Saturday, November 12, 2005

Troubled youth

I have been working fairly closely for a long time with a young lad with Aspergers Syndrome including some mentoring for a few months. Recently he has made some massive improvements and it is very heartening to see him grow and blossom into a man.
He is 18 and a half and the last 12 months have been very hard for him. He has managed to shrug off the mantle of a child and is trying to learn what it is to be a man; responsibility for his own actions and the financial result of the same is a hard but necessary lesson.
He called me this week with a legal problem in a panic. I was able to give him the tools to deal with the situation, and on Friday got an excited call from him as he explained how he had resolved it, will not face legal action and will not have to pay anywhere as much as he expected. I expect he will also be more responsible in the future. He is also a LOT more confident in his own abilities to deal with scary situations now.

This week also another couple who are our friends who have a 16 year old wilful (eldest) son (Wow that rings some memory bells!!!) have experienced some massive issues including physical violence towards his mother. This has not been a surprise as it has been building for some time. I have offered some time with the lad who respects me and I hope I may have some opportunities to fid out what's in his head and where the rage and anger are coming from.
Gary Chapman in the Five Love Languages for Kids talks about adolescent anger and learning to deal with it. It is not something that should be repressed because that just makes it bubble up and over without control, but rather the anger needs to be managed and the child needs to learn emotional maturity and control over the anger. This takes time, but the better they learn it the less likely they will resort to physical violence as an adult as a way of coping.

My wife (who has a new website!) sent me these wise thoughts.

Instruction in youth is like engraving in stone.
--Columbian Proverb

I do beseech you to direct your efforts more to preparing youth for the path and less to preparing the path for the youth.
--Ben Lindsey