Blog Posts

What does the Teenage Whisperer blog do for you?

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!

Flying words: listening to hear

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."

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Peer pressure problems? Understand why they’re my friends

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.

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Caring with curiosity: getting to the heart of relationship-based working

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.

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Kayleigh’s Love Story: Powerful video about dangers of online grooming

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.

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The Progress Saboteur: the calm and the storm

"...But I wanted more, I needed the ride The inexplicable storm, the temporary high A body primed for drama, stimulation gone mad I’d blow up the quiet, and confirm I was bad You’d reach for your hair, and declare all quite lost I was clearly quite mad, for the undoing, the cost Of all that investment, of all that you’d done It didn’t add up, the unworkable sum But the numbers compute, it all makes sense When you think of my history, the emotions immense The experience traumatic, the learning acute My response to the calmness profoundly astute...."

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Chilled: Reducing Baseline Arousal Levels in Therapy-Avoidant Teens

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...
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On High Alert: Hyperarousal + ‘losing it’ over nothing

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.
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