Working with At-Risk Youth

I went to a great lecture given by Caryn Green, founder and director of Crossroads Jerusalem, at the Neve Family Institute today.

Here are some of the highlights from the lecture:

What leads a teen to ‘the streets’?

  • Trouble with parents and family, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, learning disabilities and school problems, family issues (divorce, poverty, neglect), adjusting to Israeli society, and homelessness, to name a few.

What are some of their symptoms?

  • Alcohol and drug use, eating disorders, violence, self-mutilation, promiscuity, and suicidality.

What draws them to ‘the streets’ of Jerusalem?

  • Looking for a release from their problems, a sense that people ‘get’ and understand them and what they are going through, non-judgmental relationships, a feeling of ‘connection.’

What does Crossroads offer to help kids ‘turn their lives around’?

  • Acceptance, Support, a chance to turn around and get back on track.

My take on all of this?

  • I am always thinking in terms of prevention and forward movement, so let US be the ones who:

      • Provide teens (and ALL children) with the support, acceptance, respect, understanding, and guidance that they require at HOME.
      • Listen to our children in a non-judgmental way, show them and tell them that we love them unconditionally.
      • Provide them with the tools to navigate their environment.
      • Guide them on their journey of figuring out who they truly are, what they want out of life, and how to make choices that are right for them.
      • Model and show (read: NOT tell) them the values we want them to have.
      • Learn how to support our children in the way that THEY require it, so that they feel like they belong, feel understood, loved and accepted for who they are AND the choices that they make.

Click here to find out what teens / young adults are telling us that they require from us to help them grow into healthy, thriving, confident, and directed adults.

Here is  a link to an article Caryn Green shared about what new studies of the adolescent brain teach us about how we can support our teens.

To learn more about how I can help you support your teen or child, click here.

Okay.  I’ll get off of my soap box now.

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