Finding good quality resources to use with young people can be an absolute nightmare and has been a major bug-bear of mine for years. Much time has been spent researching the following items and they have been tried and tested extensively!
I am a big fan of using a wide variety of media- TV programmes, films, games, art etc. I do not believe in death by worksheet. They have their place but are usually overdone leading to a very bored teen, and a very bored worker! In everything I suggest you mix it up, try different things and see what works for the individual.
What you put in to your work, you will get out. Some of the items will require some preparation time, but putting the time in now will save you loads of time later and will give you an enormous sense of satisfaction when you see that…
Good resources = Good sessions = Change
I have many more sections still to add and I have also developed my own programmes of work, the first of which addresses Peer Pressure. Keep in touch with updates on all new resources added to this page by signing up for our newsletter (bottom left of this page).
To keep right up-to-date with the latest relevant news items, articles, research and practice tips of note I would highly recommend you follow me on Twitter or on Facebook. New items I come across go straight onto my Twitter feed and also onto Facebook. To follow me on Twitter click on ‘@Teen_Whisperer’ on the feed below, and to follow me on Facebook ‘Like’ the page on the feed below. If you have any recommendations to share, please let me know.
Current resource sections (click to jump to that section on the page):
Emotions & Relationships
Motivate & Inspire Yourself
In this series teenagers aged between 14 and 19 decide that having a short fuse is no longer acceptable to them. They want to be free to have fun and get on with their lives.
Working with psychologist Dr. Rachel Andrew, by the end of each programme they have identified and worked towards acheiving their goal by confronting those situations that press their buttons. 8 different episodes.
No longer available to watch the entirety of each episode as was aired on TV, but if you go to the Channel 4 Learning website you can watch clips by clicking on each episode in left hand menu(named after the young person it is about), and clicking on ‘Activities’. You will need to have Windows Media Player 11 installed but it will prompt you with what to do. There are also worksheets to print off that relate to what has happened in the clips.
Excellent for all those with anger management issues, but particularly good for those who don’t think they have a problem and generally refuse to discuss it. Talking about another person’s problems and how they resolve them enables you to discuss the issue in non-threatening way, and helps you to move on to discuss their issues.
UPDATE: Channel 4 have recently removed their learning website and are replacing it with a new system. As soon as I have any info on how to access this material I will let you know. So frustrating!
Strategies for Anger Management Book: Reproducible Worksheets for Teens and Adults
I have seen a multitude of anger management worksheet programmes, and this really is the absolute Daddy of them all. With around 85 different photocopiable worksheets, there will be one that fits the bill for what you are trying to achieve. A really intelligent resource that appreciates that not everyone’s anger is the same and that different people will respond to different approaches. You tailor the programme to the individual and select which sheets to use. Can be used in conjunction with other resources, for example as preparatory or extension work to the “Don’t Get Me Angry” programmes or alongside ‘Draw on Your Emotions’. If you want to jump for joy like I did when I found this, get your hands on a copy!
Anger Management: A Practical Guide [Worksheets]
Not the most visually interesting or exciting worksheets I’ve ever seen, but the content is sound. If you need some free worksheets and quick then this is probably worth a look.
Emotional Coaching: A Practical Programme to Support Young People
[Book, Worksheets, Games]
A resource largely aimed at the younger end of the spectrum (up to about 14 years), or for those with learning difficulties. Comes as a resource pack: a book with a CD ROM of worksheets and games. The resource pack covers anger in addition to anxiety, teasing, friendship, happiness, and self-confidence. Each chapter successfully combines research on the topic and guidance on the rationale of each intervention and on how to deliver the sessions. Offers very practical solutions to problems and the opportunity to practice what has been learned through worksheets and a game. Can be used in group or individual sessions. Games particularly appropriate for group work.
