Help For Parents

It’s not always easy to know what is going on in your child’s life. Part of growing up involves separating from parents and this can be expressed as a demand for privacy. However, parents should be aware of changes to their teen’s usual patterns.

Keep Informed

  • Know who your youth’s friends are and have their phone numbers. Keep in touch with their friend’s parents.
  • Have regular contact with the school regarding attendance and any changes in behaviour.
  • Prevention is the ideal, but at no time is it “too late” to try and reach your youth. At any point there are actions you can take to intervene on your youth’s behalf.

If you suspect things have changed and your youth may be at risk:

  • Trust your instincts.
  • Talk to your youth on a one to one basis when they are most likely to be open to hearing what you have to say.
  • Explain why you are concerned in a clear and matter of fact way without becoming emotional.
  • Frame your concerns as questions.
    i.e.: Why do you think an adult is hanging around with someone so much younger?
    Do you think its okay for an adult to give alcohol and drugs to a youth? etc.
  • Keep a record or a diary of your youth’s activities, friends, names, nicknames, descriptions, phone numbers (Call display or *69 is helpful), places they hang out, car type, colour, license number etc. You may want to pass this information on to the police.

If you think your youth is being recruited or is involved in the Sex Trade:

  • Youth are targeted by both pimps and recruiters. Pimp and recruiters can be either male or female and look like everyone else. The media image of a flashy car, outrageous clothing and jewellery is not the norm today.
  • Pimps use a step by step process to exert control over a youth. This grooming for sexual exploitation involves gradually luring the youth away from his or her support network until they are completely separated from friends, family and home. As a result of this manipulation the youth adopts the values of the Trade and the pimp takes control of their life.
  • A pimp will do everything to try to replace the family, so be loving and non-judgemental in your communication. Create a safe atmosphere for your child to come to, no matter how bad it gets.
  • Remember Youth in the Sex Trade are not there by choice. They have been drawn into the life, either from home or as runaways.
  • Get Help when you need it.
  • Attend a Parent’s Support group.
  • Ask your family doctor or a social worker about family counselling.
  • Explore Detox and alcohol and drug counselling options if necessary.
  • Contacts support services for sexually exploited youth.
  • If you think your youth is in danger call the police.
  • Understanding some basic legal information will help you as a parent. Work with police and service agencies to intervene and protect your youth.
  • You have the right to accurate information and assistance.
  • Ask questions.
  • Keep notes of meetings and phone calls. Keep records including dates, names, and phone numbers of police, service providers and others working with you and your youth.

Never give up on your child. Remember – supporting your child doesn’t mean supporting the lifestyle.