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Behaviour tips for youth workers

It is not just for parents to have difficulties with their growing teens. There are problems bound to arise in the youth group just as well. Maybe the youth worker has one advantage in this regard: age wise he might be closer to the young person then some parents who might have forgotten what is was like to be a teenager.

In the youth group, there will be brushing offs too: among the young people, but also regarding the youth worker. They may not agree with the program, or with one or the other rules and regulations, which is depending on age as well. Just think of the issues with "smoking", "alcohol" or separated beds in camps. Rules, clear, reasonable and applicable to all arrangements will be well received by young people.

Wanting to prove themselves, or a certain arrogance towards the youth worker is likely to occur in youth groups. The challenge for the youth worker lies in the task to find games and activities which are both, challenging, so they can prove themselves, help the young person to let steam off and at the same time are safe.

Nevertheless, young people are always looking for someone to talk to. Someone with a lot of heart and confidence, someone who takes the young people seriously. At the same time it is required of the youth worker to take on a definite position without patronizing the young person – rather living an example, they can aim to achieve for themselves.

Give room, delegate responsibilities and have trust. Having confidence that they young person can achieve something is of utter importance during puberty.

Always avoid exposing a young person, when they made a mistake or when they didn’t handle something as well as it was desired within the settings of the youth group. Especially during adolescence, young people are very sensitive in this respect. Often, the young person does not understand hurtful irony and internalizes this.

Remember, young people are not looking for “adult teenagers”, but for adults who are there when they are needed, without imposing, chumming up or coming across just as another teenager. Young people are equally not looking for someone who commands them around, tells them how it is done or gives unsolicited advice in regards to the way they dress, the music they are listening to or what to talk about. The best thing to do in most cases not to hear the one or other thing. – That is as long as it is safe and unimportant. Teenagers hear all those comments at home from their parents and one thing is sure: they don’t want to hear it in the youth group as well.

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