction to a difficult situation. There is enormous comfort in knowing that you are not alone, and that someone understands your sadness and grief. Sorrow is cyclical, and like the seasons, it takes time to pass from the winter of despair to the sunshine of spring.

Don’t worry that you will need to know all the answers when a child turns to you for help. Hearing him out patiently is usually the best remedy. Often his greatest need is simply to find someone who will listen and acknowledge the difficulty he faces. He needs to be able to express his questions and fears to someone mature enough to hear him out. Don’t jump to conclusions and try to fix all the problems. Often there is no simple solution, so a sympathetic word may be the best comfort of all.

Challenges and heartbreak can mold us into compassionate and resourceful men and women of character. Knowing this makes it easier to listen to the suffering of others, for we know it is not in vain. When a lump of coal, beneath the dark earth, is exposed to extreme and prolonged pressure, a change takes place. The black sooty rock is transformed into a brilliant diamond. So when you are called upon to wipe away the tears of a heartbroken child, remember that you may be witnessing the process of a diamond in the making.

Your compassionate heart will remind him that life is budding with hope and promise, even in the darkest of nights. Your greatest asset is a loving concerned heart. In communicating love, warmth, and acceptance, you will set the stage for healing to begin.

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