Adults need to change attitudes to teens

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I need your help. I was a Youth Worker in Swift Current. I am now a Behavior Consultant in Moose Jaw. As a youth worker, I was in contact with kids every day. Now, as Behavior Consultant, I work mostly with grown-ups who are confused, tired, frustrated, appalled and terrified by childhood behavior.

I need your help. I was a Youth Worker in Swift Current. I am now a Behavior Consultant in Moose Jaw. As a youth worker, I was in contact with kids every day. Now, as Behavior Consultant, I work mostly with grown-ups who are confused, tired, frustrated, appalled and terrified by childhood behavior.
 
One day, I found myself waiting with a 15-year-old girl for whatever diagnosis mental health was going to give her. "I don't need it as an excuse," she told me, pale from weeks in her basement, "I just need it so I can tell my story."

To whom? I asked.

"To me," she said, "I just need to tell my story to myself."
 
I realized that day that I was spending all my time teaching grown-ups how kids brains work, and the behaviors those brains were producing. What this girl was asking for was an understanding of herself. It's her brain; she needs to understand it. When she focussed on her behavior rather than the brain that was producing it, she was powerless to do anything more than beat herself up for failing again. She and her brain went into hiding.

That was the day I started teaching kids about their brains. Together, we make the link between brain and behavior and one more link between behavior and choice. Choice begins in the brain. Brain - behavior - choice - brain. It's all about brain. A faulty carburetor isn't an excuse for a poorly running car, it's an explanation. It's a place to start fixing.
 
That was Realization #1.

CONTINUED

Organizations: Behavior Consultant, Social Services

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Swift Current

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