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4 Rules For Youth Engagement - Social Workology

4 Rules For Youth Engagement

  1. Don’t talk down to them (or anyone)
    • Names like honey, sweetie, and dear sound demeaning.
  2. Stop taking sides
    • Sometimes when our youth are telling us something about a teacher or a peer and we may say “but maybe they were just trying to _________”. You are immediately putting up a wall between you and your client.
  3. Be up front about your mandatory reporter status
    • Never try to trick a youth into telling you something. You want disclosures to be voluntary and because they want you to know and help. Forced disclosures are often recanted and can damage relationships.
  4. Respect how they want you to be portrayed to their friends or teachers
    • Some will tell everyone you are their social worker but others will want you to say mentor, friend, or professional. Honor that and as long as it doesn’t impact your professional duties, let them label you as they choose.


As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I often view the world through this lens. Social work shapes how I interact and understand every part of my life. Through social justice, policy, and even my own parenting, I am guided to view the world as a social worker.

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