Handling Distraught Phone Calls

The way you handle a distraught phone call can make the difference between empowering and enabling your student. Here are some guidelines to help you through these difficult calls:

  • An overwhelmed, distraught student can’t be magically calmed down. It takes active listening on the parents/guardians’ part to discover the real issue.
  • Overreacting to the call won’t help. Remain calm and reassure them that things will be okay. Direct them to the appropriate people on campus.
  • They are calling you because they trust you and knows how to express themselves with you. Although they may not want her peers to know they are upset, encourage them to talk with them. They may be feeling the same way.
  • Remember that you are hearing only your student’s side of things in an emotional moment. Do the best you can to diffuse the situation and follow up later for more details.
  • Don’t let your student develop a habit of having only emotionally charged phone calls with you.
  • Know when they may need support or counseling. They may need extra help with academics or may want to talk with a counselor about their homesickness or coping skills. Let them know it’s okay to ask for help.