It's so simple, yet so powerful. It's the one conversational tool I use every single day, with every single client I work with and I use it at home with my kids too. It'll take you from misunderstandings and frustration to real dialogue quicker than anything else. Find out now! …
Looking at the difference that can be made to teens' mood and behaviour if they take a quality multivitamin, including a personal recommendation as to what I believe is the best teen multivitamin. This is particularly important for troubled teens or youth at risk who may have emotional problems such as depression or anxiety and those with behavioural issues like anger, aggression, problems concentrating, hyperactivity and impulsivity. This video explains why and shares the research to back it up.
On the importance of not getting all caught up in our expertise, superior knowledge or experience and forgetting to do the most important thing of all with our troubled teens- listening.
On why it is so important to let our troubled teens know that they are capable of change, by substituting their sense of personal lack or deficiency to one of being enough.
Teens can blow up in our faces because they think we are being unfair. Part 2 of this mini-series looks at: 1. What can we do to get them to express themselves better, to stop treating us like a verbal and/or physical punchbags; 2. How we can get them to respond more appropriately to their perceived sense of injustice. With practical examples and scripts.
Why are some teens so darn rude? Why can they not just do as they are told without arguing? Without being disrespectful? It may have to do with a hidden paradox that has within it the clues to help us get them to lose the rude. Find out more! …
You think you know. You think you know what’s going on in my head, in my life, in my everything. Why I blow up in anger, or why I’m withdrawn, why I use coke, why I skip school, why I’m silent when you essentially ask me WTF? God you probably think you know why I put jam on my toast. You think you know. Well you don’t. Whether you have studied for five years, whether you have worked with troubled kids for ten, whether you have lived with me for fifteen, I have to tell you that you do not know. Why? Because when you over-rely on what you know, you do not rely on what I know. What I know of my existence, what I have experienced, the thoughts and emotions that whirl around inside me. You might see outward manifestations of all of that, you might see my dysfunction, but you do not know my inner world. The biggest tell-tale for me that you do not know is when you do not ask. It is when you tell me what I feel. It is when you tell me why I am doing what I’m doing and punish me…
A poem on the importance of allowing our young people to feel competent. If we rob our young people of this, we set them up to doubt themselves, to question their ability to learn new things and to doubt whether they have any value. Competency is a cornerstone of good self-esteem and good mental health. Read this and learn how to give the gift of competency!
I have no concept of home. Home is a place where you go to rest, to relax, where you can just ‘be’, restock, restore, ready to face the next task or the next day. I have no such place. So how do you fix this for me?
A poem on why teens don't listen to us, often because we are not listening to them, and how we can do better! "...I get shut down, Before I’m even open, You’re not listening to me, My words might as well be unspoken."
They're my friends. They're my friends 'cos they get me. And yet you think I shouldn't hang around with them. They're a bad influence. But you will never get me to stop being their friends until you understand why they are my friends in the first place and I understand this too. We need to work this out together before anything else. The role of familiarity magnetism, of low self-esteem, of a need for high emotional volume. You need to get this, before anything else.
What happens when we stop thinking we are an expert when we meet with our teens? What happens when we stop thinking we know it all? What happens when we open our hearts, minds and start really listening?
On why it's not enough to focus on the 'don't's and why we need to focus on the 'instead's and the 'do's.
So this is a confession about my very real struggle to not cry at any Christmas event with children performing or singing. It's ridiculous. It's about understanding my behaviour and realising it's all about children's potential and how we need to still see it in our troubled teens.
On why traumatised kids can be primed for drama or high octane thrills and just can't cope with calm and how you can help them rediscover calm as a place of restoration rather than a place of fear.
Hey, it’s me again, back talking about my ability to blow-up at the slightest little thing and why that may be the case- that maybe due to some trauma or event in my life I may constantly be on high alert, primed for danger and threat which causes me to over-react to situations that in reality are non-threatening. I’m hyperaroused basically, with my baseline danger setting set way too high. We looked at what you can do to help bring me back from one of these blowouts, but now I want to help you understand how you can lower my baseline arousal level so that these blowouts become less frequent, and hopefully disappear altogether. The best approach will always depend on the extent of my hyperarousal. If I have been severely traumatised by an event and my behaviour is extremely erratic, I will need to receive some formal therapy from a specialist. Problem is that this therapy is dependent on me being willing to face the trauma head-on and agreeing to go. So what can you do to help me lower my baseline stress levels without me going for therapy? Well here goes... …
I’m buzzin’, I’m buzzin’. Looking from left to right, right to left, over my shoulder, off in the distance, at the person next to me, the person over there, the girl on her phone, that lady on the till, that guy holding the door. The looks on their faces, the way they move their hands, even the way they blow their noses. You see, I’m on high alert, yes, high alert, ready for anything, just anything. I’m in school, the noise, the humdrum, the pushing the jostling- woah! What the hell look are you giving me? You bump into me and give me that look… I’m gone. I can’t do this piggin’ English. I can’t do it, I can’t do it. Oh f***, oh hell. Pencil tapping, pencil tapping, kick the table leg, kick the table leg. “Be quiet Dwayne”. Be quiet Dwayne. What the f***. What the f***… I’m gone. Back home to foster carers. Slam the door. “How was school?” How was school? That tower of crap. Oh such a crappy place, a crappy day. Footsteps. “Did you hear me? How was school? ” Wall found, fist gone through…. I’m gone. Where have I gone? Gone to a place where body rules mind. Where amygdala eats frontal lobe. Where instinct eats reason. Where physicality beats mind. You can try and talk to me, but there is no listening. You are wasting your time. My ability to process verbal language, apply logic, analysis, to think of another’s perspective, to empathise, to think of where this behaviour might land me is nil, nada, nothing. I am busy surviving, consumed with this task to the exclusion of all else. …
How to create memorable endings with your teens that increase their chances of future success.
