Yes ... D'Oh! ... YET

"As I’m sure you can guess, many of the teenagers don’t mind talking about what they did well, but they often shut down when asked about the frustrations. Although we honor their resistance to sharing, we also invite them to learn grit." Read more...

By John Edmonson, Clinical Group Leader | May 06, 2015
Yes   Doh   Yet

Today’s post comes from Clinical Coordinator and Therapeutic Group Leader John Edmonson, M.S., LPC
 
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I work with 11-14 year olds in a group setting. We typically do activities together as a group and then stop and process the activity. We ask questions such as, “What did you notice during this activity? How did your group work together? Was there a certain leader, or did everyone work together?”
 
A big part of the process is working on personal growth for each member of the group. We talk about the frustrations that came up and how we can avoid them in the future. We also talk a lot about applying these skills to the real world. “How can working together in a relay activity help with the problem you’re experiencing at school? If it was difficult to wait your turn during the relay, what strategies did you try to be patient? Do you think you could try that strategy in your classroom?”
 
As I’m sure you can guess, many of the teenagers don’t mind talking about what they did well, but they often shut down when asked about the frustrations. Although we honor their resistance to sharing, we also invite them to learn grit. Grit isn’t about pretending that things are easy. Grit is about knowing how to keep going when things are hard. So, to make it easier and more fun to talk about their challenges, we turn it into a group activity.
 
Each group member thinks of one example of a success, a frustration, and an area where he/she can improve. They share each of these with the group.
 
When they share the success, the whole group pumps their fists in the air and yells, “YES!”
 
When they share the frustration, the whole group yells, “D’Oh!” (Homer Simpson style!)
 
When they share the area that they could change or needs work, they say, “I’m not good at…” and the group yells, “YET!” (Remember when we talked about yet? Read that post here.)
 
I have noticed that this activity reduces their anxiety and makes it easier for them to share. I did a similar activity when I was a classroom teacher, and my students reported reduced levels of stress and better concentration during tests. Allowing them the opportunity to accept that life is a work in progress makes it easier for them to have grit. We can’t just brush our frustrations and failures under the carpet. We have to acknowledge them and create a safe space for kids to learn from their failures. This group activity is a great way to do that. 

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