Emotions & Relationships
Draw on Your Emotions [Photocopiable Worksheets]
A completely invaluable resource in my opinion, and one I could not do without. It is a unique manual which aims to help children and adults to express, communicate and deal more effectively with their emotions through drawing. It really does work!
All exercises are photocopiable so it is a source of effective ready made material. It gets the talking process going really easily and enables them to safely explore their feelings in a less invasive manner than just straight talking. Offers opportunities to rehearse other ways of functioning by trying out alternatives safely on paper in exercises that can be adapted for any age range and ability.
Sections included: Your Life, Who Are You?, Your Feelings, Things that can me life difficult, The Good Things in Life, Feelings About Places, Feelings about other people. Appropriate for use in discussing all the major emotional issues that you are likely to come across: anger, peer pressure, abuse (both as victim and as perpetrator), depression etc. Every worker should have access to this book.
Draw on Your Relationships [Photocopiable Worksheets]
The most recent offering of Margot Sunderland. Amazon’s description sums this book up nicely: “this book is designed for professionals to help people explore, communicate and learn more about themselves in light of their relationships. Many children, teenagers and adults never sit down to reflect on their relationships. As a result, they can endlessly repeat destructive relationship patterns, pick people who are bad for them, stay in deadening relationships, or destroy the lovely relationships they do have. Consequently, this book is designed to empower people to improve their quality of life by improving their relationship life.
The photocopiable exercises are specifically designed to ease the whole process of talking about relationships. They support the process of communicating and exploring feelings in ways the person may not have done previously. With the help of the pictures as vital openers or triggers, people are often able to describe their perceptions and emotions far more exactly than with words alone. The book provides step-by-step guidance on how to use the exercises with clients, and how to develop a theme when the drawings open up a rich channel of communication.
Useful for a multitude of different client groups, and for children from the age of six upwards. Special sections for children and young people acknowledge their different situations and the book is an excellent resource for the PSHE curriculum. Whilst many of the exercises are appropriate for one person to do on their own, others are designed for two or more people to do together for when a practitioner is working with a couple, a parent and child, or with a family”.
Emotional Coaching: A Practical Programme to Support Young People
[Book, Worksheets, Games]
A resource largely aimed at the younger end of the spectrum (up to about 14 years), or for those with learning difficulties. Comes as a resource pack: a book with a CD ROM of worksheets and games. The resource pack covers anger, anxiety, teasing, friendship, happiness, and self-confidence.
It is particularly good for working with the emotionally vulnerable, as most of the issues covered are to do with coping with what others ‘throw’ at them rather than what they ‘throw’ at others. I have found it a great resource for working with girls lacking in confidence and with low self-esteem as it helps them to develop coping strategies and to avoid the pitfalls of peer pressure.
Each chapter successfully combines research on the topic and guidance on the rationale of each intervention and on how to deliver the sessions. Offers very practical solutions to problems and the opportunity to practice what has been learned through worksheets and a game. Can be used in group or individual sessions. Games particularly appropriate for group work.
Motivate & Inspire Yourself
We all go through periods where we need to be remotivated and re-energised, usually when nothing seems to be going to plan. For me, remotivating largely involves a reminding of the fact that what we can make a huge difference in the lives of young people, even when we are in the 2 steps back, rather than 1 step forward mode.
Precious [DVD] 
A profoundly moving film about a physically and emotionally abused teenager that shows the amazing resilience of many who come from the darkest of places and how with the right support and love they can begin to come out the other side. Education is a strong theme.
The Blind Side [DVD]
Demonstrates how bloody-minded determination and a heartfelt desire to help someone in need can not only enrich the life of the person in need, but enrich the lives of those who are helping them. Although starting from a sad point, it sure as heck ends on a high note and inspires you to keep on helping those in your sphere of influence. Again, education is a strong theme.
I cannot rate this method enough when it comes to trying to encourage change in a young person’s life. For a general intro on the method see my post Motivational Interviewing: the change you can’t make.
