Sometimes we hear compassion, strength-based therapy, nice, and all the children and youth need is an adult to care for them. While this is all true, there is a healthy balance between being compassionate and teaching the young person about social responsibility.
Many organizations, schools, and current models are aiming towards this idea: “We cannot consequence or punish the young person, we need to show them compassion!”
I am noticing that this week, many of the young people are seeing that I am one of those youth workers that will not downplay their actions; for example, bullying, aggression, and harassment. When do we stop and practice developmentally appropriate expectations for the young person instead of always providing a rationale for the young person’s actions.
Replacement: Why do not we start teaching empathy? Why are we not teaching our young people more choice theory, and why don’t we embrace the natural consequences that a young person should experience.
I find that we are always trying our best to prevent the mistakes that we believe that our young person will make. So, when there is a mistake that it is made, we get into analyzing their actions after the 4th or 5th time.
“But Joe is a good kid…..yes, Joe is a very good kid, but right now he is lagging certain skills.”
This is why millennials come out of the education system and expect from their future relationships or employers that continuous acts of violence or lack of social and life skills will just be forgotten. They do not receive proper feedback, explanations, or mentoring when they so badly need it in order to develop cognitively.
So, going back to this week: I realized I am coming into this stage in my career that I am challenging other educators and myself to not be afraid of challenging a youth’s mindset. I am a compassionate human being; however, there is a time and moment that a young person does not only need your compassion, they need your words and genuine self.
Thank you for reading as always 🙂