Mentoring experience??

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    difficult child is getting "therapuetic mentoring" but these aren' therapists or social workers providing it. I was told they were to help him transition back to the community, monitor him and report aboout him to the PO, and take him out to do fun things sometimes.

    I just spoke with the super of the mentor to schedule our first appointment. She said they try to be consistent with the schedule once it's set up. difficult child is to get 7 hours per week, split between 3-4 days a week. It's not a situuation where difficult child can call and talk to the mentor between appts if he's having a bad day or needs someone to talk to. I asked about activities and who cover costs- she said they have a very low budget so try to do free things. She said they take the kid to the library or park or something like that to have "sessions" and work with them on the kid's goals, the PO's goals and my goals. Then report monthly to the PO on whether or not difficult child has been compliant and is reaching the goals.

    How much different is this from typical mentors? Does anyone know what type of goals they are talking about? If it's not a therapist, what kind of goals are appropriate for a situation like this? Coping skills and peer relationships? I wan't difficult child to be able to make appropriate friends and integrate back in with mainstream kids, and difficult child does too. Can they help with that? How on earth do you meausre some of these things?
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Goals on these things are written much like IEP goals are written.

    With 7 hours I imagine you will get 3 days with about 2 hours and 20 minutes a day. That is doable. Try for a MWF schedule. Easy to remember.

    I think a doable or attainable goal would be written up something like:

    "difficult child will engage in pro-social activities with mentor with emotional and age appropriate behaviors for 75% of the time for the next 2 weeks"

    You can increase the percentage of time as he improves. Next go to 80, then 90. No one is perfect!
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    She says they are going to find out difficult child's interests (I assume to use as a reward) and eaach of our goals for this. Can they help integrate him back with peers somehow? If they are supposed to be helping transition him, I don't see how this is doing that- or is that another BS phrase just to get the parent to buy into it? What kind of goals should I throw out?
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Any of difficult child's interests that are legal, social and promote his transition into the community can be goals and rewards.

    Say difficult child enjoys rollerblading and video arcades.

    The pro-social activity's that could be goals would be that difficult child would be going rollerblading or to the video arcade with the mentor where they would be in this social area and difficult child would be expected to behave in such a way that he would be able to maintain this for xxx amount of time. If he had to be removed then his time would be over and he would come home.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well how do they do that if they only go to free places and don't include his friends or do things that allow difficult child to make more friends? She said they just meet or go for walks and talk. So if he has a goal of meeting new friends for example, does that mean we just have to do that on our own time, then they report that as moving toward the goal after difficult child talks to them about it?

    You know that previous in home therapy that the old PO wanted for us used a method where they dealt with problems by repetitievly induced the stressor the family had until the family "go it right" by dealing with it in a way they considered appropriate. If I tell these people I want them to work on coping skills with difficult child, are they going to intentional try to trigger an explosion until he stops? Because they won't be the ones he explodes on- he'll hold that in until we are alone.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ok, I have no idea exactly how these people are going to do this because I dont work for them. I know what I would think would happen from what you are saying and what I am extrapolating from it.

    Now if you want to talk about coping skills, then what I would consider talking to someone about is something called WRAP. I am working on this myself right now. It is a pretty good program. I could scan the worksheets and email them to you.

    About Wellness Recovery Action Plan® (WRAP®)

    WRAP works! It has been developed by a group of people who experience mental health challenges. These people learned that they can identify what makes them well and then use their own wellness tools to relieve difficult feelings and maintain wellness. The result has been recovery and long-term stability. Your WRAP program is designed by you in practical, day-to-day terms and holds the key to getting and staying well. It does not necessarily replace traditional treatments and can be used as a compliment to any other treatment options you have chosen.
    In developing your own WRAP, you'll identify the wellness tools that will most benefit you and will learn how to use these tools when needed, every day or when you have particular feelings or experiences. WRAP will help you monitor and relieve uncomfortable and distressing feelings and behaviors and identify your best course of action. WRAP planning also includes Crisis Planning (an Advance Directive) that lets others know how you want them to respond when you cannot make decisions, take care of yourself, or keep yourself safe, and a Post Crisis plan to guide you through the often difficult time when you are healing from a crisis.
    WRAP is developed by you. You choose who assists and supports you whether they are family, friends, or health care providers as you work on your own plan.
    WRAP has a broad applicability. It has been found to work well for people who have other medical conditions and life issues and as a framework to guide interpersonal relationships, peer support, groups, agencies, and organizations.

