‘Tears and tantrums’ fear for fans

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Published: Wednesday 25th March 2015 by The News Editor

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For many young One Direction fans the news of Zayn Malik’s departure will be heartbreaking.

Young people’s attachments to their idols are often so strong that they feel something close to friendship with them, or even that they are family, and such a break-up can leave them devastated and deeply affected.

Counselling and advisory groups say that during such times of grief young people need support rather than judgment over their anguish.

Sue Minto, head of ChildLine, said it would be unhelpful for adults and other youngsters to “pooh pooh” the feelings of those struggling to cope with Malik leaving the band.

She said: “There are young people who are going to feel seriously distressed at the news, and people are going to have to get their head around the fact that for some this will be very distressing and not to undermine it, even if they don’t quite understand it.”

Ms Minto said there will be a “whole range of reasons” why the news will have an impact on young people – and not just on young girls who may have “fallen in love with him”.

She said: “It will be other young people for whom One Direction might be a positive thing in their life, something that maybe supports them and helps them out with other pressures such as bullying, exams or low self-esteem.

“Lots of people have pop stars or celebrities or actors who they hold in high esteem, and there is a lot of sadness and impact for people when something happens to any of them.

“So for a young person who maybe spends time in their room listening to One Direction and forgetting about their worries, to lose that could have a devastating effect.”

Parents, teachers and even friends should help other young people to share their emotions and to look at what might make the feel better.

Ms Minto said: “Respond to the way they are feeling and be supportive to them, rather than making some sort of judgment call about whether you think they should be that upset or not.”

ChildLine is available to support anyone who wants to talk about the issue, both by phone and online, where there are message boards and forums for young people to discuss their feelings with other youngsters.

Ms Minto said: “If there are young people who are seriously distressed and don’t feel like they have anyone to talk to, we don’t judge on their feelings. We are here to respond to how they feel now, irrespective of why that is.

“We don’t young people to feel distressed and alone and the potential for it it affect their ability to concentrate on school work, or worse, cause anyone to turn to self harm.”

Parenting website Netmums also offered advice on how to help distressed youngsters.

Editor Rachel Burrows said: ” Zayn quitting will have a huge effect on young fans. Younger kids could feel it almost like a bereavement and react with tears, tantrums and even feeling hopeless.

“While parents may see this as an overreaction, it’s important to remember children feel the band ‘belong’ to them, so losing a band member is something they take personally.

“If your child is upset, focus them on the fact the band is continuing as a four-piece and don’t underestimate the power of their feelings.”

Emotional well-being charity YoungMinds also urged parents to try and remember their own teenage years and the angst they may have gone through themselves.

Director of campaigns Lucie Russell said: ” Children should be supported and reassured that while this might feel like terrible news the important thing is that Zayn looks after himself and wouldn’t want any young person to feel distressed by this.

“Young people who feel affected by this news should reach out to other young people and to trusted adults and talk to them about how they feel. It’s a loss, so like any loss it is about taking care of yourself and being with people who care for you and can support you.”

To contact ChildLine, call 0800 11 11 or visit www.childline.org.uk.

Published: Wednesday 25th March 2015 by The News Editor

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