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Legislation worth exploring

The New Hampshire House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee heard testimony on Tuesday on a bill that would allow children as young as 12 to get counseling without their parent’s knowledge.

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Nicole Klein-Knight, D-Manchester. She says the proposal is aimed at young people who may not feel safe sharing their struggles with their parents or who have parents who do not offer their assistance.

“This bill is not for good parents. This bill is not for active parents. This bill is for the thousands of children that have addicts for parents or who have abusive parents or have a family they can not go to,” Klein-Knight said.

Proponents of the bill noted several objections, including worries about the Granite State’s mental health system being able to keep up and provide such care, the payment for treatments and the involvement of parents who are active in their children’s lives.

While these concerns are valid, the real concern should be for the well-being of the children who are seeking treatment.

Let’s face it, all families have different dynamics. Some are extremely tight-knit, others are engaged but disconnected in some areas and some are absentee or cope with substance abuse or other mental health issues.

Whatever can be done to facilitate potentially needed counseling should be done. In today’s complex world, children may not feel comfortable bringing certain issues to their parents. It’s just a fact of life. It’s not being deceitful. It’s not lying. It’s not even trying to circumvent the family dynamic.

Whether true or not, some kid feel they cannot relate to their parents on certain issues and problems. This is why the Legislature should take a long, hard look at this legislation, tweak it if necessary, and implement it, as it could make a huge difference in the lives of New Hampshire’s youth.