We know that a wilderness is a place in the great outdoors where troubled teens in particular can commune with nature and hopefully turn their troubled lives around. A no-resistance policy is a method of helping troubled teens by not answering back. Staff members who use this technique do not fight fire with fire.
Some boot camps are well-known for their tough, military-style programs. That rarely works with some teenagers. In fact the defiant teen thrives on the tough approach from the staff. The defiant teen throws the gauntlet right back at their leaders.
So knowing that some kids are troubled and angry deep down inside, many leaders at a wilderness camp will try the softly-softly approach, the no-resistance technique.
After a while the troubled and angry teen realizes that shouting back doesn’t achieve anything. No matter how angry and volatile they become, they do not anger the leader. This leaves the teen with nowhere to go other than to settle down and, if nothing else, to at least stop being angry.
Another plank in the no-resistance platform is to let troubled teens learn from their mistakes. The leaders do not create rigid rules and bark orders. They do not even list consequences if the teens fail to follow the routines. And that is why living in the outdoors is so helpful. A lazy defiant teen who refuses to get up and get going will soon learn that they failed to reach their destination by nightfall. If that means they have to pitch camp in a nasty spot and miss out on the creature comforts further down the line, then so be it. Let the un-cooperative troubled teens discover their mistake. You don’t berate or fight against the teens. You employ the strategy of no-resistance.
So having established that there will be no confrontation or threats from the leaders, the students are then given an explanation on actions and consequences. By showing clear and simple models, the troubled teens learn that they control their own destiny. By planning well and working hard, the teens can achieve certain goals. This in itself brings many benefits. There is no shouting from staff, no promises of punishment only a clear explanation. It is all part of the no-resistance philosophy.
One thing educated and wise adults understand is that the volatile and resistant teen is often making a cry for help. They really want love and order and purpose in their life but don’t know how to achieve same. It might well be because of the home life.
Well that’s where the preachers of no-resistance start to work with the parents of the troubled teen. They explain to the parents what they are doing and why. They help the parents plan strategies to use when the teen returns home. It then becomes a team effort with the follow-up just as important as the lessons learnt on the wilderness camp.
No-resistance is simplicity itself. Leaders use it effectively on wilderness camps and parents can use just as well at home.
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