East Tennessee school counselors encourage listening to kids

Anne Brock # State

KINGSTON, Tenn. (WVLT) - Children needing help coping with their emotions or teens looking for guidance after high school can all count on school counselors. Counselors say they see children coming from a wide variety of backgrounds and home situations, not always stable.

Counselor Jana Russell at Midway High School in Roane County said,

"Unfortunately, I have students that grew up in bouncing back and forth on households, some in foster care. Working with those students to try to catch them up academically. Help them socially."

In Cherokee Middle School, Counselor Janet Carraway said she works with kids outgrowing their childhoods and becoming more mature. This comes with its own challenges.

"Their friendships change. They face hardships at home sometimes. And sometimes they struggle with how to handle day-to-day activities."

Social media presents a new challenge that counselors didn't see in past decades. From high school down to elementary school, all of the counselors see children needing guidance on how to avoid social media dangers.

"People will say, well cyber bullying is out there. They'll make accounts and pretend that they're another student,"
said Russell.
"So it's a struggle. You work with the students. You try to help them as much as you can."

Jacqueline Trosien said she hopes parents or other caregivers at home are attentive about what children are doing on social media and being mindful in general about them.

Trosien is the staff counselor at Ridge View Elementary School. She says listening matters.

"I think the most important thing is to always know that these kids may be young, but what they have to say is worth hearing. Their feelings are valid. And to always give them the opportunity to express how they feel, and not brush it off and take is seriously. Cause they're little humans too."