One of the first things you should do when working with teenagers is think back to your years as a teen.
Remember what you went through, the unfairness of being young and perfect and not being understood by grown ups who were never young like you. Think about the challenges you faced, what you needed to get through those years
While the problems that young people may have changed and multiplied over the years their needs remain pretty much what they were when we were that age:
- Someone to listen or give advice
- A reliable adult figure
- Be a friend but remember that you are also a figure of authority
- Be encouraging and supportive but always be honest
- Sometimes just being there when you say you are going to be there is all that is needed, you may not be needed for a deep heart to heart – just your presence may be enough
- Be consistant – you are working with teens through choice or by nomination, do not blow hot and cold with them or you will alienate them and once that happens they are lost to you!
This list is not exhaustive, they are just some things that I have used over the years, if you have others please do not hesitate to share via the comments!