Teens _ Your Library - Multnomah

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Teens _ Your Library - Multnomah Powered By Docstoc
					teens @ your library
training by and for staff at Multnomah County Library
Portland, Oregon


                                                            Moment of truth
                                                         Stereotypes about teens
                                                         Reality
                                                         What teens need and want
                                                             from the library
                                                         Local teen voices
                                                         “Teen brains” & teens‟
                                                             developmental tasks
                                                         Positive youth development
                                                             and opportunities for teens
                                                             at MCL
                                                         Tough situations and how to
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Stereotypes
    obnoxious
    disrespectful
    disorganized
    unpredictable
    loud
    weird
    not interested in
     libraries


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   Teens: Threat or Menace?




http://www.flickr.com/photos/bbpow/sets/72157603638781458/
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The Mosquito Teen Deterrent




     -- www.compoundsecurity.co.uk

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But, Actually:
         Most teen behaviors that adults find
         obnoxious can be attributed to young
         adults‟ developmental tasks: those
         emotional, social, sexual, intellectual and
         psychological changes that make up
         adolescence.
         (Gorman, Jones, Suellentrop, Connecting Young Adults and
         Libraries, Neal-Schuman, 2005.)




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What Do Teens Want?




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Local Teens Speak Out About Barriers to
Graduation and Their Ideas for Solutions

    Outdated technology
    Lack of encouragement
    Not enough funding for
     college
    Not enough funding for
     education
    Not enough mentoring
    Girls


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Teens: under construction

                                                       Works in progress
                                                       Teens‟ brains are
                                                        still developing
                                                       But don‟t
                                                        underestimate teens
                                                        either


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Braaaaains (some current theories)
    By age 6, brain is 95% of
     adult size
    Gray matter – the “thinking”
     part of the brain – thickens
     throughout childhood as
     neural connections are
     made
    Around age 11-12, gray
     matter development peaks
     and pruning starts



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Pruning?
                                                   Brain produces more cells and
                                                      connections than we use

                                                   We get rid of many of them

                                                   Pruning happens twice:
                                                   -- First 18 months of life (think
                                                       language learning)
                                                   -- Around puberty

                                                   “Briar patch” of neural
                                                      connections is pruned back

                                                   Remaining connections transmit
                                                     signals more efficiently
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Teen brains: believe the hype?
                                                        A study showed teens use
                                                         the amygdala to process
                                                         information and make
                                                         judgments
                                                        Amygdala is associated with
                                                         emotional and “gut”
                                                         responses
                                                         the “lizard brain”




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Teen brains: believe the hype?
    Same study showed adults
     use prefrontal lobes for
     those tasks
    Prefrontal lobes associated
     with control, logical
     decision-making
    “Executive suite” – risk vs.
     reward, problem-solving,
     thinking ahead, regulating
     emotions



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Results
    Approximately a billion
     oversimplified articles
     and TV features saying
     “See? Now you know
     why teens act that
     way!”




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Alternate Views
    Dr. Robert Epstein: Myth of the Teen Brain, The Case Against
     Adolescence
          “Teen turmoil” comes from the restrictions our culture puts on teens
          Judge teens on competency, not age
          “...when young people are given meaningful responsibility and
           meaningful contact with adults, they quickly rise to the challenge, and
           their “inner adult” emerges.”




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Quiz: Do teens have poor judgment?
          a. No
          b. Yes
          c. It depends
    c. is correct!
    Take the research with
     a grain of salt




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Teen developmental tasks
    Adjust to sexually maturing bodies & feelings
    Find a place in the world/an identity
    Meet the demands of increasingly responsible roles & responsibilities
    Develop:
       Abstract thinking skills
       Coping skills (decision-making, problem-solving, conflict resolution)
       Moral standards, values & belief systems

            adapted from Raising Teens: A Synthesis of Research and a Foundation for Action, by
               A. Rae Simpson, Ph.D. (Center for Health Communication, Harvard School of Public
                                                                                        Health)




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All this, and homework, too!




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Plus, they don’t get enough sleep.
    60 % of high schoolers
     report extreme daytime
     sleepiness.
    25% admit their grades
     have dropped because
     of it.
    Only 5% of high
     schoolers get 8 hours
     of sleep per night.


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Teen developmental stages and tasks




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Early adolescence
                                                        Puberty starts earlier
                                                        Friends: crucial
                                                        Parents: not so much
                                                        Wants more
                                                         independence
                                                        Concern about self and
                                                         appearance: “most
                                                         embarrassing
                                                         moments”
                                                        Testing limits

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What this means for us
    Allow them to „save face‟ with peers, adults
    Build self-esteem
    Practice a „poker face‟
    Be patient
    Don‟t assume you can tell their age, ethnicity or
     gender
    Don‟t assume their question is (or isn‟t!) for an
     assignment
    Don‟t take it personally!

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Middle Adolescence
                                                        Develops sense of values &
                                                         morality
                                                        Takes risks
                                                        Experiments with self image
                                                        Less self-absorbed
                                                        Makes own decisions
                                                        Sexually aware
                                                        Intellectually aware
                                                        Interests & skills mature



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What this means for us
            Greet them & check in
            Follow up
            Don‟t be fazed by their appearance
            Be consistent: they‟re very aware of
             what‟s fair
            They‟re looking for adult role models –
             you???


