Teenage youths, often labeled as young, reckless and wild are also synonymous with being described as creative, intelligent and resourceful. It’s ironic how these days, teenage youths who give teachers a headache in school and have bad results are said to be “at-risk” rather than just to be considered as “experiencing or discovering self-identity.”
Singapore teenage youths have been making a beeline in the news of late especially so in the area of gangs after one teenage youth was slashed and died as a result of his injuries. Since that incident, there have been several other gang-related attacks and arrests reported.
Of course, for those unaware of these incidences, the death is a culmination of a string of events which domino-ed over time involving several gangs. It’s not exactly just a staring incident as how my source told me. The clashes were a result of unhappiness between two gangs and one of the gangs decided to rope in another to create a mess for the rival gang to clear up.
Very much so for those who don’t even know what 369, Ang Soon Tong and Gee Hai Kim is and stands for.
One thing for sure, Teck Whye Lane Sa Kong Sa has perhaps been rounded by for the incident at Bukit Panjang.
Nevertheless, if you have relatives or friends who are teenage youths, do encourage them to stay away from their friends who are involved in gangs for the time being, both during the day and night time. Those screened during police spot-checks will be rounded up and brought back to station should the police believe they are associated to a gang and are found to be in groups of more than 5.
But this entry isn’t so much about teenage youths involved in such activities, it is a lot more about how teachers, parents, friends and guardians can learn on how to control such challenging youths.
I’m no expert in youth work but in the many years that I have been and still am a youth, I was once a part of the challenging group of youths that we now call “at-risk”. I wouldn’t even call these youths “at-risk” because what they do today, can’t even match to what me and friends used to be involved in. Teenage youths these days are much milder than what me and my peers used to be but the people working with them on a regular basis are less equipped with the right skills to manage such situations.
The attitude of teenage youths have remained the same throughout decades – rebellious, even for those who come from good schools. The rebellion differs though according to the environments they’re in. Neighbourhood teens tend to be rebellious by physical means whilst those from more ‘elite’ schools adopt a more common and tame form of rebellion called, ‘truancy’. There are exceptional cases whereby students from ‘elite’ schools are just as rebellious as those from the neighbourhood schools and these teens very often, end up in jobs common to the citizen.
Teachers these days though are less resilient and thus, not able to manage these behaviours well. Compare the younger teachers today to their predecessors and you’ll see that their predecessors were able to do a wonderful job at keeping these students with behavioural problems entertained and positively challenged in school and these new teachers are products of such a system. Unfortunately, these young teachers join the profession to start repaying their bank loan after months of unemployment upon graduation and genuinely have no interest nor passion in educating our young leaders.
Therefore, they prefer to neglect such behavioural challenges and refer them for disciplinary action when managing such issues in class could settle it altogether.
I’ve conducted training workshops on understanding and managing youths “at-risk” but I think most of those trained under me forget to apply the skills they learnt and revert back to the parenting style which have failed in the past, and will continue to fail today and tomorrow. If you’re interested to have me conduct a similar workshop, drop me an email.
Working with youths can be extremely fun and challenging. Establishing the rapport doesn’t require one to change themselves but rather, to learn the skills and to ask the right questions to illicit answers which help build a relationship, similar to that of a boy-girl relationship. Unfortunately, most individuals who work with youths tend to see themselves as the adult and adopts a top-down approach, which they themselves hate, and end up on the wrong footing. Such hypocrites are adults.
Like adults, teens also need to be respected and as teenagers, since they are still in their self-discovery stage, they tend to be very expressive in their emotions and actions or to be silent altogether. I’d rather be more worried about those who are silent than those who express themselves openly because those who express themselves openly, have an avenue to release and can be controlled or managed by those who see it. Those who keep silent and to themselves, are like a ticking time bomb, you never know when they will blow up and this could be perhaps they aren’t sure whether expressing themselves means being scolded or not since most Singaporeans and adults tend to scold individuals who are expressive of themselves, preferring those who are quiet – JUST LIKE THE GOVERNMENT.
I honestly believe that teachers, parents and guardians need to be trained on the knowledge and skills on managing teenage youths because with training, managing youths “at-risk” in school can be easier and we’d be able to forget about programmes which cater to such youths and focus on more positive activities to hone their characteristics and talents. For every ‘problem’ that the teen raises, is in fact a solution for another.
To end, here’s a tip from me,
“TEENS ARE VERY EMOTIONALLY SENSITIVE. NEVER EVER PARENT ONE”