Why can it seem so difficult to engage young people in addressing their violence? Sam Ross suggests that we are starting from the wrong place. If we are to help teenagers understand that aggression is more likely to harm than help them, we have to understand why they hold on to it so tightly in the first place.
Speaking sometimes in the voice of an adult, and sometimes as a teen, Ross has given us a collection of writings (not a manual) to reflect on, whether on your own or as part of a group for supervision or training. It is written for professionals but also valuable for parents, and takes as its central point the mantra that if you try to treat the anger you will always fail: First you must build a relationship.
Examining the usefulness of anger, different types of anger and rage, the issue of sanctions and consequences, and overcoming disengagement, the book is littered with phrases that ring so true you want to print them out and stick them on the walls! “What to do” is a theme running throughout the text, with a reminder that each teen, and each situation, is different and so demands a bespoke response.
Sam Ross, popularly known as the ‘Teenage Whisperer’, has extensive experience in both educational and youth justice settings, having worked with both young people and their parents and carers.
Anger is my friend, by Sam Ross, was first published in 2013 by Teenage Whisperer Press.