Please Please Please…..All I am asking is just because my title is a Youth Worker, does not mean a young person will automatically talk to me.
In many situations this week, I see that a child is dragged into my office (metaphorically speaking) and told, “Marleigh is right here, maybe now you can talk about what you are feeling!”…”It seems like you are having a lot of issues”
Me: Sure! If they want to of course, I am always here to chat….*looks at child and notices their discomfort*
My employer is just staring at me, waiting for my next move and the next magical sentence that will change his attitude. The child is squirming in and out of their seat, because their discomfort is quite strong.
Me: “You look uncomfortable, what do you need?”
Young Person: “I want to go sit in Worker’s X office and do my work there!”
Me: “Okay sure I will bring you down”
My employer seems shocked and asked me “why did I not get to the root cause to their behaviour?”
Simple…because they do not trust me. Why should they spill out all their feelings and problems to me when I only meet this young person twice? Does not matter if I work with youth, I am an adult figure.
I knew for this young person that trusting me would take a long time. I found out later that day by their sibling that they even have a hard time trusting their own parents. So, who am I?
Is a process of relationship building that might not be easy at times as we continue to work with Children and Youth.
Same goes for trust…
You meet a stranger for the first time, do you expect to vomit your whole life story? NO…so, lets not expect the children and youth that we work with do the same thing.
It is not the question: how do we get a young person to talk? NO, we need to start questioning as Child and Youth Care Practitioners, how can I connect with this young person? What do they enjoy doing outside or inside the school walls? What are they like in their community?
Do not be mistaken by my job title. I still have to put as much of an effort to build a relationship with the young person as the next educator.