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November 11th, 2011

Boundaries

Pushing boundaries is part of growing up and responding to this pushing is part of being a youth worker. As mentioned last week we have started a new session and changed an existing one. For the young people new sessions mean new boundaries which means a new opportunity to push those boundaries!

The last couple of weeks have been full of young people pushing boundaries. Our response to this is really important; are we going to shout and scream, will we give in to them or will we calmly and consistently explain and maintain the boundaries. Our aim is to do the latter as we know that our response will have an impact not only on how they treat us and the youth club but on how they respond to boundaries in the other spheres of their life. The pushing of boundaries is an opportunity to for us to enable young people to reflect on the fact that different behaviours are appropriate in different situations and that they are there for a reason, what we believe to be an important life lesson.

For some of the young people we work with it may be that the Canaan Project is the only place where behaviour is consistently challenged and discussed in this way. So the Canaan Project can face real tests with young people verbally and physically lashing out against our boundaries.┬áThis can be really wearing and time consuming for the youth worker but we have to hold on to the understanding that we are helping young people for the long term – short term pain long term gain!