How Childline’s Active Listening approach helps build resilience in young people


When things get tough, just having another person who will listen and really be there for us can be enough to make us feel less alone in the world.

Sometimes, children and young people may not yet feel ready to share their innermost thoughts with those closest to them.

If a child or young person has something on their mind, Childline is there to listen in confidence.

A child or young person up to and including age 18 can turn to Childline to talk about any issue on their mind and the service will listen to them actively and will support them.

Childline can be reached online at, or by calling 1800 66 66 66.

The service is confidential, non-judgemental and non-directive, meaning it doesn’t tell children and young people how to solve their problems.

So, what does the service do then? The Childline 24-Hour Listening Service is a safe space for any child or young person to speak about whatever might be on their mind – good or bad

What is Active Listening?

A lot of the time, people listen to respond, rather than to understand.

Active listening happens when we feel accepted, understood, important, valued and validated. It can give young people a voice to help them find themselves again and remind them that they are not invisible or alone.

Having someone listen to us attentively allows us to think out loud about a challenge we may be facing and, perhaps, help us to think more clearly and decisively about it.

Talking things through can empower us and inspire us to think of new ways to bring about positive change in our life.

Just knowing that someone is listening and that someone cares can make a difference which lasts a lifetime.

Building resilience

Childline doesn’t judge a child or young person or tell them what to do but listens to them and helps to strengthen their resilience so they can find the best next step for them.

By actively listening to children and young people, Childline lets them know they matter. The service lets them know that they will be respected, they will be believed and that they can have hope.

Using the Edith Grotberg model of resilience – I Am, I Can, I Have – Childline shows young people a way to look at the positives in their lives. Instead of focusing on what they don’t have, it helps them focus on the positive things they do have like their own personal characteristics, their unique talents and skills, and their family/friends/community.

Childline explores with children and young people what they want to talk about and asks them why it is they feel that way. Once we’ve done that, we can help to chart them towards what would help them feel differently about their situation – and what solutions may be available to them to move towards a better place.

Some children may feel that their issue is not important enough to seek support. But we believe everything in life is worth talking about. Having a conversation at any early stage can help stem an issue from mushrooming for a child or young person.  

Childline can be an important first step in a child or young person’s journey and a positive ally and resource for their parents and carers. 


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