Youth Develop a Postivite Self Concept
One of the most important things you can do as a Project
Helper is to help youth you work with develop a positive self concept.
Self concept is who we think we are, the picture we have
of ourselves, plus the picture we think others have of us. Self concept plays
an important part in our overall wellness. It affects the ways we look at our
body, how we express ourselves and interact with our friends, and it even influences
how we make decisions. The potential for a positive self concept lies within
each of us. Self concepts can be changes. They are not carved in stone.
A person with a positive self concept does not necessarily
have more skills than a person with a poor self concept. But having a positive
self concept helps when youth are faced with today's critical health issues.
Therefore, one of the most important things you can do as you work with youth
is help them develop a positive self concept. Here are a few tips to start you
on your way.
1. Focus on the INDIVIDUAL
- Treat each youth's ideas with respect and help them treat
others with respect.
- Identify and recognize each youth's strengths. Every
level of the Foods Curriculum has activities that help youth recognize their
self worth uniqueness. As youth do these activities, make a conscious effort
to reinforce those unique qualities.
- Listen to your ears and your heart. Use facial expressions,
eye contact, and body language that says, "I'm listening, because I know
it is important to you."
- Take the time to recognize each youth. "I'd like
to give a special award to Tyson, who was always willing to stick around and
help clean up after meetings."
2. Facilitate SELF-PRAISE
- Help youth learn how to use self-praise. Self-praise
is not bragging. It's comparing your own accomplishments to your past performance.
Look at these two examples:
Bragging: "I can run faster than anybody else in our group!"
Self-praise: "I feel very good about my running skills. I'm improving
- Set an example by saying nice things about yourself.
3. Promote inidvidual
RESPONSIBILITY FOR CHOICES.
- Help youth realize that they have control over what gets
done. Work with them to develop a time management plan.
4. Help youth set REALISTIC
- Encourage youth to only take on what they can reasonably
accomplish. Don't let them set themselves up for failure by taking on more
than they can complete.
- Encourage youth to break down large project goals into
5. Emphasize the POSITIVE.
- Be sure to include behaivor when you praise a youth.
"The group really liked the activity you led." "You have some
good leadership qualities," NOT JUST "You did a good job."
- Give I-You meesages. An I-message contains:
- a specific behavior or event
- the effect that behavior has on the individual, and
- the feeling that resulted.
"I'm so proud of you. You went the extra mile by helping Jennifer
and Sara with that activity."
- Begin constructive criticism with a positive message
6. Establish a warm,
- Make your project meeting place an inviting place with
music playing and activities for youth as they arrive.
- Make every member feel welcome and show that you are
glad he or she came.
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