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ESL forum > Ask for help > Secrets, secrets... and ... secrets. How to handle them?    

Secrets, secrets... and ... secrets. How to handle them?



lbhspatriot
Poland

Secrets, secrets... and ... secrets. How to handle them?
 
Hey guys, please help me with something :)

Apart from being a teacher I also (mostly) work as a private tutor. Due to that I get really close with my students and after teaching them for 3+ years they trust me and often confide in me. I īm only 25 so even when they are 15, they feel closer and more relatable to me then their own parents. But some secrets are worse than others and  not always I know how to deal with the knowledge though.

What if a student tells me she/he cuts themselves? What to do when they seem depressed or go through "I hate my mother" phase?
On one hand I want to be loyal to my students but then maybe I should tell their parents what they are going through. But if I tell I risk that they will never tell me anything again (and I seem to be the only person they confide in - so they lose that person).
I īm kinda stuck in the middle (prefered when they were all kids! heh ) :)

2 Sep 2012      



carinita
Argentina

You shouldn īt tell their parents, I guess you īre right. You should act as a mediator.  A professional told me that teens won īt approach their parents to chat about these things You could advice their parents to have a talk with them without giving too much info Maybe they are already suspecting something is happening Adults should approach them It is not the other way round.

2 Sep 2012     



American Teacher
United States

As a teacher in the United States,, we are MANDATED REPORTERS- www.childwelfare.gov › Systemwide › Laws & Policies

and must report things like cutting.. put yourself in both the child īs place- she is reaching out .. rather SHOUTING to you that she needs some professional help.. and then what if something happens to her.. you would be responsible for that knowledge... not helping her would be a crime.

2 Sep 2012     



MoodyMoody
United States

But lbhspatriot is in Poland, not in the USA. lbhspatriot, find out what the laws in Poland mandate and go at least by those. I do, however, agree that anything that the student tells you that harms the student or threatens harm to others needs to be told. The parents need to know about the cutting, and you should tell the student that. Be prepared for the student to be angry about it. (Anorexia would fall under the same category.) The welfare of the student should be your primary concern, not confidentiality. You are not a doctor, lawyer, or clergy. 
 
For depression or the hate mother phase, use your best judgment. Is the student suicidal? Then tell the parents and be sure the student gets help. Is the student just really down? Try to get the student to let someone know him/herself, but it isn īt necessary to tell. Is the student making active threats against someone, mother or other person? You may need to tell not only the parents but the police. Is the student just venting frustration or anger? Let it go. Everyone needs to do that sometimes.

2 Sep 2012     



ELOJOLIE274
France

what I would do is help the child and make him realize he/she needs professional help!
as a teacher in france i īm bound to report such behaviours but this is clearly different... you cannot "blab" to the parents because your pupil will no longer trust you afterwards...
obviously there is a reason behind his/her behaviour, bullying maybe?
try to talk to your pupil and make sure he/she knows he/she can trust you!

3 Sep 2012     



lbhspatriot
Poland

Thanks for ther replies guys :) Well... I study law so I know all the laws and regulations concerning my country. But as somebody said this is different. I do not act as a teacher here, just a private person, so I am not obliged by anything. The situation would be different if that happened in my school, not in a private home, in a teenagers room. But of course I do want to help her, that īs why I īm wondering how to do it in a smart way.

Primarly because the situation hasn īt escalated much yet and can be considered just a teenager acting out. She is not making any threats, she just hates everybody including her mother and her sister. My doubts are beause right now I īm the only person she doesn īt hate (though she hates English becuase it īs "super hard"). And if she feel betrayed this might cause more harm than good. What if she becomes suicidal but feels she can īt trust me anymore? If I just bluntly go and tell everything to her parents there will be nobody to see what īs going on anymore. It īs a delicate situation for me.

That doesn īt mean I do not want to act. I have explained the dangers of cutting yourself to her and it seemed that her attempts were moslty experimental (she īs 13 and unfortunately this behaviour is very "in fashion" currently in Poland :/ - many students told me it happened in their schools).
Also I have talked to her parents about how concerned I am about her in general and they have sent her to a psychologists (one session). But they are very strict with her and she has low esteem + learning difficulties (dislexia). I was hoping for some tips how to help her get through a rough phase: new school, hormonal changes etc.

3 Sep 2012     



lbhspatriot
Poland


ELOJOLIE274 - I just noticed your post. Yes! That īs what I feel exactly about the "blab" part! I īm not sure if it īs bullying but there is something. She just started new school (middle school) last year and that īs when everything started. But when I tell her parents she isn īt coping, they tell me she is just lazy ;/

3 Sep 2012     



MoodyMoody
United States

It sounds like the parents are part of the problem. The cutting is serious, and your student needs help for that. Check with her school īs guidance counselor, if there is one, and see what kind of help might be available. If there is a physical education teacher at her school, he or she might be able to corroborate the presence of the cuts. A PE teacher might even be mandated to report possible child abuse for that, not knowing 100% if the cuts are self-inflicted or from the parents.

 
"If you discover that your teenaged friend is self-injuring, let him or her know that you care and let your friend know that he or she has options. Suggest that your friend talk to his or her parents, a teacher, a school counselor or another trusted adult. If your friend doesn īt seek help, you may need to let someone know what īs going on. Although you might feel that you īd be betraying your friend, self-injury is too big a problem for your friend to deal with alone. Ask your parent, a teacher or your school counselor for help." (italics mine)
 
She is asking you for help. Please don īt let her down. And tell the parents that it doesn īt matter if she is "lazy" or not; her behavior is literally hurting herself and it īs likely to get worse without professional treatment.

3 Sep 2012     



Lovely Lana
Greece

Hi dear lbhspatriot,
I think you shouldn īt talk to the parents but not because it would be regarded as a betrayal but because they don īt seem to be the right people to help at the moment - you say they īre strict, and the girl has low self-esteem, well, they might make the whole situation even worse by having the urge to punish her.
 However, you still have to talk to someone, a school councellor maybe, if there is one.
Or you might bring an English article to the girl (as a part of your class) where somebody has a similar "nobody-understands-me" problem and how they solve the problem in a positive way, like talking to a friend or calling a special helpline. At least it will give you an idea of what she is planning to do.
Seems like you īre in a tight corner but YOU CARE for your student and that īs great and I īd like to thank you for that.

3 Sep 2012     



lbhspatriot
Poland

Thanks for all your posts. I will do what I can - the wounds are definately not made by the parents, I know the family very well (I also work with her younger sister).  However she is not doing it (yet) at a regular basis, I think she tried it and then just told me to get an reaction out of me. There are definately not any markings on her body that I could notice.
But obviously it īs a serious problem that can escalate with time. I am aware of that, I probably know better than most as I had some issues (not the same nature though) when I was a teenager. I think she feels rejected by her peers and that on top with her learning disabilities is a dangerous mix.

And you are right I DO care :) I īve already talked to somebody about it but everybody tell me it īs not my business (as I īm not her teacher just a private person) :/
Will try to give her some materials, articles and stuff related to what she is going through and see how she does. Also I will give her a number to a proffessional helpline and encourage her to call it...

Thanks again.



4 Sep 2012