Posted: 27 September 2019

How to talk to your child about the future

Our latest Good Childhood Report found that one third of 10-17 year olds worry about whether they’ll have enough money in the future, and over a quarter worry about not having a job. On top of this, children as young as ten are worrying about societal issues such as crime and the environment.

With so much uncertainty about the future, it’s understandable young people feel concerned. Only by listening to these young people, can we help them overcome these challenges of modern childhood.

Find out more about the issues worrying young people in 2019

Top tips for talking to your child about the future

If you think a child is worried about something, encouraging them to talk about it can be very helpful, whether you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher, counsellor or friend. Here are some top tips on how to talk to children about issues they find concerning. 

Listen to them

Listening to young people is key to helping them face their future with confidence. Some young people open up easier than others but it’s important you show the child you are there for support. If they seem worried, ask simple questions and be patient. The most important thing is that the child knows you are happy to listen when they do open up. 

Be understanding

A lot of young people told us they worry about getting into university and getting a job. These are very common concerns and it’s completely normal for young people to worry about them. Rather than denying them these feelings, reassure them that many of their peers share the same concerns, there's a lot of pressure on young people these days, and it's fine to be worried about these things. Sharing these worries with others can help make things seem a little less daunting. 

Stay positive

Whilst it’s important not to deny young people’s worries, it’s still possible to be positive about the future. Share positive stories when you can and try to end your conversations on a positive note. 

One 17 year old girl told us,

‘A positive thing that the generation can look forward to is the endless opportunities.’

Finding a job can be daunting but it can also be exciting. Try to talk about things they’re looking forward to in the future.

Encourage learning

If your child is worried because of something they heard at school, or because of something they read, it can be productive to encourage them to find out a bit more about the issue. Learning about an issue can help the child develop a better understanding of their worries. 

Empower them

Another great way to deal with worry is by taking action and feeling like you are in control of the worry, not vice-versa. Finding solutions to concerns can help manage certain worries. 

For example, if the child is worried about climate change, think of ways they can raise awareness in school. If they’re worried about finding a job, discuss their options and opportunities.   

Talking to and listening to young people can help them overcome the challenges of modern childhood and face their future with confidence and hope.

It's time to show young people they matter. Pledge your support and let them know.

PLEDGE #IHEARYOUTH

By Kaja Zuvac-Graves
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