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. I might have bricks and mortar, a roof, a shelter, but I have no 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. If I’m lucky I might not be practically homeless, but spiritually, mentally, I have no place to rest my head. So how do you fix this for me?
If I could tell you first, I would. If I could string words and feelings together, I really would. If there was some comprehension, some stream of tangible consciousness the words would be there and all you would have to do would be to get me to speak them. But I do not have the words. I do not have the words to express that which screams and writhes within me. Razors, glass, lighters and matches are my lips; the trickle of blood, the burn, the pain are my physical words. For others the smashing of bodies against walls, the ingestion of items like light bulbs, the pulling of hair are involved. Whatever the method, the physical words are still the same. The physical words that tell of our inner pain and our torment. The physical words that make sense of the inexplicable, the inexpressible. The self harm that momentarily allows us to emotionally speak and heal, to calm the roaring storm. That is until the ocean of pain, of raw distress stirs up again and the transient healing is undone and to our tools we return.
My forthcoming new book, 'What I Need From You: The Essential Guide to Reaching Troubled Teens', needs your input! What difference has the Teenage Whisperer blog and website in general, made to you? Only takes 2 minutes tops!
They're my friends. They're my friends 'cos they get me. It's the unspoken stuff, the connection that runs beneath the surface. And yet you think I shouldn't hang around with them. They're a bad influence. They bring out the worst in me. Or you think they aren't really my friends and are there to exploit me. 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.
We meet with our troubled teens, see a familiar set of circumstances and behaviours and decide on a solution to the problem as we see it. We are experts, but we are on auto-pilot. But what if we are disempowering them with our expertise and are reducing the chances of a successful outcome? Relationship-based working puts teens as experts of their own lives back at the centre, and through curiosity, listening and empathy empowers them to make positive progress and empowers us to be the most motivated, energised workers we can be.
If you want to get through to your teens on the dangers of online grooming (who doesn't) then you must get them to watch the film below. This short film presents the true story of Kayleigh Haywood, a British schoolgirl who was the victim of online grooming, rape and murder. No words could better convey to our young people the dangers of online grooming than this film does.
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.