    Key elements of WRAP:

    • Wellness Toolbox
    • Daily Maintenance Plan
    • Identifying Triggers and an Action Plan
    • Identifying Early Warning Signs and an Action Plan
    • Identifying When Things Are Breaking Down and an Action Plan
    • Crisis Planning
    • Post Crisis Planning.
    WRAP is designed and managed by you and is designed to:

    • decrease and prevent intrusive or troubling feelings and behaviors
    • increase personal empowerment
    • improve quality of life
    • assist you in achieving your own life goals and dreams.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I've been reading about the mentoring online. It looks like they don't actually take the kid out to do the "goals" like interacting with other peers. They just talk to them about how to do it and then basicly make them do it, report their own further recommendations to the PO and so forth. 7 hours a week seems like an awful lot to me for this kind of stuff- what am I missing? After reading it, I'm going to have to think of a couple of goals that we can give them that don't dig ourselves in too deep or are unrealistic to accomplish in 3 months while difficult child is transitioning back into school- maybe tthat is what I should tell them- they we overloaded ourselves before between my work schedule and mental health appts, etc and since it lead to him shutting down, our goal is to have a more realistic schedule that doesn't keep us in a rush all the time and allows him some free time, once allowed by PO. How's that? I would like for him to integreate with appropropritae peers though- I just don't see how they can really help with that and not just make it a requirement but then us have little time left to do it or know how to go about it, since difficult child isn't into sports- oh I know- he wants to stay in JROTC- maybe I can use that somehow. Do they ever do extraciricular activities outside of school hours?
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Another thought- I can probably tell them about my and difficult child's plan to have a family night and period each week to discuss any issues. That might fit into what they are looking for. Thanks for that info- that will be helpful for us to use at home, I think.

    We have an available therapist that difficult child saw before if he needs further therapuetic care- will it help to let them know these things have already been thought about? I'm just looking at it like I don't see what they can really help with if they aren't doing traditional mentoring and they aren't tdocs and don't directly provide the things you want the kid to provide- a role model to actually go places with him and do fun things, etc, but maybe I'm wrong. If they are really just to let the PO know that difficult child has constructive things going on and is trying to behave and I'm handling things appropriately, then it seems like maybe it's best to use the thiings difficult child and I have already planned as our goals so they can see what they are and they are easy to verify.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2010
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    what are difficult child's interests?

    What are difficult child's triggers for problems or outbursts?

    What helps calm difficult child down?

    What kind of schedule do you think your little family needs?

    What can be in your (difficult child's tool box) to help him cope when things become stressful?

    I can give you a list of common triggers. I can give you a list of common coping skills. I can give you a list of things that mostly need to be done on a daily basis to keep one healthy.

    Would that help?
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    yeah- thanks! difficult child plans to develop an exercise plan for himself- that should help. I need ideas for him overloading due to stress or anxiety or feeeling unaccepted by peers- he gets his feelings hurt real easy. I don't want rthem using "conditioning" though and trying to help him by mcontinuously doing it.
  11. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    My son has a "principles coach" at his Residential Treatment Center (RTC) -- in effect, a mentor. This mentor is not a trained therapist, but certainly aware of the reasons why my son was placed at his Residential Treatment Center (RTC). His mentor takes him out to play catch, shoot baskets, go hiking, grab a drink at Starbucks, buy clothing if my son needs it (on our dime), or anything else my son wants to plan. The purpose is for my son to have another adult in his life to bond with and share his thoughts with. This mentor will be available to my son by phone when he leaves his Residential Treatment Center (RTC)

