Top Five Reasons to Work with Troubled Youth

Working with troubled youth as a child psychologist, youth sponsor, social worker or friend can be exhausting and thankless work. Why would someone choose to work in such a job? After all, the pay is usually nothing or next to nothing, the hours are often long and unpredictable, and sometimes you don’t even get to see the end result of all your hard work. Well, there are actually several good and worthwhile reasons why people choose to work with troubled youth, and here are the top five:

1. There’s a Great Need: As the divorce rate soars, drugs and alcohol become more widely available, and TV and songs feature more and more anger and violence, it’s no wonder more teens and young adults feel lost and alone and are taking action against the people and systems they feel have put them in their terrible situation. So one excellent reason to work with troubled teens is that the need is great and growing every day.

2. It’s rewarding: Working with troubled kids is hard. Take all you have and then some more. It’s not your typical nine to five job because when you really care about the kids you’re working with, you’re either constantly thinking about them or almost always available to them. This is exhausting, but it’s also incredibly rewarding to know that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life.

3. It is a learning experience: You would think that working with troubled youth would make you a teacher and the youth a learner, but this is very rarely the case. As with all good relationships, a relationship with an at-risk youth is a give-and-take relationship. Even in the worst of times, working with troubled youth can help you learn to open up, be more patient, and let go of your little anger. In addition to this, working with troubled youth can improve their communication skills, listening skills, and sense of understanding and empathy.

4. It’s never boring: Sitting at a desk all day answering phone calls and shoving papers can be stale in about five minutes. Working with troubled youth, on the other hand, never gets boring. Every day, you have to dig deep to find the strength you need to build strong relationships with troubled youth. Because no two children are the same, and a child can become a different person between Monday and Friday, there’s no telling what to expect either. If you’re sick of doing the exact same thing day after day, working with troubled youth as a full-time job or part-time passion could be a great solution for you.

5. It’s worth it: Unlike some jobs that make you feel like you’re a corporate cog, working with troubled youth allows you to make a real impact in the world, one child at a time. With each life you change, you’re making the world a little better place, making work even more rewarding and interesting.

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