what does it take to work with young people in care?
Working with young people can be quite unforgiving even at the best of times.
You’re dealing with people who’ve perhaps gone through a variety of systems and still haven’t managed to find their feet.
Now, mix that in with a radical dose of emotions and potential traumas or bad previous experiences and you’ll truly understand why working with younger people can be potentially difficult.
A vast handful of young people haven’t been given the perks or advantages of a caring, compassionate relationship with anybody, never mind a role model.
Being that helping hand in dark times can be incredibly rewarding and typically working with disadvantaged youths in care backgrounds can be an extremely thanking task.
So, here’s a little list of qualities that will help you excel when working with younger people in no particular order.
EXCELLENT VERBAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Being able to communicate clearly and effectively is an absolute must when working with younger people.
You’ll be able to dissect information more accurately and clearly and ultimately build a stronger connection with ease.
You’ll also be able to quash any potential misunderstandings or miscommunications which is often quite important when working with younger people from care backgrounds as well as be able to effectively set boundaries.
Equally, the ability to interpret spoken language and tonality is just as crucial, as often younger people can shy away from revealing a particular struggle or problem especially when they’re less likely to show a more vulnerable side.
However, tonality and emotion can be a dead giveaway to these types of problems. If you’re able to interpret spoken language from somebody else, you’re more open to discovering problems before they’re ultimately revealed.
sensitivity & understanding
However, probably one of the most critical skills, and anybody working with young people should have this in bucket loads.
This doesn’t essentially mean you have to be upbeat, emotional, and glass-half-full-ish. It simply means you need to have a burning desire to make a crucial difference in the lives of the young people you’re working with.
You need to positively have an abundance of complete care, love, and affection to effectively build and gain trust with young people from all walks of life.
patience & the ability to remain calm.
Sometimes, when working with young people, you can often feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.
You need to have the patience of an absolute saint. Sometimes things don’t happen as quickly as you want them to. Sometimes things get rescheduled or do not get appropriately attended and this can absolutely grind your gears.
These things take time.
Some children/young people benefit quite quickly benefit from the care system and the positive effects can become glaringly obvious.
Others can take quite a while.
They will come round.
You need to understand this and give it the time it needs.
Working with young people is not without its challenges. It can be stressful, emotionally moving, and often it can be a little bit much.
You feel like the responsibilities for one or multiple people boil down to you being able to be there for them.
That’s why having resilience is an absolute must for anyone working with children from potentially disadvantaged backgrounds.
Working with children that might not have had the typical childhood of others means that you very quickly need to set boundaries and routines that a young person might not be accustomed to.
You also need to bounce back and recover from particularly rough situations as there are people that are depending on you to look out for them.
You need to be iron-willed sometimes and it’ll show and pay off.
willingness to learn.
No one child is the absolute same.
You need to keep an open book and have the willingness to learn something new every single day.
You need to be able to work with young people who might need a different strategy of ‘parenting’ than you’re used to and realistically, you need to be able to adapt to societal changes and absorb different strategies to match the wants and needs of the young person you’re working with.
These are just a top-down breakdown of some of the qualities you might need to have up your sleeve when working with young people.
Don’t worry if you don’t tick all the boxes right away as some of these skills can be openly adopted by several courses or foster carer training programs that Insight Wellbeing offers.
We’ll show you first-hand the impact you can make on young people’s lives.
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