To preserve anonymity, young people choose their alias for these stories – meet Billy Bob.
|Billy Bob’s Story|
|I was a bit of an arse when I first starting attending Youth Club about 2 years ago. I got involved in arguments that I shouldn’t have and started arguments that I shouldn’t and was rude to Youth Workers when asked to stop. I was a very angry kid due to anger issues, I would get angry, shout and punch walls. People would say stuff and I would flip out on a weekly basis.
I didn’t realise I’d been like this until the Youth Workers took me in the office and took me through what was going on with me. Each time they saw me get angry they would point this out. As time went by I started to acknowledge this and started to stop getting too angry or talked to staff before I snapped in my head. I started to come into the Youth Club during lunch times and have a chat about stuff. It felt like the Youth Workers really listened and I’m not sure if it’s their job or not, but it really worked. Even the conversations about football made me feel better. I see stuff from both points of view now if there is an argument now and instead of taking sides I take the sides of the Youth Workers and helped sort out problems. Because of the Youth Workers I went to the doctors about my anger. They thought about CAMHS, but because of my career choice they recommended self management. I used to come in and see the Youth Workers during the day if I was having a rubbish day or just needed a catch up.
I feel like me now, as Billy Bob and don’t punch or kick things anymore. I urge people with problems to talk to the youth workers.
|Youth Workers Statement|
Billy Bob was a popular member of the Youth Centre when he first started just over two years ago. He had friends ranging in year groups and personalities. After a few sessions as he became more comfortable with the Centre, Billy Bob started to get cross with other members who were not in his friendship group or had offended his friends. Billy Bob would shout, swear and threaten as well as cause damage to the Centre. The Youth Workers continued to build relationships with Billy as well as maintaining the boundaries using the warning system.
One session the threats and violent language became too much over something that was very small. Billy Bob had taken an action of another member as a personal attack and wanted to continue this further. Although diffusing this at the time the Youth Workers thought the best cause of action was to speak with Billy and some of his friendship group separately about what was going on. They were invited into the Centre on a lunch break to take the time to tell their side of the story and look at ways that we, the Youth Workers, could ensure everyone had a safe and enjoyable time at the Youth Centre. Billy Bob helped write a behaviour contract with strategies if things were not going well. This included talking to the Youth Workers away from sessions if needed and developing sanctions if someone did threaten another member. This meeting was the first time that Billy saw his behaviour from the perspective of the Youth Workers and began to recognise his behaviour.
From then on Billy began to trust the Youth Workers more as he saw them not as a ‘person in authority’ but rather people who try to support young people through difficult times. Billy would use the option of talking to Youth Workers away from sessions a lot. If he had had a difficult day and he felt angry about something, he would chat this through before coming into the session to ensure he didn’t get cross with the wrong person. Youth Workers would often challenge him about his anger to help Billy to recognise that he was in control of what he did, it was not something done to him. Alongside this informal 1-1 work, Billy began getting more involved in the planned programme. This was developed to suit the needs of older young people, who will often get bored in sessions if the activities suit the younger age range. The Youth Workers put in curriculum activities that were more relevant to Billy Bob’s interests and needs including sexual health, CV’s and relationships with family.
It’s very rare that we see an angry Billy Bob these days. He is quick to recognise if he is getting wound up and able to deal with this by talking. Billy Bob now has a job and attends college, so we do not see him very often, however, he still pops in to ‘debrief’ his life and tries to attend larger events, re-arranging his shifts at work to support the work that we do.