A word from MCA Whanau Support


Often when I work with people I will enquire about forward planning and ask, “Where would you like to be in 5 years from now?” For some they are struggling to think about next week and beyond that, for others they have hopes and dreams for themselves and their whanau / family but struggle to get through today’s challenges.     So while you’re working away and pushing forward, here are a couple of things to think about.

¨ LIFE IS A CHOICE— you can choose to live a certain way in a particular place (most times).

¨ LOVE, ANGER, COURAGE, FEAR, STRENGTH, are all choices we make for ourselves.

¨ Choosing to be the BEST or WORST version of ourselves is also OUR choice.

Whichever one you settle for today will shape what you become tomorrow and in 5 years time. The day we accept for ourselves that we do have power in our choices, is the day we take charge of our destiny and design the pathway forward for us.   GOOD CHOICES lead to GOOD OUTCOMES.

We all have a role to play in assisting people make good decisions for themselves: Schools, Social Agency Workers, Local GP, Healthcare workers, as well as our leaders in various communities—faith based, marae, ethnic groups. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER….

Some of the challenges we face when working with families are issues of parental tension in the home, arguing, fighting thus exposing children to violence and abuse. Whether they are in the same room or not at the time, it is important families know “children are still exposed to the abuse” whether emotionally, spiritually or physically. How does this affect them? They struggle to concentrate at school, they might lash out at others, or withdraw from activities. Dependent on the age of the child they will choose what they know to cope with the trauma. You see they are trying to deal with anger, frustration and hurt. Some react differently from others. Some of the young ones I have worked with have either been bullied, or are bullies themselves either in the school grounds or out at the local park, or turn to cyber bullying. They may have poor communication skills, be unable to regulate their emotions, or turn to self-harm as a way of coping with the pain they are internalising. These children don’t have much power to choose a different outcome of their situation, but we can still help them make good choices to keep themselves safe and support them to speak out about their hurt and anger.

So how can we help ?

Rule No. 1. NEVER GIVE UP on our children, they weren’t born bad. They are victims of their situations who need our utmost support. “Ka Hikitia” Accelerating Success 2013-2017 reminds us of this and our responsibility to contribute to that. Rather than immediate suspensions or exclusions we need to work more effectively together sooner, rather than later. The more work we do with children and young people the less we have to fix when they become adults. Schools, community and local agencies need to work together on this. Let’s utilise our resources and skills more effectively.

Rule No. 2 Upskill your team – Ongoing upskilling and training is a must. Trends and challenges change, and so must we to adapt and respond to safety assessments and de-escalation techniques to keep us all safe from harm.

Rule No. 3 Know your limitations – Our work is much more effective when we are not afraid to own our limitations. Good safe work ethics. Personal and professional boundaries are integral. If you don’t know, ask. Resolve any personal issues before working with others — the last thing we need is to watch those who are supposed to be helping, model bad behaviour in front of children, young people and families.

Rule No. 4 Everything is a Choice – for us and those we work with. Take ownership of your choice and empower others to do the same with their own. We might not agree but at least we can discuss openly and honestly the consequences of those choices and negotiate a better plan for all.

Mauri ora Huhana   

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