The seeds of discouragement in work with young people
Discouragement by definition is the act of or instance of being discouraged, the state of being discouraged or something that discourages. In other words it is simply the feeling of despair in the face of obstacles. Young people may become defiant or hard if seeds of discouragement are sown into their lives especially during their childhood years. This essay will seek to demonstrate how discouragement can be used positively by a child and youth care worker (CYCW) to try to help the youths they work with develop positively. It will discuss how CYCW behaviors encourage or discourage youths by addressing the four ecological hazards linked to the profiles of discouragement. The 10D’s of deviance will be explained and then it will further explain what the impact of personal theories of behavior can be. This paper will conclude by looking at what the impact on assessment will be if the child or young person feels discouraged by his or her interactions with the CYCW. CYCW’s are in daily contact with children and young people and they assume a very large and important role in their lives. Gannon (1990) suggests that they interact, observe and spend a lot of time with them hence they know them and their ways very well. Gannon (1990) further suggest that CYCW’s represent children and youth, share their hopes and aspirations for the future as mature, responsible and independent adults. A CYCW can use discouragement in a positive way so as to try to develop appropriate behaviors and attitudes by discouraging them from engaging in dangerous and negative activities that can affect their growth, development and achievements. This can be achieved by focusing on transitions within their environments instead of concentrating on the negative traits of troubled children. Four ecological hazards which are destructive relationships, climates of futility, learned irresponsibility and loss of purpose can be used to address this. Destructive Relationships
Children affected by this hazard are for example those children who are unclaimed or rejected by their families. Their needs are failed to be met by their caretakers. This usually leads children to lose the ability of being able to create meaningful and real attachments with anyone. They feel like outcast and in most instances those in foster homes are moved constantly from one home to another. Stout & Kipling (2003) suggested that those who practiced detachment effectively distanced themselves from the source of hurt, whether by “shutting down,” not speaking or hearing or joking and laughing about the source of pain. They end up being involved in delinquency such as stealing, drugs use and abuse and even prostitution. Some end up having suicidal thoughts. Ackerman (2012) suggests that one of the elements of reclaiming discouraged youths is by earning their trust therefore the CYCW can discourage this negative behavior by gaining trust and building a meaningful relationship with these children. By this they can be influential in the children’s lives, discourage them from negative activities and behaviors and correct and comment them when their behavior is unacceptable.
Climates of Futility
This ecological hazard consists of children who fear failure because they feel inadequate. It looks at achievement or mastery. Grose (n.d) suggests that most children like adults can be stung by discouragement and if they receive enough of it, their self-esteem takes a dive and they begin to take fewer risks for fear of being criticized for making mistakes. These children are seen as ignorant and arrogant. A rather negative, cynical and pessimistic approach does not work because negative discouragement by a CYCW can lead to negative futility being breed. Punishing them can also lead these children to be more difficult as boredom may be the main cause of them following destructive paths. They are unmotivated, give up easily and avoid risks...
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