I'm at home on Saturday night...correction, Sunday morning, after a shift at the group home.
It's 12:28 am, I'm tired but my mind is not. The house was rocking with 5 kids alive and awake within their own nightmares of sorts.
My wife has treated me with some AMAZING local bitter that I never buy for myself. A royal treat if I may be so bold. Funny how a beer and blogging helps me wind down after a shift like this.
I won't tell you ages of the kids, names (obviously) or location of the resource...you'll never visit it so I'm free to blog about certain things I notice.
First off, we have underage girls that use methamphetamine and heroin who are between 15 and 40 pounds too light for their age and developmental moment. If I stop the video long enough from playing in my head where I'm hurting their dealers, I can look into their eyes and their faces and see healthy, beautiful girls. For some, its a long way in the past...
What amount of time can you afford me with these the adult "providers" of the drugs these kids crave? Pretty sure I'd cross some Miss Manners etiquette if I had the chance. Another blog p'raps.
So how does Yours Truly engage kids? HUMOUR and FOOD and LISTENING.
I'm fortunate enough to have become a rather brilliant cook (horn toot) who can actually get kids eating Brussels Sprouts, tofu and VEGGIES with a mere acted-out faint to a kitchen floor. (truth) Getting kids to eat well, using a penal system or guilt is stupid! Doesn't work on you does it?
Try good, real food and humour. A few obviously fake tears while expressing the amount of love you've put into the cookery goes miles. KILOMETRES!! Sorry Canada.
Tonight, a girl was in cunvulsive sobs as she told me that her boyfriend had dumped her. ( 22 year age difference. Comment reserved) I sat at the foot of her bed longing to break rules by hugging her, comforting her, touching her hair and reminding her of her worth as a person single OR attached. Alas, NOT MY DAUGHTER so I kept my professional distance and descretely slipped a very large, sharp pair of scissors that I noticed on her bed in the dim light into my pocket. Theres history there...
I offered a walk in the pissing rain chatting followed by a hot chocolate wherever she wanted to go.
Since this was boy trouble, I thought best that my female co-worker take her. It went well.
I really wanted to go with her but sometimes I hear alarms ringing. I may be a fool, but I'm not foolish!
This is the point where I need you to get up, stretch and go chat with your kid. Avoid talking TO them, chat WITH them. They'll lead. Look for sad signs. You'd never guess from looking that many kids I deal with cut themselves, sell themselves, hate themselves...Give them an out please! LISTEN!
I know I'm rambling. I'd love nothing more than to sit with you over a shitty cup of coffee and share 20 years of working with hurting kids.
I don't have all the answers, I could learn from you if you'd teach me!
Later on, another depressed and angry girl asked me for a razor. Seems simple yeah? But I'm thinking at least 4 scenarios: She wants to harm herself. She wants to harm someone else. She wants to cut up drugs. She wants to shave.
Denying her that razor could nullify any trust other staff have built up.
So, I gave one to her but I sat on the stairs out of sight listening, wishing that I was feeding pigeons near Knight St. and King Edward with that Asian women...until I heard the shower start.
These kids ate and slept tonight. Full house! It was great interactive shift. Personally, in my life, I have nothing to moan about.
We all just long to be seen. Heard. Appreciated.