Supporting Teenagers

Having a loved one kidnapped is scary. You might worry about how they are being treated, or the conditions they are being held in. You might feel helpless that there is not anything you can do to bring them back. And you might be frustrated that adults are not telling you everything that is happening. You can get through this and there is support out there for you.

It’s not your fault

Don’t lose sight of the fact that this is not your fault. Maybe you had an argument with your loved one before they were taken, maybe you parted on bad terms. Rest assured that they will be thinking of you. Their first thoughts will be for you. They will not want you to worry about this.

School, college and friends

Your family and those handling the kidnapping might ask you to keep the kidnapping secret even from your closest friends. They will do this because they think it is in the best interests of the safety of the hostage. This can be really hard, as you might wish you could confide in your best friend or a teacher. If you are concerned about the pressures this might cause, talk to your family about it, try to work out if there is a solution.

Social media

You might also be asked to increase the privacy settings on your social media accounts. In some cases, you might need to close your accounts completely. This might be really hard for you, especially if this is one of the main ways you keep in touch with your friends. Talk to your family about this, see if there is a compromise that will allow you to maintain contact with your friends, but that will work around the need to keep your loved one safe. See social media.

What you can do to help

The most important thing you can do is take care of yourself. Try to do what you can to sleep well and help the rest of your family to eat healthily. Look out for your parent or siblings – check in with them, ask them how they are doing, ask if you can do anything to support them, and think about showing them little acts of kindness. You might also keep a diary of what is happening and how you are feeling. Consider keeping a scrap book of family life that you can share with your loved one when they are released. This will be a really big help for them in catching up on family events while they were gone. See Looking after yourself and your family.