How to Reach-out
Written By: Neil S. Siskind, Esq.


We all know trouble when we see it. My mother always knew who the troubled or trouble-making kids in the neighborhood were. You will hear it from your kids, your spouse, and from other parents. If you pay attention, you will see it for yourself as you participate in your neighborhood events or in your children’s social events.

If a tragedy has occurred in a youth’s life, such as a child losing a father through death or imprisonment, or his or her father falling ill, you will undoubtedly hear people discussing it. If this is a child who is exhibiting troubling behaviors of which you learn, it may be time to reach-out.

There are ways to reach out to a youth who is clearly acting-out. The first steps may include talking to other parents in your social circle to develop a consensus that there is a problem to be solved and a potential strategy for stepping-in to fill a father-void.

If other parents are not showing interest or a commitment to help, consider contacting the youth’s mother about your desire to include the youth in one of your next family events. You could include the youth’s mother in the invitation.

If the youth’s mother replies negatively or is not responsive to your overture, consider contacting an administrator in the youth’s school about what you are perceiving and your ideas of how to help. Ideas can include helping the school present some ideas that may interest the youth based on any skills or aptitudes the youth has manifested, such as in sports, the arts, cars, computers, or even in a particular class in school. You can use such ideas on your own or you might partner with the school to reach-out to the youth in some organized way.

You may consider having your own child approach the youth directly and invite him or her to a social engagement such as a ball game or a music concert.

If you take an interest and have a plan, when you see a youth struggling following a loss of a father in his or her life, you can take a variety of actions to help. It’s easy to give someone a little hope- and show a little concern- which could make a big difference.