The school term is now underway and that brings a whole host of challenges and issues for young people. Some are starting their final GCSE or A Level year which means lots of hard work and pressure and tension at home which can make life in general a little rocky to say the least.
I am also back at school coaching young people in the secondary school environment and one of the things that they regularly mention is that they feel that nobody listens to them and that they have no control over what they do, adults seem to be making all the decisions.
That feeling in itself is not a very nice one and on top of all the pressure that school demands, I can understand why teenagers seek control from other things which can come in the form of eating disorders, self harming, smoking, alcohol and illegal substances.
I spend a lot of my time listening to young people and their problems, I don’t judge or berate them but we do discuss looking at things from an alternative perspective and maybe trying something different then seeing what the results are. Quite often they get some positive and surprising results which helps them to understand that not everything that adults or parents say is right or wrong it is just how different people interpret and process information therefore giving them a different perspective. This also helps when dealing with their peer groups and different opinions.
So, my strategy for dealing with young people is this:
- Make time to listen to what they have to say and actively listen to them
- Support and encourage them
- Be understanding and cut them a little slack at home especially with timescales and expectations
- Arrange some favourite things for weekends and holidays
I feel that doing this will encourage the lines of communication to stay open, show a level of understanding regarding school demands and provide a nice treat to relieve some of the pressure of school work. Just by finding a little time on a regular basis can make a huge difference to young people and the reward for everyone is a happier household which is surely a recipe for success.