What’s the first thing you say to your group the first night you meet? Is it, “What’s said in small group stays in small group.”? Or do you add the little disclaimer, that lets them know if something is life threatening or could endanger another person then you will need to tell the appropriate party? Should parent’s know what their child discusses in groups or only if it’s life threatening. Or maybe you are all about having the group work it out, because after all isn’t that the purpose to accountability?
It’s tough because we want our teens to trust us, but then again we don’t want to risk their safety. So what’s the proper thing to do?
All Out Confidentiality – By informing your group, “What’s said in group stays in group.” you are ensuring them that anything can be shared and there are no consequences. This allows the freedom to open up about scars, pain and hurts that couldn’t be shared before because the environment wasn’t Christ-centered.
If a problem does arise that’s larger than what the group can handle, together you can encourage the teen to seek guidance from parents or the authorities. What you are doing is empowering the teen to take responsibility, embrace the conflict and seek out justice on their own. The decision to heal or fix a problem is made by free will.
Allowing Disclosure – By informing your group, “What is said in small group will get shared” relieves the pressure that the group will not have to hold anyone’s burden alone. The group has established boundaries and you can walk in each week knowing no one is going to “drop a bomb” on the conversation.
If an individual decides to share a deep secret you can assume it’s a cry for help. Knowing that certain things will be shared with outside resources means accountability for the person disclosing the information. Although the matter might go public, the teen is assured the best help possible.
So how do you approach small group confidentiality? Please Share