John is unlikely to feel more comfortable if the YAP worker moves towards him despite John's clear preference for more physical distance.
John's preferred boundary for meeting someone new falls within what is socially acceptable.
John is telling the YAP Worker through his behavior about his preferred physical (or spatial) boundaries
John would feel comfortable if the YAP worker moved closer to him.
As John gets to know his YAP Worker, he may feel more comfortable sitting closer to him or shaking his hand.
Personal space is what we use when interacting with others whom we are less emotionally connected with. John is communicating his personal space to the YAP worker.
Scoot your chair closer to him and lean in when you’re talking
Share that you’re observing that he doesn’t seem to want you near him and ask why
Point out that he did not shake your hand
Maintain your physical distance and try to engage him through dialogue
Though you may be reaching out with genuine care and concern, he is not likely to see your perspective at this time; rather, he may not feel respected, understood, or safe. Think of your interactions with a young person, their words and their actions as an opportunity to learn more about them. You are just beginning to get an understanding of who they are. We must remember not to take the young person’s actions or reactions personally.
His “fight or flight” automatic system may start to kick in, raising his heart rate and putting him on alert and less able to think clearly
He may stand up and/or leave the room.
He may feel re-traumatized or emotionally triggered based on previous trauma
He may appreciate your outreach and that you care enough to not let his behavior push you away.
Talk to the young person in private, sharing that there is a difference between cursing in public versus cursing on the basketball court with peers. Mainstream social norms dictate that cursing in public is not generally accepted, whereas within the youth group themselves, they have developed specific norms that allow for cursing. It is important to help your young person understand the difference between these two boundaries and that people and place impact what is appropriate in any given situation.
You should consider cursing too if it would make you more relatable and engaging
You should let John curse if that is what makes him most comfortable. If he is showing up to school and work on time and doing what needs to be done, it doesn’t matter.
You should talk to John about the incident in private
You should immediately correct him and let him know that it is inappropriate, and you are modelling good limit setting.
Use this as an opportunity to talk about decision making regarding the specific event and people that he was with, but also a good discussion regarding what to post on social media and privacy settings.
Find ways to ask questions of the youth that will provide opportunities for them to talk about the incident without letting them know you are watching their Facebook
Let the youth know upfront that you are going to be monitoring their social media and that you will discuss with them any concerns as they come to your attention
Tell the youth’s parents and caseworker/probation officer, because this is a clear safety issue
Stop following the youth’s page so that you are not conflicted with information that puts you in an ethical bind
Use this as an opportunity to talk with your young person about setting limits and boundaries for phone use while out in the community.
Don’t let the young person bring their phone with them while out on activities
Talk with the young person to develop limits around phone use while on activities together
Recognize that this the culture of young people and let it slide.
Start texting with the youth to engage them since it is their preferred mode of communication
Continuing to work without addressing the problem can lead to burnout and may result in mental, physical and physiological health issues. If this ever comes up, be sure to talk with your supervisor about how you are feeling, engage in some physical activity, do something that you like and schedule some time for yourself.
Talk to your Supervisor about how you are feeling and brainstorm some options to help you recharge while ensuring your families are taken care of.
Keep seeing your families despite how you feel because they need you
Make sure that you are eating well, engaging in physical activity and getting enough rest.
Schedule some time for yourself to do something that you enjoy and makes you feel good.
It is important as the worker not to assume that the mother will have the skills or confidence to let you know something is bothering her. You may have done nothing wrong and she may be using this time to process her feelings, but assuming that may lead to a missed opportunity and damage the relationship. More effective responses include inviting dialogue by asking her if everything is OK, reflecting with her what you're observing and apologizing if you upset her.
Gently ask her if everything is OK or if there might be something bothering her that she'd like to talk about
Reflect to her that she seems unusually quiet and reserved
Apologize if you did or said anything that upset or offended her.
Ignore it and assume that she'll let you know if you do something that bothers her.
While we often work closely with probation offices, caseworkers and teachers, we must remember to only take job assignments from our supervisors. If a member of the young person’s team asks you to do something that has not already been discussed as a Family Team, talk with your supervisor first.
Ignore the request.
Tell the caseworker that it isn't your job to get her the requested information
Immediately provide the caseworker a copy of the requested information.
Consult with your Director after the meeting to discuss if the request was appropriate.
It’s ok to have other jobs outside of YAP. Remember to communicate your schedule with the young person and family and find time that works for both of you. However, if you are unable to find times that meet the family's needs and work with your schedule, you need to tell your supervisor: it is our first moral and contractual responsibility to ensure that youth are getting the services they need when they need them.
As needed, talk to your supervisor about your situation and engage in mutual brainstorming to figure out how to meet Jose's needs and your needs.
Bring Jose to work with you and let him play and work out while you're working.
Ignore your supervisor's request and don't see Jose during the afternoons you work at the Rec Center.
Tell the family when you are available.
Before responding to the invitation, it is best to have a discussion with your supervisor. This time in supervision can be used to discuss your relationship with the family and address any potential boundary concerns. A potential immediate response to the family would be to thank them so much for inviting you to such an important day in the life of their family and share that you just need to check with your supervisor to make sure that attending would be appropriate.
Discuss this in weekly supervision with your supervisor.
Accept the invitation and bring your family to the event
Politely decline the invitation
Stop by the graduation party to say hi to the family
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