Things have been pretty mad around here lately. I thought I’d take this opportunity to publically share some thoughts.
We have recently welcomed our third group of trainees. Ten energetic and enthusiastic young people have joined our team. It’s very exciting when we consider that this whole STREAT traineeship gig only began less than twelve months ago. I have been fortunate enough to be part of a team who has worked with almost 40 young people who are committed to changing their paths and working toward a brighter future.
That said, it’s not always an easy ride. Young people who have experienced disengagement, exclusion and life on the fringe tend to have some trust issues. Often, these young people have been mistreated by people and systems in which they have placed their faith. Who can blame them if they don’t want to be your mate within minutes, or disclose long buried, personal and intimate details of their lives?
Learning to trust can be difficult. For some people, it’s much easier to remain distant than to risk further betrayal. The tricky part is that, solid, effective and honest working relationships can be created if trust is developed and I think you’ll agree that these are the relationships most people would prefer. Not only would I prefer this type of working relationship but my best working experiences have come about as a result of them.
Developing relationships with young people who are challenged by trusting others can be difficult but I’ve picked up a few tips over the years.
- Say what you mean and mean what you say
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep
- Ensure clear and transparent boundaries
- Listen effectively and without judgment
- Remain integral and provide factual, up to date information
Probably the thing I’ve learned the most though is to persevere. Building trust can take time but I think you’ll agree, once mastered, its well worth the effort.
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