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 Is there hope?

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Oct 13, 2001
I work with young people- not any young people- i work with those who have committed crimes. It is depressing work most of the time but recently it has become more so. Without breaking anybody's confidentiality- i am working with a young man who likes knives- he admires them, they make him feel powerful, and he uses them in that way. He had a bloody awful life, he was abused, taken into care, brought up by successions of foster carers and has no adeqaute and real attachment to any significant adult role model. It is my job to try to help him sort himself out before he ends up in prison - but every time I go to see him I hear about another offence, another fight, another knife - what am I to do? I feel like giving up sometimes but know and also feel that i will not and should not- and I know within three months of today that he will end up in prison - he is only 16. What are we supposed to do with and for these kids- the solution doesn't lie in the governement's quick-fix therapies or putting them out of sight in prison. What he needed was decent parents- something he was never going to get - how can we ensure that the next generation is going to reach its 17th birthday?? I am often in despair over this and wish I didn't do what i did- maybe I should go stack shelves and ignore it all??

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Give up (none / 0) (#1)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Oct 13th, 2001 at 02:32:50 PM PST
It is a thankless task trying to put the world to rights. There will always be people who want to use knives and violence to solve their problems.

It may well be they had a tough childhood. But so what ? Plenty of people have tough childhoods and do not resort to knife based violent crime.

It is NOT your problem. Far better for you to spend your energies somewhere you can make a difference. For example teaching gifted children to make the most of their talents. Or contributing to the Linux kernel.

how can we ensure that the next generation is going to reach its 17th birthday??

Not our problem. Natural selection at work. Nature red in tooth and claw. Shit happens.

Don't stack shelves, but try and think about what makes you happy, not about eternal problems that you are never going to solve.

You might as well ask for world peace.

it is my problem (5.00 / 1) (#3)
by psych wanderer on Sat Oct 13th, 2001 at 02:57:57 PM PST
well it is my problem- I am employed by the government to work with these kids- not all of them get me down and not all of them are 'bad' - and I dont think it is all about choice- sometimes when a child of two or five is backed into an abusive situation they have no choice but to learn to defend themselves- it is extremely difficult to unlearn this.

funnily enough your comment has made me angry enough to not give up- thankyou- and gifted children?? nah- you are joking arent you??- they get all the help in the world and dont need me as someone else telling them how wonderful they are.
so yes, it is my problem- and should be other people's problem as well- whats the saying - 'it takes a village..'???
psych wanderer
"The thing I miss the most is my mind"

Encouragement? (5.00 / 1) (#2)
by chloedancer on Sat Oct 13th, 2001 at 02:34:31 PM PST
I have a friend whose parents took in some 16 foster children over 20 years or so. They adopted the last child that stayed with them and also attempted to adopt his older brother, but the courts decided that the older brother would remain in the custody of his birth mother.

The younger brother is now nearing 21. His life is not an easy one; I've been working with him for a few years now as a favor to my friend because he and I share many traits in common and he is more responsive to a "peer" approach than to doctors or therapists. We joke that things will be fine if we can keep him alive and out of jail until he's 25 or so; it's a constant process of two steps forward / one step back. We all agree that he can learn, and he is making an effort, albeit with fits and starts because that's the best he's capable of for now.

His brother, now 23, was recently convicted for rape and murder (and is suspected of several other similar crimes although he has only been convicted of the one to date). We all wonder sometimes if things may have turned out differently for him had he been raised with his younger brother; we'll never know the answer to that one.

You can't reach everyone; we're all responsible for making our own choices. But every now and again, you can make a difference with your efforts. If you can accept the fact that you'll never know or be able to predict the outcome of your effort, but can continue to do that which you believe contributes to a greater good, I am certain that your attempts will produce measurable results in the long run.

Knife boy (none / 0) (#4)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Oct 13th, 2001 at 08:25:22 PM PST
I hear the Army is hiring.

It Takes A Project To Raise a Child (none / 0) (#5)
by Inden on Sun Oct 14th, 2001 at 07:40:22 AM PST
Traditionally (as recently as forty years ago) we had compulsory military service for teenage men. Many times compulsory national service has been suggested, wherein the youth could choose between military or civilian service. It's worth considering. When parents fail to raise their children, they fall back on the schools and the social services and the drug dealers and the gangs and the police and the prisons. That's where we find ourselves today. Wishing won't make these problems go away and neither will proclaiming a failure of family values and declaring war on liberalism for corrupting the moral fabric that once made more sense for us and kept us more cohesive.

Compulsory national service for all boys and girls from age whenever they want to start for a whole year. If they like the work and want to keep at it, such as social work, they can re-up. It's worth thinking about.

In the case of the dude in your charge, the traditional route is of course military discipline. Subverting his anger and violence to a higher power, in this case a human higher power with a higher rank. It's worked before.

I dont think (none / 0) (#6)
by psych wanderer on Tue Oct 16th, 2001 at 11:19:32 AM PST
it would work in this case- you see he has an anti-social personality disorder - and although people with this disorder do respond to order and routine the danger is that he would come to like the more 'grisly' aspects of life in the military - but then again- he might end up in specops so that would work for him
psych wanderer
"The thing I miss the most is my mind"


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