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Using Your Trauma-Sensitive Lens

Some youth have adverse experiences that affect how they mature and relate to the world. Mentors can use these tips to buffer against challenging behaviors. These strategies help create an environment of safety, and over time, by reinforcing new neural pathways, they can help a child learn healthy ways to manage stress.

  • Try to not take things personally. Behavior is a message.
  • Think about providing affirmations in a ratio of at least 5:1, that’s five affirmations to one redirection.
  • Avoid blaming. Reframe situations as relational/contextual difficulties, not as personal failures.
  • Convey hope and empowerment.
  • Acknowledge mistakes and find healthy ways to move on.
  • Be an advocate for your mentee.
  • Stay healthy. To this end, consider: having realistic expectations for yourself, taking breaks, staying hydrated, treating yourself to rewards, acknowledging something positive in each session, checking in with your feelings, letting go at the end of the day, knowing that you’re doing your best. Nice work! These kids need your presence 🙂



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