I’ve been doing my internship for a little over a month now at the children’s group home in town. It’s been beyond eye opening, emotional, and amazing all at the same time.
Most days I am there, I shadow the youth specialists around with the children. I learn the ins and outs of the group home, the career field, and the children. I’ve learned about the procedures of the group home and how it functions in all aspects. With the career field, I’ve learned what roles you play in the group home with the children in this field, what is expected of you, and everything you have to do. I was able to study all of the children’s backgrounds, learn their schedules, and learn how to handle them with the behaviours they have. There has been so much I have learned so far in the little over a month that I’ve been there. I can’t wait to see what else I will learn during the rest of the 200 hours I will be doing there.
There have been a lot of things that have opened my eyes in many ways. I’ve seen the children being violent towards one another and staff, heard a lot of yelling and arguing, and observed a lot of complete meltdowns that the children have had. Most of the children have a kind of “front” that they have on around everyone. They act tough, try to intimidate everyone, and show off like they are the ruler of the whole wide world. But once in a while, once you’ve been there a while and observe, you can start to see little glimpses of the other side of them. The same child that I seen earlier punch another child, try to destroy public property, and try to intimidate me from the moment I got there in any and every way possible, wanted to be tucked into her bed with a good night hug and be told a bed time story. The same child that was screaming and yelling at the top of her lungs just about all day, swearing every curse word in the book, and being extremely violent towards others was a totally different child on the phone with a family member of hers. Her eyes and face lit up right away when she was able to call her family member and was talking to them like a little child on Christmas morning looking at all the presents under the tree.
One child in particular always gets me every single time I’m there from the moment I knock at the door to the moment I open the door to go home when I’m done. She will try anything and everything to try to intimidate me and scare me. I’ve been called every name in the book, teased about everything about myself, and tried to be pushed over the limit so I will just leave by her. Every time I’m there, it never fails. It always happens even. At first, I was honestly intimidated a bit, especially my first day.
My first day I got to the house and knocked on the front door. I had double checked the address at least three times to make sure it was where I needed to go since on the outside, it looked like a regular normal house that a family lives in. No one answered the first time I knocked so I knocked a few more times. On both sides of the door there are tall big windows and on my third knock, a girl showed up at one of those windows. Right off the bat, she was saying, “Who the fuck are you?,” “You better watch yourself with your ugly bitch ass,” “Watch your back,” etc through the window. Now mind you, she’s a child that is in middle school so I wasn’t too afraid of her or anything but this was only through a window next to the door and I could already hear all the anger, sadness, and all those bottled up emotions in her voice and it got to me a little bit. This girl has never met me before and has all this anger she is directing towards me just because I came to the door and knocked and I’m still only outside of the door. Don’t get me wrong, I expected some behaviours and such but I didn’t think that a child would be this angry at me for nothing right off the bat and direct it all towards me. A youth specialist opened the door for me and we introduced ourselves to each other. In the process of the youth specialist and I doing that, the child had gotten right up to me since I had stepped inside the house and was in my face trying to intimidate me way more. Eventually after the director and her talking, I found out that the child thought I was a child that was going to be living there for now on. With that being said, I kind of understand why she was being how she was with me. In a group home or foster care, you have to protect your space and position in the group home. When another child comes there, they could get more attention, more space, more power, etc so they try to compete in a way to show who is in control to secure their space and position. I thought the child wouldn’t be like how she was with me after she found out I wasn’t a child there but nope, when she was told I was an intern there and will be there for a while, she simply laughed and said, “Good, this means I get to fuck with you more.” Now every time I’m there, she tries to intimidate me even more in every shape and form. It never fails.
At times, it reminds me of things in my past from being in foster care and other past situations. It gets me emotional at times but I know I can’t show it there so I process those emotions when I get home. When the children see by your emotions that they got to you, they act out even more to try and push even more buttons so you have to basically put on a “poker face” and not show any emotion. It’s hard to say the least.
I’ve only been doing my internship for a little over a month now and have learned so much that is very beneficial to me for experience, I can’t wait to see what else I will learn in times coming there. Wish me luck!!