Child Interview

Each student will select a child or adolescent to interview (not your own child or a family member). The interview should last approximately 30 minutes for young children and approximately an hour for adolescents. Consider the child/adolescent’s developmental level and life experiences from a multicultural perspective to frame interactions.

Suggestions for interviewing children under 9 years old:

Begin with explaining a bit about the assignment at an appropriate developmental level to obtain assent from the child. In the beginning, focus on building rapport with the child by asking about or commenting on how the child is doing or how he/she appears (i.e. – happy, sad, nervous, wearing red shoes, etc.). Questions to consider during the interview could be related to family, school, or the child interests (e.g. – what he/she likes to play; who he/she likes to play with; where he/she likes to play, etc.). You will also want to consider offering an activity to engage with the child (e.g. – playdoh, art activity, game, etc.).

Suggestions for interviewing children over 9 years old:

You should begin by explaining the interview process, sharing a bit about yourself, and obtaining assent, and then move into questioning. Some suggested questions include:

  1. What is a typical day in your life (at school, at home, with family & friends)?
  2. What is it like to be your age?
  3. What do you think most adults do not know about people your age?
  4. What do you hope your life will be like in 10 years?
  5. What kind of career do you want to have?
  6. Where would you like to go in life?
  7. What are your hopes for the future?

NOTE: The purpose of the interview is to gain experience speaking to and working with a child or adolescent. Keep in mind that this is an interview, not a counseling session. Do not intentionally elicit information that you are not yet trained or properly supervised to address (i.e., asking about drug use or other risky behaviors).


Written Requirements:

Write about your interview in a reflective paper. The paper should be least 7 pages in length (not including the cover page and references) and must follow APA guidelines. At least 4 academic sources must be used to support your discussion. Academic sources include journal articles and text books, not websites or Wikipedia.

Your paper should include the following sections:

  • Section I – Summary:
    A thorough summary of the interview (not a verbatim transcript), which includes questions you asked and any activities you engaged in together.
  • Section II – Reflection:
    Your reflection and reaction to the interview in relation to the child or adolescent’s developmental level. Include the following in your reflection:
  • What did you learn about interviewing a child/adolescent?
  • What was more difficult than you expected?
  • What was easier than you expected?
  • What was it like being in that role?
  • How did you build rapport? How did you know rapport was being built?
  • What cultural differences or shared experiences did you observe? How did that impact your interaction, if at all?
  • What was salient for the child or adolescent from a developmental perspective? Reference at least one academic source to support your observations and discussion related to development.
  • Section III – Theory, interventions, and/or recommendations:
    A discussion that incorporates counseling theory, interventions, and/or recommendations which would be developmentally and culturally appropriate for the age of the child/adolescent you interviewed. Consider any exceptional abilities of the child/adolescent. Reference at least two academic sources for your discussion of theory, interventions, and/or recommendations.



Smith-Adcock, S., & Tucker, C. (2017). Counseling Children and Adolescents. SAGE Publications. Chapters 10, 11, 12, 13, & 14.

Answer preview

From the interview, I have learned that children are not sophisticated during interviews. The child interviewed was willing to talk, and I had little trouble in making her talk. The interview went on smoothly, which could be because her elder siblings are my friends, or it could be that she is a talkative person. The question that seemed difficult for Mary is what adults do not understand about children her age. When I asked her this question, she first looked away before answering it. She took her time to answer the question, and when I was about to ask the next question, she answered it while hesitating. The question that was easier than I had anticipated was on her future career. Mary seemed to understand what is required to be an engineer, and that was good. She seems to have had her whole life mapped out in a specific order, and she did not struggle to answer the question. From the interview, it seems that her parents and elder brother have had an impact on her career aspirations since she said that she hopes to be in the university in ten years, just like her brother and that her father influenced her career choice by encouraging her to work hard on sciences and mathematics. The family members have undoubtedly influenced her career choice and aspirations.

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Child Interview