Being Supportive

Being Supportive

This isn’t directly about me, but I’m hoping you’ll have some advice. I used to frequent this site quite a lot a couple years back, and I’m hoping I can now use it to help someone else. So… I’m 17, and a senior in high school. I go to a very small school, so everyone is pretty familiar with everyone else across grade levels. Last year, I was approached by a 6th grader (now 7th) during an Ultimate Frisbee club, saying she thought I was cool and I was like a sister to her. Anyway, this school year I’ve learned a lot more about her background and her family. Long story short… things aren’t great at home. I have similar issues so I relate to the struggle of going through all that while also being in middle school. I make sure I’m around when I need to be, and she’s pretty attached to me as a source of support, but I’m just worried I’m not doing all the right things. While I know I can’t, I just wish I could fix it all. Instead, I try to do the best I can. What I was wondering is, if you could maybe provide advice of your own? I really want to be the best I can be for this kid. She means the world to me. Thank you in advance!!!

CONSIDER THIS:

  • It shows maturity and compassion that you want to be a solid support for this girl. The fact that she seeks you out is not by accident.
  • While you may not be able to “fix it all”, just being there when you are able to can still make a great impact on this girl’s life.
  • Often leading by example is the best way to support someone. Since you have similar backgrounds, seeing you be successful and happy in life can be encouraging to her and give her hope.
  • It is important to always take care of yourself first before you take on the struggles of others. The comparison to an airplane malfunction of “put on your life mask before you help the person next to you” is especially important here. It can sometimes be easier to focus on others and forget about ourselves. Taking care of yourself can motivate her to do the same and also make it possible for you to support her in a healthy manner.
  • If you feel that this girl is ever in physical danger you might consider confiding in an adult. A school teacher, counselor, religious leader, family member, etc. could be a great source of support.

HELP YOURSELF:

  • How has hearing her stories of her struggles impacted your life?
  • What would happen if you spoke openly with her and let her know that you want to be there for her when she needs you and also need to take care of yourself?
  • How do you feel about looking up any coping mechanisms that you could share with her, or things that have worked for you in the past? Journaling, listening to music, speaking with an adult?
  • What was the single most important thing that kept you going when you were at your lowest point while growing up?