FamilyLightsm: Successor to Bridge to Understanding
Children, teenagers, and even adults tend to learn and be influenced more by what they see others do than what they are told. Students and clients in schools and programs are guided more than anything else by what they see others do. That is reason enough to insist upon staff of programs consistently maintaining behaviors to be imitated. However, when young people are subjected to exposure to their leaders engaging in behaviors they are trying to shake, that is unduly painful and disrespectful, in addition to the negative teaching that is involved.
This leads to two points of concern: Staff of programs need serve as positive role models for the kinds of behaviors we want students / clients to learn. On the other hand, staff members need to avoid behaviors that would tend to trigger a desire for negative behaviors they are moving away from.
This refers not just to therapists, but to teachers, front line workers who supervise recreation and living arrangements, administrators, managers, clerical staff, housekeeping staff, maintenance, transportation, security, and visiting owners / investors. Especially, it refers to relief staff for overnight, weekends, and holidays. In other words, everybody. For brevity we refer to all of these people as staff in what follows. This calls for training people and holding them strictly accountable, not just in their specific areas of expertise but in appropriate interaction with and in view of students / clients.
As positive role models, at minimum, we want to see people associated with schools and programs treating each other with respect and exhibiting behaviors appropriate to healthy families.
As responsible adults we want all people associated with schools and programs to avoid triggering behaviors students / clients are being guided away from. For examples we refer to things we have seen and heard about while visiting programs and getting reports from others. If smoking is not allowed among students / clients, we don’t want to see or hear about staff smoking in the presence of students or under conditions where students / clients would be affected. A smoking area for staff is not acceptable. Students / clients do not experience evidence of smoking. Staff members who smoke need to shower and change all clothing, and get smoke off their breath after smoking and before encountering students / clients.
Checklist for guidelines and perhaps further detail to be developed
Feedback is invited. We will publish selected feedback. Email FamilyLightResponse@yahoo.com
Disclaimer: No program review, no matter how positive, is a blanket endorsement. No criticism is a blanket condemnation. When we express our level of confidence in a school or program, that is our subjective opinion with which others might reasonably disagree. When we assert something as fact, we have done our best to be accurate, but we cannot guarantee that all of our information is accurate and up to date. When we address compliance with our guidelines, you need to remember that these are only OUR guidelines -- not guidelines from an official source. We have also set the bar very high, and do not expect any school or program to be in total compliance. It is not appropriate to draw a conclusion of impropriety (or even failure to live up to conventional wisdom) from our lack of confidence in a school or program or from less than perfect conformity to our guidelines. Some will say we expect too much. Readers are responsible for verifying accuracy of information supplied here prior to acting upon it. We are not responsible for inaccuracies.
Last revised 10-13-08; minor edits 2-7-09
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