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Consistency is the key to helping kids

Consistent – acting or done in the same way over time, especially so as to be fair or accurate.

Consistency is key in every part of our lives – whether it’s building a new habit or a new relationship – we thrive on routine and stability.

So how does this relate to the kids that we work with? Many children these days don’t have a lot of their basic needs met, including stability in their lives. They feel that the people in their lives are going to leave, they struggle to trust others, and they are constantly on edge. Because of this they may withdraw or lash out and it can be hard to know what to do when this happens.

While I am no expert, I have noticed that simply being there for a child can make a huge difference. This certainly isn’t a “quick fix”, rather a long and steady road, but if you act with consistency and are there for a kid when they need it, you will begin to build a level of trust that will allow them to open up and feel safe around you.

I have personally experienced this with a few children, but I will share two experiences that stand out to me.

– When I first started at Pride Lands there was one kid at the After School Programme who hated me. They didn’t want to listen and loved to insult me. Having never worked with kids before and being new to the workplace I was decently taken aback. I had no clue what to do, so I did nothing. Or so I thought. I was consistent with how I treated them, I listened when they spoke to me, and I remained myself. A year and a half later I actually got a hug from them (trust me this is huge). Turns out that doing what I would consider as nothing, actually did something.

– Later on in my Pride Lands career, I started working as a one-on-one mentor with someone in our Pride in Action Programme. This was someone who struggled in social situations, hated change, and didn’t know how to interact with the world around them. I had never worked one-on-one with someone before and soon found myself frustrated with the progress we were making. This kid was doing amazing, they’d changed a lot in just a couple of months and were beginning to build confidence. My issue was that I didn’t know why. All I was really doing was showing up. Turns out that was enough, just showing up affected this kid in a positive way.

Of course, every kid is different, and consistency is only a small tool in a big toolbox. But if my experience can tell you anything, it’s that it’s an important tool that a lot of others are built on- and you don’t need experience to wield it.