    We've been told that the first three months out of placement are the most critical to get through to prevent relapse and that the more positive role models a teen in trouble can be surrounded by, the less likely relapse will occur. I'm wondering if that is why this mentoring program is being set up.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ok- I think I'm getting a better understanding of it. I was always agreeable with difficult child having a mentor- I just thought it would either be one that focused more on a role model who did more fun things with him and things he needed help with- like homework if he needed it- or one who could help more with therapuetic stuff instead of just ordering that we go do it. But this still could be helpful, at least it doesn't appear to be counter-productive. It still seems to make sense to give them the things difficult child have been discussing lately because if we give them a different list, we'll be stuck trying to figure out how to do both. I'll have to tell difficult child to be thinking of some free stuff he likes to do- he isn't into team sports but he used to like to pass football. He's gotten into reading at Department of Juvenile Justice- that could be a trip to the library and a good discussion if they will go as far as letting difficult child tell them about the book. I think they use that sort of thing as a reward.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The Wellness Toolbox

    from Wellness Recovery Action Plan ™ (WRAP)
    The seven steps of developing a WRAP plan begin with selecting tools that will go in your Wellness Toolbox. These are activities that you enjoy or that help you feel better; that you may have used in the past or would like to use in the future. Some of them are simple things like brushing your teeth, combing your hair, or making your bed. Others may be things like getting together with a friend or taking your dog for a walk. I have a long list of them. Your list may be short to start and then get longer as you discover more and more things that help you feel better. You can keep these tools handy to maintain your wellness or to help you feel better when you are not feeling well.

    Some Common Wellness Tools are:

    eat three healthy meals per day
    take a nap
    play with my dog
    write in a journal
    make my bed
    do something nice for someone else
    watch a video
    listen to music
    see my counselor
    ask for a medication check
    make music

    dink plenty of water
    avoid caffeine, sugar and junk food
    get exposure to sun

    List some of your Wellness Tools
    (You will think of many others as you continue to work on your WRAP)

    In developing your own WRAP, you'll identify the wellness tools that will most benefit you and will learn how to use these tools when needed; every day or when you have particular feelings or experiences. WRAP will help you monitor and relieve uncomfortable and distressing feelings and behaviors and identify your best course of action.



    Anniversary dates of losses or traumas
    traumatic news or events
    too much to do or feeling overwhelmed
    family friction
    relationship ending
    spending too much time alone
    being judged, criticized, teased or put down
    financial problems
    physical illness
    sexual harassment
    hateful outbursts by others
    aggressive=sounding noises
    being around someone who has treated you badly

    Coping skills

    Refer to your wellness toolbox and make a plan.

    Your plan might include:

    Make sure I do everything I need to do daily to maintain health.

    call a support person and asking them to listen while I talk through the situation

    do a half hour relaxation exercise

    write in my journal

    exercise for 30 minutes

    play the piano or work on a fun activity for an hour.
  14. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    Mentoring is essentially building a relationship of trust that a kid has with an older person. It helps the kid to open up and promotes thinking and communication skills that chllenging kids lack. Too often kids find themselves in a cat-mouse situation trying not to get into trouble , being closed , feeling controlled, manipulated etc. A good mentor uses dialog questions and listening to get the child to speak - he is a listener and the child speaks , he justs asks questions , helps kids explore issues without blame and being unconditionally accepted . This is essemntially what CPS - colaborative problem solving is about. Mentoring can be described also as - personal coaching . The goals are the kids , not imposed , what he can feel he can handle and the rest is done in a collaborative way. Using rewards et undermines the unconditional and more democratic relationship between mentor and child , factors essential for success.

    I recommend mentors, older brother/sisters , buddy-tutors for all kids. I also believe that the mentoring dynamic is one that parents should adopt
    Good luck

  15. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Sounds like Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) (independent living skills) that the tweedles utilize 9 hours/week. It's, in my humble opinion, a good program.

    It's very low cost to us as well.