Children and young people need specific things to be able to build relationships. More so when building a professional and respectful relationship. They need to be able to trust you and feel reassured that you have their best interests in mind when communicating with them and spending time with them. To guarantee that your relationships with children and young people is professional there are certain things that must be taken into account.
When ensuring you have a professional and respectful relationship with children and young people you should think about your setting, the person on the other side of the relationship and the way you use communication. When working within a school the children and young people must know that you’re the one in charge, however they mustn’t think of you as intimidating or patronizing, so you have to adapt your communication skills. You must ensure that you act in a formal matter with them to establish the fact that you are not there to be their friend but as a role model and authoritative figure. They need to know that you are there to guide them and help their learning and to educate them.
It is also important to set boundaries and realise that different ages of children and young people need different types of relationships especially when working in an educational setting e.g. very young children need more of a nurturing type of relationship but older children and young people need more of a role model to look up to and follow their example. The boundaries needed for a professional relationship need to be implemented whatever the situation to keep it formal.
When working with a child it is important to take into account at what stage of their development they are at, as children develop at different rates due to other factors of their lives. When a child is really young they react better to a more nurturing and motherly type of behaviour. For example if a child is upset or hurt they would find more comfort in someone who is calming and uses kinder words and more relaxed body posture, they would also feel more likely to confide in someone who is fully interested and feels concerned about the situation. The gestures the person uses would help the situation such as a hug would calm a younger child down and show that the person is there to listen to them and help. If the person starts to panic it could worsen the situation and make the child more distressed which could lead to the child feeling as though the problem is much worse than it seems and make them more upset.
When working with children who are starting to develop in their education and are starting to develop their learning skills, the professionalism of your relationship with them needs to be more suited to being a role model and showing them that a learning environment is more of a serious environment than they would have had in previous school years. When working in education at this life stage it is important to implement a sense of strictness and start to emphasise on the differences between right and wrong. At this stage of education it is important that children understand that they are there to respect you and that you are there to help them. When a child is in the classroom and they are learning they need to be able to communicate with you verbally to show that they need further help especially as they are fully beginning their education.
When a young person is in higher education it is important to make sure your behaviour is formal and serious as when a young person starts their higher education their attitude towards school may have changed, they may start to become disinterested, so it is important to encourage their learning and making school more enjoyable. A young person will respond more to an older person treating them as an equal and not as a child, as they have matured into their own person. It is also important to implement how much they need their higher education for the future; however it is also important not to apply too much pressure as they would not respond well to that.
Children and young people can get into all different types of disagreements whether that’s something really small or something bigger. With a child it is more likely to be a small disagreement as children act more immature and are more affected by the smaller things as they don’t take things too seriously. A young person would more likely have a disagreement which is more serious as they are more likely to voice their opinion more often and be more honest about what they think.
When dealing with a disagreement that a child has had it is important to think about everything. It is important to make sure that with any disagreement especially with a child that you don’t pick a side but listen to all the people involved, as if a child thinks they are not being listened they will continue to get more upset and could make the situation even worse. When dealing with this, you need to focus on each of the different parts of the disagreement and try and find the main issue. However when you find the problem it is important not to make the child more upset as you don’t want to cause too much distress over something small. It is also important to make the children see that people have a difference of opinion and that it is a good thing to voice what they believe in but that it is also important to not to make anyone else feel bad for how they feel.
After a disagreement has been settled you need to try and restore the peace between them and not let it carry on into the rest of their day as it could affect other things such as their learning or even when they are at home. It is also important to try and stay calm when dealing with something small and not to lose your temper unless the situation needs dealing with in a serious way. To avoid future disagreements the children need to be taught other strategies to deal with them and strategies to calm down before a disagreement arises. It can be hard for a child to deal with conflict as they are more sensitive at a young age, so letting each of them say what they think and have their side heard will help them feel more involved and not pushed to the side.
A disagreement that a young person may have can escalate quicker than with a child as a young person will be more headstrong and less forgiving. When working out a disagreement with young people it is quite similar when dealing with one from children as you should still listen carefully to both sides and try not to single out one individual. You should give them other options on how to deal with conflict and try and advise them not to let the situation escalate, encourage them to move away or find a way to ignore the conflict if it is only minor or a difference of opinion. Young people see themselves as being ‘grown up’ and feel as though they ‘know everything’ which can make dealing with a disagreement hard.
With any disagreement it is important not to not to get frustrated with them as they respond better to someone on their sides than someone opposed to helping them. You shouldn’t make your personal opinion or comments known as you should be the voice of reason and you shouldn’t add fuel to the fire.