#6 Rule of Excellence

March 31, 2008 at 9:49 pm | Posted in Rules of Engagement | 2 Comments
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Don’t settle for second best. Don’t get sucked into complacent mediocrity. Save your mediocrity for something that doesn’t count- bake a mediocre cake, get a mediocre score on Solitaire but please where relationships are involved go for the best, the tip top, won’t ever stop mentality.

In any relationship but particulary with teens and kids, you will only get out what you put in. So if you are expecting an excellent result with your teens but are not putting in the time or the effort and are not really stretching yourself to do the best you can then I am afraid you are going to be disappointed.

If you have got to a point with your teenager where things are not looking great, then ask yourself- have I been giving them all I can? Have I been giving them what they need? A common mistake is to shower kids with the wrong thing- for example spoiling them with gifts when all they want is to spend some quality time with you. To learn how to shower the right thing you wouldn’t go far wrong reading Dr Gary Chapman’s, Five Love Languages of Children and his latest Five Love Languages of Teenagers

Excellence means committing to try and find the solutions to your problems, thinking about what you are doing and what you need to do, exploring different strategies for relating to them and trying them out. This could mean taking the time to read up on how best to relate to your teen, attending a seminar, talking about the issues with your friends and family. In essence it means setting aside time to put them before yourself. Particularly for professionals it means using the best resources you can with the young person (a particular bug bear of mine is badly presented worksheets that have been photocopied / xeroxed within an inch of their life to the point where it is like looking at a photograph of a ghost that has been through the washing machine twenty times), and engaging them in work / discussions that have a clear logic that you have actually thought about rather than just ‘winging it’.  Do not forget that for a lot of teens, the quality of the things you present them with, physically or verbally will be their measure of the quality of your care for them.

Being a beacon of excellence WILL be hard work (if it is not then there is room to try harder) but it WILL pay dividends. Not only will your relationship improve massively but as each new improvement comes along you will be spurred on and motivated to continue. It is a gift that keeps on giving – to you and to them.

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The Rules of Engagement

March 10, 2008 at 12:51 pm | Posted in Rules of Engagement | Leave a comment
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The basic stuff of relationships is engagement. All parties need to be able to relate to one another, communicate and ultimately want to put something in and get something out in order for that relationship to work. However, with teens this can be a problem. Due to the complexities of adolesence, engagement is often the last thing they want to do with an adult and this can often lead to problems, not least when an adult identifies that the teen that they live or work with is exhibiting challenging behaviour and they want to do something about it, be it a small or large issue.

What follows is a series of posts all about the rules of engagement with teens. With many years working with teens in a youth justice setting who have initially wanted to disengage my head from my neck rather than engage with me, these posts come from a sea of experience. The lessons I have learned and the knowledge acquired, although coming from the extreme end of adolescent behaviour are just as applicable to all sorts of levels of relationships with teens, from the family home to school to social care- any environment where teens are about!

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