Youth Workers Guide To Working Safely With Young People With Challenging Behaviour In A Youth Work Setting

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As a youth worker we are faced with multiple challenges in our work place. Not one day is the same as the day before. Every day is different and challenging in a good and bad way. Majority of the time its always a good way. 

But somedays we have the odd young people who is or are showing signs of challenging behaviour. 

In this article you will learn how to deal with young people who are showing or presenting challenging behaviour in your youth work setting. 

It will cover;

  • What is challenging behaviour?
  • How to prevent challenging behaviour 
  • How to communicate effectively 
  • What you should do when challenging behaviour happens  

What is challenging behaviour 

Challenging behaviour is defined as:

“Culturally abnormal behaviour(s) of such an intensity, frequency or duration that the physical safety of the person or others is likely to be placed in serious jeopardy, or behaviour which is likely to seriously limit use of, or result in the person being denied access to, ordinary community facilities.” Source taken from challenging behaviour

Common types of challenging behaviour include self-injurious behaviour (such as hitting, head-butting, biting, scratching), aggressive behaviour (such as hitting others, headbutting, shouting, swearing, screaming, scratching others, spitting, biting, punching, kicking), inappropriate sexualised behaviour (such as public masturbation or groping), behaviour directed at property (such as throwing objects and stealing) and stereotyped behaviours (such as repetitive rocking or echolalia). Source Wikipidea

Now that we know the definition of what is challenging behaviour let us now look at how we can prevent them.

How to prevent challenging behaviour 

Here are some tips for you to consider when faced with a situation in your youth centre 

  • Pause – stand back, take a moment before approaching and assess the situation.
  • Speak slowly and clearly in a calm voice.
  • Explain your care actions.
  • Try not to rush the person, act calmly.
  • Show respect and treat people with dignity at all times.

How to communicate effectively 

Avoid harsh aggressive or abrupt statements.  Don’t say things such as “You must….”, “Don’t…..”, “Stop…….”.  Use alternatives and “I’ language like “I would like you to…” It would help me if……”, “ I feel scared when…….”.

What you should do when challenging behaviour happens

  • Back off where possible.
  • Keep calm.
  • Call for help.
  • Leave the person to calm down, if possible.
  • Remove others from the environment, if possible.
  • Be aware of body language and tone of voice used to the person.

THE 4 TYPES OF CHALLENGING BEHAVIOUR (AND HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM)

Here is an interesting guide showing the types challenging behaviour and how to deal with it. 

Youth Workers Guide To Working Safely With Young People With Challenging Behaviour In A Youth Work Setting

Source by youthworkable

You may also find this model useful in your practice Six Category Intervention Analysis (1975) by John Heron

Here is a image taken from youthworkable’s website

Youth Workers Guide To Working Safely With Young People With Challenging Behaviour In A Youth Work Setting

Lastly you must also refer to your organiastional policies and procedures  in dealing with challenging behaviour.

I would also like to here from you how you deal with challenging behaviour in your work place. share some tips tactics so others can also learn and use.

 

 

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