In the many years I have worked with young people in my capacity as a Mother, Foster Carer, Community Volunteer and Community Welfare Worker, I have observed and been involved with many programs that have been developed with the intention of addressing negative behaviours in youth. Their goals have mostly been the same, assisting young people to change their lives, make adjustments to their risky behaviours and avoid contact with the justice system. From the first restorative justice movement in the 90’s to the youth detox centres of the 21st Century there has been a huge Government and non-Government agency focus on negative youth behaviour.One of the reasons given by many school teachers accessing early retirement in the last 10 years, is that the new breed of children are disrespectful and too difficult to teach.
Newspaper articles inform us that our city has the worst youth crime rate in the country and the nightly broadcasts show us the violent outburst of youngsters and the consequences of their actions. Glassing appears to be a new phenomena on the youth club scene and the video and utube visions of school yard fights demonstrate that they are no longer a “one on one” battle on the oval but now groups of youth bash a weaker or more marginalized child into humiliating submission and causing serious injury and death.
In Rockhampton there are on going meetings and summits and focus groups all talking and thinking about the outbreaks of violence at Hungry Jacks during “Late Nite” shopping on Thursday evenings.
These are just a few of the situations around youth behaviour that have become a reality in our society. However the more we think about this youth violence and destructive behaviour the more energy we give it.
The situation of young people developing healthy relationships and healthy lifestyles does call for action from the community as a whole and it would be foolish to ignore the escalating incidents of violence in our youth, however it is my view that we are mistakenly going about addressing these situations from a negative thought process, i.e. thinking that the more we focus on correcting bad behaviour the better our outcomes will be.
According to the Law of Attraction, we create what we think about. The more we think about something the more energy we give that thing and the more likely it is to manifest in the physical. If this is true the group consciousness of our region is greatly contributing to our community getting more youth problematic behaviour, because for some time now, that is all youth services have been thinking about.
Perhaps it is time to try a different way of thinking about youth behaviour.
Following are some of the ways we can think differently and help create a new reality for Rockhampton, and our most precious resource, our youth.
Incident: Another violent fight at Hungry Jacks on Thursday Night.
- This situation is getting worse we have to find the offenders and punish them.
- If parents would make sure their kids are at home this wouldn’t be happening.
- This is war zone: Parents need to be fined if their kids are out after 7pm.
- These kids are getting younger and younger:
- This situation is giving us a chance to get to know our young people and teaching us that our young people are independent, socially aware and looking for stimulation.
- The previous generation has created this society now we need to address how our children fit into this new world.
- Our society has moved down this highly stimulated technological pathway and we now need to provide parents with the appropriate support needed to raise children in this new environment.
- The youth of today are smart, resilient, creative, worldy and full of energy, we need to tap into that energy as a society and help them channel it in a positive direction.