Building Self-Esteem in At-Risk Youth: Peer Group Programs and Individual Success Stories

Building Self-Esteem in At-Risk Youth: Peer Group Programs and Individual Success Stories

Building Self-Esteem in At-Risk Youth: Peer Group Programs and Individual Success Stories

Building Self-Esteem in At-Risk Youth: Peer Group Programs and Individual Success Stories

Synopsis

This book discusses peer group programs and long range community efforts to rehabilitate street youth, gang members, and other youth who have low self-esteem, come from dysfunctional families, and are failures in school and society in general. Through his experience and workshops, Frank has found ways for these youth to deal with their rage and shame in a productive, effective, and edifying manner. The author shows how behavior and attitude improve when the youths learn to curb their feelings of inadequacy by building positive self-esteem. This will be an excellent tool for educators, counselors, social workers, and others concerned with troubled adolescents.

Excerpt

Crime is the expression of a human soul which is still fighting against other's domination while failure, as in school, represents a soul already defeated.

A. S. Neill

In the famous draft riots in New York City during the American Civil War, the New York Times admitted that the actual rioting had little to do with the draft. "It was actually a craving for plunder, a barbarous spite against a different race" (Tunley 1962, 99). It was reported that three fourths of the participants were in their teens. The police were unable to cope with the gangs, which were so numerous that it took five minutes for all of them to pass one spot in the stampede.

About two years ago, in April 1992, I attended a special workshop sponsored by A Chance for Youth, a federally contracted outreach program to help high-risk youth in Oklahoma City learn survival skills. At that workshop, Dr. Belinda Biscoe, a nationally known psychologist, explained to staff members and volunteers how peer group pressures compel teenagers to commit crimes against the public, to inflict damage on themselves with drug addiction, and to strike out at adults of other races or even their own peer groups in order to spill out the anger of their shame.

As many concerned parents and grandparents ponder how to raise children in the 1990s, they realize that one half of our teenage children are at risk at more than the normal level. Even when there are two functioning parents, there remain potential difficulties because of low self-esteem, school phobia, and experimentation with drugs and alcohol.

The book, How to Find Help for a Troubled Kid (Austin and Reaves 1990, 3), presents dynamite statistics, such as that one and a half million American teenagers are arrested every year for offenses ranging from murder to truancy; nearly a million and a half run away from home . . .

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