Teens and Boundaries

8. Your impulse is to give teens cash, food, a ride, a place to stay… (Velasquez, p 108)

9. Teens want to say hello by hugging you. (Velasquez, p. 109)

Boundaries are important in any professional atmosphere, ESPECIALLY when you’re dealing with minors. It’s important for teens to see you as a person they can turn to for help, and luckily for librarians, one of the ways we can help is by connecting the teens to different resources. I personally think that the harder issue is how to handle teens who clearly need assistance in accessing these resources but don’t express a desire for them. It can be obvious to you that a teen is homeless or in an abusive home situation, but unless they ask you for help your hands are tied. I feel that Velasquez could have addressed those situations as well with these questions.

As for the hugging, I think that this doesn’t really merit an individual question, but I am also the kind of person who is not a fan of touching. It’s against the rules, so don’t do it. I think Velasquez’s maneuver is a little dramatic and would make things more awkward than if you just said to the teens “I can’t hug you, it’s inappropriate and against the rules.” Teens are old enough to understand that there are rules, and in my opinion, this is less uncomfortable than doing an elaborate maneuver and making a forced joke.

References

Velasquez, J. (2015). Real-world teen services. Chicago: ALA editions.

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