Whoever said a change is as good as a holiday is a prat. Well maybe not a prat, but someone who lives a totally different life than me. Maybe if your life is steady, your routines are predictable, and the unexpected is completely unexpected, then change is good. But change is all too familiar to me. It’s the bully that lurks in the bushes and jumps me, anytime, anywhere. And so I constantly live in fear. In fear of a new foster carer, a new group home, a new school or being banged up. In fear of a change of circumstance or mood that ends in black eyes and broken hearts. In fear of a new power structure on the estate where I don’t know where I fit and getting it wrong could end up with me paying the ultimate price. If I have learned one thing it is this- change hurts. It unsettles me to my core and it can be dangerous.
Trigger Warning ! The content of what follows may be a trigger for those who have experienced sexual abuse or grooming. I just wanted to be noticed and he saw me. I wanted to feel like someone actually cared, and he made me feel special. I wanted to feel worthy of gifts for once, and he showered me. I wanted to show everyone else that I was somebody. And before I knew it I was somebody, somebody to be abused. At first I was the one, the only one. I seemed like the centre of his world. He’d pick me up, he told me I was beautiful, he showed interest, what I thought was care. And instead of going around dragging my life baggage, of being ignored, of abuse, of care homes, of being picked up and dropped time and time again, by relatives, by professionals, I started to float on air. The baggage weighed nothing because I was somebody. Instead of assuming the colour of my environment, I stood out. And because I was seen, somebody lifted my bags, somebody helped me on my way. Little did I know that while my back was turned the plans for further…
"When I blow outwards, when I lash out, when I destroy, I test the limits of sympathy, of compassion. But what if you could actually see the pain that drives my actions?"
It’s all your fault. All your f’in fault. You can’t just leave me alone, leave me to do my thing can you? You have to meddle, stick your nose in where it’s not wanted. And I hate you for it. I absolutely bloody hate you for it. Everyone’s at it. You’re at it, teachers are at it, social workers, doctors, nurses, therapists, care home workers, you’re all in it together making my life a flippin’ living hell. If you’d just leave me, my family, my mates alone I’d be just fine. Thinking you know better about me and my life than I do, f’in cheek. I hate you, you hate me. Well this is going to work well isn’t it?
Another bare room. Another caseworker. Another foster carer. Another care home. Another secure unit. Another hostel. Just another, another, another. Cos I am just A.N. Other. Nothing special, nothing worth caring about, nothing worth taking much notice of, except when you want to get me to do something, or stop doing something. Either way it’s about what you want and not much to do with me. I don’t really figure in the equation. I’m just A.N. Other. Apparently suited to being shoved around from pillar to post. So as I live my name and move on to another something, I add my own ‘another’. Another hurt to add to my chest of disappointment, of heartbreak. Of feeling that I only get what I deserve. Of feeling like a nobody and that nobody cares. And as my chest gets fuller, my heart, my hope gets emptier and emptier.
Go away. Just leave me alone. No, I don’t want to be here. You’re going to make me think about myself, interrogate myself, question my decisions, my ‘consequential thinking’ or lack of it. My actions are going to be scrutinised and you’re going to tell me how I could have done it better. Just go away, go away… ‘Why the opposition?’, you ask, ‘What’s the problem? I’m just trying to help you make better decisions for yourself. You’ll find it makes life easier for you, less complicated, less chaotic.’ No, I’m having none of it. You’re just having a go, picking at me, making me feel more crap than I do already. No thanks, no f’in thanks. You see, when you ask me to think about what I do and about my decisions, my actions, that’s not what you’re really asking. Well at least as far as I see it. You’re not asking me to reassess what I’ve done, you’re asking me to reassess who I am. You’re not questioning my choices, you’re questioning the very essence of me. If my decisions are bad, then I am bad. And I don’t want to look at that reflection in the mirror.
I’m a label, a sticker, a scrawl on a file A person lost in the paper mile That runs from birth to right here now You know me but you don’t and I’ll tell you how My name spells trouble, it’s written ahead In the assessments, the reports, the letters you’ve read You know my circumstance, my life, my woe But any deeper you just won’t go
On coming alongside our teens and providing them with the tools to solve their problems rather than just taking over. They are the captains of their own ship.
Did you knock on my door? Did you want to see? Or was the sterile incomplete description in my report enough for you? Or what your colleague told you over the kettle? Or what my social worker told you over the phone? You want to see what my life is like. You ask me in your appointment room, in the cafe or in detention, to tell you what life at home is like. But why should I bother to tell you? Do you really want to see? Your words tell me you don’t cos if you really wanted to know, you wouldn’t ask, you’d come and see.
I sit on my backside. I don’t want to go to school. I don’t want to work. I don’t want to talk to anyone. The world can just f*** off. I’m just fine as I am, doing what I do, which is, well… nothing. Doing nothing, not trying anything, not talking to anyone except my mates really, is the best thing I can do for myself. You see, it’s safe. REAL safe.