The "Kanner-Jugendtelefon" (KJT) helpline, under an agreement with the Luxembourg Ministry of Education, Children and Youth, has elaborated on the services it provides to parents in the Grand Duchy.
The KJT helpline, which is a member of Child Helpline International, offers support to children and young people, but also parents, older people, friends or neighbours, regardless of gender. The service is provided via internet ("Online Help") or over the phone and addresses areas where children's or adolescents' problems are involved.
In 2018, 218 children, adolescents, parents and adults responsible for a child or adolescent contacted the Online Help service. Parents contacted the online help because of family relationships and conflicts with daughters or sons, mental health or school issues. Many parents in difficulty sought advice in the context of separation or divorce. In addition, violence within the family or at school, such as bullying or cyberbullying has always been an issue raised. Other parents were worried because their children had expressed thoughts of suicide.
One of the questions asked the most on the Online Help service is how to be a good mother or father. In response, the KJT has offered some words of advice on this important topic.
Firstly, the KJT has emphasised the importance of children being able to talk to their parents about their emotions and thus avoid a break down in communication when they need it most. Parents should listen to their children and offer them a "solid safety net to fall back on". They should offer constructive feedback on the child's behavior rather than their personality or character. The service has also advised that parents help their children discover their interests and focus on achievements within those areas.
The KJT added: "To be a parent means, first and foremost, being attentive, showing empathy, protecting the child yet being able to withdraw at the right moment to let the child choose his or her own way, while knowing that as a parent they must set an example".
Nevertheless, the service has recognised the considerable challenges facing parents today. Incidences of bullying, schoolwork and stress and health problems can have an impact on family life and communication at home. These and many other problems can be cause for concern for parents, who may "feel inadequate and, sometimes, out of their depth".
To support parents, as well as grandparents or professionals working with young people, with these daily concerns, the KJT offers an anonymous and confidential Online Help service. As part of this service, a consultant will focus on the concern and questions of mothers and fathers. They will try to understand the situation or the problem and help clarify the situation to discover individual possible options for action. The consultants are well-trained volunteers. In addition to their work at the online help, they receive regular supervision and advanced training to ensure the quality of their input.
Anyone wishing to use this service can connect with Online Help at www.kjt.lu.