How many of you had the opportunity to say: “I do not like the friends I have at school” or “I am getting teased and bullied”, so I am going to see if I can join an after-school activity in the community centre or get some private lessons to meet new people?
If yes, we must recognize that this is privilege.
As Child and Youth Care Practitioners working with such choices of friends, it is much easy to say maybe we need to take a hard look at your friends and determine if they are encouraging you to take a life pathway either rewarding or in turmoil.
In remote communities, there is less options of friends group. Often times, children grow up with the same clang for the majority of their life.
Much of the concerns that stem from this might involve surrounding themselves with other people that are experiencing the same concerns or behaviours that children are trying to change. For example, addictions: smoking cigarettes or underage alcohol.
Nonetheless, as workers it would hard to tell a child to stop being friends with that person. However, what we can do is start the discussion surrounding being aware of peer pressure, provide them the tools to problem solve through risky behaviours/ situation, and empower/ encourage children and youth to use assertive communication (“I statements”). Ultimately, it is about young people using their voice and creating their identity as they develop through different life experiences.
If anybody has any resources on the above topics, please share.
Have a great long weekend!