Nothing more than feelings
October 1, 2012 2 Comments
Recently, I went in and taught two classes at the local high school. Can I just say how much fun I had? My goodness those kids were a riot. I did have to threaten to shoot three boys with a nerf gun but otherwise, the rest of them were really great. I’ve got to say, I do enjoy teenagers!
I went in to teach a class on how to communicate with other kids. The local high schools have all started this mentoring program called the Link Crew. I think I’ve talked about it before in here (maybe?). Anyways, it’s an awesome program that links senior high school students up with kids just entering grade 9. Lots of really great things about it but not surprisingly, they’ve been up and running and in the first week there have been some possible abuse disclosures, inappropriate relationship issues, kids being found drunk and stoned and passed out. Fun times! This program is something very similar to one we were planning on starting so we offered to give a hand because this is stuff that is way out of the teacher’s league. No offense to her because she is an awesome teacher, she’s just not trained for this.
So off we go and bring our sheets and notes and all that fun stuff but what we talked about the most was adolescent brain development. The kids were begging me to PLEASE tell their parents what I was telling them because suddenly, things started to make a whole lot of sense.
I was asking them how many of them had been accused of being mad or angry or sad when they weren’t. Every hand went up. Then I asked how many of them had been accused of being rude and they truly had no idea what they had said or done that was rude. Every hand went up again.
I’ve talked about this in an earlier post. This is really simplified and summarized – but – kids and young adolescents function out of the instinctual part of the brain. The logical part hasn’t been developed yet and that is, in fact, one of the main tasks of adolescence. That means they interpret their world and everything they and others say and do in a completely different part of the brain than the adults do. They don’t see emotions the same way and they don’t see interactions the same way. There are times when kids literally do not know that they are being rude or how they are portraying themselves to others. The perception is drastically different.
Part of the problem is that the kids don’t realize this. Not only is there no information for parents out there, there is even less for the kids as well.
We spent a lot of time talking to the kids about how to communicate, how to listen and WHY things need to work the way they do.
Less than a week later, one of the girls from the class approached one of my staff. She said that on the weekend following our class, she ended up trying to help her friend who was suicidal. She said she knew just what to say and how to talk to her and even knew how to find the phone number to get her help (we gave them all resource cards before we left). She made it very clear that the class we taught is the reason why she was able to help her friend.
Really, that’s what it’s all about.