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Late adolescence
                                                        View world idealistically
                                                        Become involved with world
                                                         outside school & home
                                                        See themselves as equal to
                                                         adults
                                                        Set goals
                                                        Seek to firmly establish
                                                         independence




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What this means for us
    They‟ll expect to be treated as adults
    Work with them in service planning,
     volunteering, helping with programs for
     younger kids
    They‟ll be interested in career/college info –
     really anything that concerns their future and
     what they might do with it


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Young adulthood
                                                        More complex thinking
                                                        Appreciation for diverse
                                                         views
                                                        Emotional regulation
                                                        Increased understanding of
                                                         constructive criticism
                                                        Able to weigh the impact of
                                                         their choices on others




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What this means for us
    “Rental car companies have it right”:
          Brain isn‟t fully mature at 16 (driver‟s license)
          Or 18 (voting age)
          Or 21 (drinking age)
          Closer to 25 (able to rent a car)
    Teen services shouldn‟t end at high school
     graduation
    Library staff continue to have an important
     and evolving influence
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The Role of Developmental Range




    No one – regardless of age – operates at her or his “developmental
     best” all the time
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What Helps, What Gets in the Way
    “Hot” vs. “cold” cognition: emotions affect
     our thought processes
    Sleep deprivation: we need sleep
    Surroundings: we do better in familiar
     surroundings (think about how familiar teens
     are or aren‟t with the library)
    Practice: makes perfect
    Support: modeling, taking an interest,
     mentoring, working alongside
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...time for a break...




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Positive youth development
    Libraries nationwide are adopting a positive youth
     development approach to working with teens

    Youth Development is an entire field of study

    Build teens‟ strengths, don‟t define them as “at risk”

    Provide teens with both challenges and supports



                                information adapted from JT Fest Consulting
                                                             www.in4y.com

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Every person has innate resilience.
“the happy knack of being able to bungee jump through the
   pitfalls of life” – Andrew Fuller, psychologist




                 Resilience can be supported or inhibited
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Risk factors
          Neglect, poverty, domestic violence, physical/sexual
           abuse, family separation/conflict, drug/alcohol use/abuse,
           school performance problems
          Some teens you see are dealing with some of these risk
           factors
          You can‟t tell which teens by looking




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Protective factors
    Environmental influences that foster and support
     young people‟s resilience




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Protective factors
         1. Caring and Supportive Relationships
                Caring: being concerned or interested
                Supportive: willing to act as a resource
                Relationships: a defined association
                         Boundaries must be clear and appropriate




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Protective factors
         2. High Expectations
                Belief in a young person‟s potential and ability
                We all tend to live up to -- or down to -- what
                 others expect of us.
                Even if you‟ve had a negative experience with a
                 teen, don‟t let that color future experiences: give
                 them the chance to change




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Protective Factors
    3. Opportunities for participation Participation
     = taking an active role
          Create youth/adult partnerships
          Not just about the benefits we get from youth – it‟s
           about the benefits youth get from participating




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Three Keys to Youth Participation
    Legitimacy
    Relevance
    Clarity




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Teen Opportunities @ Our Library
    Volunteering
          Short-term:
                 For single events (Día de los Niños)
                 Teen Community Service Crew
          Longer-term:
                 Summer Reading
                 Teen Council
                 As youth members of the Library Board
    It’s important to make both short and long
     term opportunities available
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We want programs and services that
contribute to teens’ developmental assets
    Building blocks that help young people
     grow up healthy, caring, & responsible.
    Internal assets=part of the young
     person‟s self-image
    External assets= from the community –
     that‟s where we fit!

    Some examples:
          Community values youth
          Youth as resources
          Service to others
          Adult role models
          High expectations
          Creative activities
          Youth programs

Full list of 40 Developmental Assets:
www.search-institute.org,



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Teen Behavior
     “The children now love luxury. They have bad
     manners, contempt for authority, they show
     disrespect for adults, and love to talk rather than
     work or exercise. They no longer rise when adults
     enter the room. They contradict their parents,
     chatter in front of company, gobble down food at the
     table, and intimidate their teachers.”
                                          - Socrates (469-399 B.C.)




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                  dealing with tough
                       situations


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Tips for Confronting Challenging
Behavior
    In private, if possible. Take the offender(s)
     aside, “Can I talk to you for a minute?”
    Explain the situation.
    Ask for their perspective. Then listen!
    Summarize (“This is my understanding” and
     “this is what we‟re gonna do.”)
    “You have a choice.” (e.g. to change the
     behavior or leave.)
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Four R‟s for Handling
Disruptive Behavior

 Relationships
 Rules
 Reactions
 Respect

     adapted from Connecting Young Adults and Libraries




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Relationships: Make Contact
    You don‟t need to be a “teen person”
          just say hello
          Learn their names and tell them yours
    Stereotypes go both ways
          angry loud teen vs. old boring librarian
    Get to know groups of teens
          engage the leader
          as you gain mutual respect, the leader will help the group
           self-manage
    Developing rapport smashes the stereotypes

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Rules…
    Apply to everyone – not just teens!
    Focus on behavior, not the person
    Enforce fairly, firmly, consistently
          Don‟t debate
          Don‟t escalate
          But don‟t hesitate to exclude, if the situation calls
           for it



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Reactions (yours)
    Listen first
    Keep your cool: breathe!
    Remember it‟s not personal
    Keep your sense of humor
    Get help/backup if you need it
    Empathize: remember your own experience



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RESPECT
    Give it
    You‟ll be much more likely to get it




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Further information and resources
    Contact:
      Sara Ryan, Teen Services Specialist: sryan@multcolib.org

      Ellen Fader, Youth Services Director: ellenf@multcolib.org




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