to Support Youths
As a parent, caregiver or even a youth worker, it is important to always feel we are all supported with resources and knowledge in caring for the next generation.
This week, we have Barin and Anushka, MFRC Counsellors to share about their 5 tips for supporting youth.
- Put yourself in the youth’s shoes
It’s easy to tell youth what they are doing wrong, but it’s important, we remind ourselves we were once a youth too. We had our own journey in discovering who we are, where do we belong and what we want to do with our life.Next time your youth acts up, put yourself in their shoes. This allows us to show empathy and put things in the youth’s perspective.
Helpful tip: Make a list with your youth of the things/events that happened to you as a youth versus them.This list is a great opportunity to see your similarities and differences. By finding a common ground, we can practice empathy and open communication.
- Open Communication is Important
As a role model to the youth, it is important we keep ourselves in check. Whether you are discussing a decision with your youth or lecturing them about what they did wrong.It is important to be aware of your tone.Your tone and body language speaks louder than the physical verbs you are pronouncing.You may seem like you are helping them, but if your tone is loud and angry the youth may shut off and become defensive, hindering the process of having an effective conversation.Be consistent in your rules, and boundaries so that the consequences and expectations are clear. Barin shared it is important to listen with the intent of understanding, rather listening to just speak right after.Active listening is a great tip to enhance our interpersonal skills that is transferrable throughout our lives.By developing a ground for open communication, we can provide a safe space for the youth to speak their mind, develop trust and be a shoulder for them to lean on.
- Give reasons to your decisions
As an adult, it is easy to just tell our youth what to do. We often just give instructions or tell them, “just do it, because I said so.” When we do that, we are not providing an environment for our youth to make good and healthy decisions.We often make decisions for our youth because we do not want them to make the same mistakes we have or see them in failure. There is always a season and time when we should give explicit instructions or not.It is important we foster an environment where the youth can learn how to make decisions. As a youth, they want to be able to make their own decisions, develop a sense of autonomy and be independent.As a parent, we can give our opinion but if a youth decides on something we need to be supportive in their decisions even though we may not think it is the best one. It is important, for them to learn from the successes and failures in life.
Helpful tip: When choosing high schools, sit down with your youth and make a list of likes and dislikes at each school. From there, you can decide your final choice.
This activity will allow you to see the reasoning why they pick a specific school.
- Teamwork for Partners
For those who are parenting together, it is important to always be on the same page of how you would raise the child/youth up. We understand there are differences, and that is okay. When you do come across those differences, never argue in front of the youth.Team work is essential to be able to set boundaries and work together as a family.
- Practice Patience
The frustration or decisions our youth makes will never be perfect. It is important we practice patience. It’s important to be okay with them making mistakes, but be there to help them when they need it.In times of frustration, be aware to not instill fear in the youth.When a youth is fearful of you, they will tend to not communicate with you and less likely to be willing to call you in times of trouble.The key to raising a youth is always have the intention of love. It’s important to create a healthy environment for them to grow up, learn how to make decisions and discover who they are.The act of caring for a youth is never easy. And you don’t need to do it alone.
For more tips and support, join us at our Parent/Guardian Link programs. We offer monthly workshops and support from two professional counsellors.
Join us for our next session!
Tuesday January 30, 2017
Tuesday March 13, 2017
Time: 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Contact Barin at 416-284-4184 ext.252
Contact Anushka at 416-284-4184 ext.
Barin Popal is our group support counsellor at MFRC. Barin specializes in addiction and mental health psychology. She likes to bring together physical science and behavioral science to help make sense of how/why we think, feel, and behave the way we do. Barin is always reminded she was once a youth. As she looks back, she wished someone was there to guide her in her most important years. Now, Barin is super excited to be able to be that person to guide the youth at MFRC.
Anushka Fernanades is our youth and family support counsellor at MFRC specializes in mental health and working with youth and families with complex needs. Anushka loves being able to support people in finding what they need. Anushka believes her job is to be a person to bounce ideas off from to help them find an answer. When she’s not working, she loves being able to spend time with family, friends and play with her dog, Crosby.