During pre-adolescence and teenage years, youth want to know that their voice and creative ideas matter. Having a say in what to wear or hairstyle gives a sense of control over themselves and their bodies. Giving feedback about family activities feels empowering and validating. Being able to explain their thinking helps youth feel some sense of influence while they are still mostly dependent on adults for their care and support.
Caregivers can support youth by giving them an opportunity to state their perspective on activities. To contribute to the flow of daily life. As the adult, if there is a health and safety reason a child’s idea cannot be used that’s a teachable moment. Teach them up by stating the reason their idea cannot be implemented this time. Do so without judgment about the quality of their opinion. No one wants to feel stupid. Especially if other people are watching.
To be trauma responsive, share with the child if his or her preference can be used in its entirety. Consider if part of their idea can be used at a different time or under different circumstances. They may have useful and creative ideas to improve the idea, so everyone wins.
Gathering their opinions is an opportunity to understand, praise, and coach them on their thinking while also letting them fully participate in what happens during their day. You listening to them lets them know they have a voice that should be heard.
To learn more about the trauma-informed and equity-focused work at Youthcentrix® Therapy services, visit us online at www.youthcentrix.com.
Youthcentrix® provides allied and behavioral health services to individuals, consulting to organizations and a learning lab to accelerate your mastery of trauma informed and equity-focused practices.
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If you are a business leader interested in bringing trauma informed care and diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism (DEIA) to your organization reach out to Denise by emailing email@example.com.