Motivational Interviewing with Adolescents and Young Adults (Applications of Motivational Interviewing)
Extremely accessible and engaging and shows wide range of applications for the method. Amazon.com has ‘Look Inside’ so you can take a look without purchase.
Motivating Offenders to Change: A Guide for Probation & Parole [free pdf]
An excellently written book that is extremely accessible and provides a huge number of practical scripted scenarios and exercises. Cannot recommend highly enough, even if you are not in the criminal justice field AND it’s free to download!(pdf)
Under Pressure: Helping You Take Back Control [FREE Worksheets, Movie Clips]
Available now to download for free is a programme of peer pressure worksheets and activities designed by Sam Ross, Teenage Whisperer founder, to help teenagers explore the issues surrounding peer pressure and to ensure that they are in control of their relationships. It can be used in one-to-one or group sessions and can be used to address all sorts of peer pressure issues, such as alcohol / drinking, drugs, smoking and offending. It can also be used preventatively, prior to peer pressure becoming a major issue, as it also explores peer pressure more generally and how to resist it. Includes 14 page young person workbook and 18 page facilitator copy with notes. For more details click on link above.
Thirteen [film / movie]
The ‘Under Pressure’ resource listed above has a section that uses clips from this film. If you do intend to use the clips, please buy from Amazon through these links as it earns me a little commission.
Review from Amazon: A gut-wrenching portrait of adolescence, Thirteen is made all the more powerful because it was co-written by a genuine teenage girl, Nikki Reed, who also co-stars in the movie. Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood), a serious good student, finds herself needing to express her anger and resentment at her fractured family life. To rebel, she pursues a friendship with the reckless, alluring Evie (Reed), who seems to have all the cocksure freedom that Tracy desires. What follows is both harrowing and compelling: Tracy becomes enmeshed in a relationship with Evie that empowers Tracy and drags her deeper into the misery she wants to escape–and terrifies her mother (Holly Hunter), who struggles desperately to hold on to her daughter’s love. Thirteen makes every step on this path utterly convincing, due to the vivid script, energized direction, and astonishingly alive performances from Hunter, Reed, and especially Wood. Jolting, sad, and mesmerizing.
‘How To Defend Yourself Against Peer Pressure’ Tips
An excellent collection of links with a multitude of tips to help teens and tweens navigate the minefield of social relationships, fitting in and not succumbing to peer pressure. This resource was recommended by Kristen Roberts who discovered it while doing her own sixth grade research on peer pressure. You see, EVERYONE can contribute to this resources page. Thank you Kristen!
Unfortunately, as with a lot of issues, there are lots of descriptive studies about this problem and few actual interventions. As with all the other topics, if you know of a good resource, please tell me so we can spread the word.
This study involves an exhaustive review of the literature on child exposure to domestic violence (almost 400 sources) integrated with extensive clinical experience to create a revolutionary new framework for understanding, studying and intervening with children who have lived with woman abuse. Case studies illustrate key points and child drawings bring to life the experience of violence through young eyes. Makes important distinctions regarding levels of violence and how violence is experienced by different age groups and the impact it has on their lives and future relationships. Recommends appropriate types of interventions (e.g. individual vs group) by age group. Free to download.
Bursting the Bubble [Website]
An Australian website to help teenagers to define their experience at home as abuse. Includes quizzes, activities to help explore how they feel and provides a template for formulating a personalised safety action plan. Well worth a look.
A handbook for the Juvenile Justice System to enhance assessment and intervention strategies for youth from violent homes. Covers adolescents both as victims and as perpetrators of intimate partner and family violence. Addresses risk management and safety planning. Highlights promising practices and outlines a model for group intervention for abusive male adolescents. A relatively short and very readable handbook. Model for group intervention extremely informative, particularly if you are planning an intervention programme. Free download.
I would also recommend both of the Draw on… books by Margot Sunderland for addressing this issue, either from victim or perpetrator standpoints.