Help Teens to Help Themselves
Written By: Neil S. Siskind, Esq.


There are countless examples of former or reformed youth and adult offenders who find operating a youth center for troubled youths as their calling. It’s no doubt a cathartic experience and helps one to find forgiveness and, thus, inner peace. Moreover, in giving to others, one focuses less on their own feelings of despair- even if only for the time they are focused on the needs of others.

A teenager headed in the wrong direction can diminish his or her inner struggles by using feelings of pain and experience of loss to help others to cope with their own similar feelings and experiences. This helps teens to acknowledge and manage their own feelings as they address and seek to relate to similarly situated kids. Additionally, it allows the teen to see that there are other youths dealing with the same pain and frustrations as his or her own. Further, it gives the teen a structure and the responsibility to be strong and be an example for others who need the teen’s guidance. It creates a moral responsibility on the part of the teen to live up to his words and obligations to others.

Thus, for therapeutic reasons, structure, dignity and lessons about living up to obligations, take the opportunity to be the male adult in troubled teens’ lives who exposes them to others who have things equally as bad or even worse in order to give them perspective and teach them about the catharsis in helping to repair others- in order to help themselves.