PERSONAL IMPRESSIONS REGARDING THE WORK OF THE SOS LINE (AUTHOR: VERA GLATKOVA, PSYCHOLOGIST)
I learnt about working with children from children, including myself at that stage of my personal development. Children can be the best teachers, they know how to grow how to evolve how to learn, feel, discover, laugh and cry, seethe with anger. They know what’s good for them, what they need … They are full of energy and strength blesses with the capacity to love. What they need is space … if that space is not available they keep things inside, get blocked and paralyzed … in this case it’s hard for them to grow and feel confident.
It seems to be that they are right when complaining that adults don’t understand them, ignore them, don’t accept them or respect them; they don’t tolerate them, they reject them or refuse to take them seriously. Throughout my talks with them I’ve discovered that they are much more reasonable and wiser than we give them credit for. Many young people are confused by contradictory messages they receive from adults - and all this blocks them and decrease their capabilities.
Many of their parents don’t accept the fact that their “baby” is growing up, they are afraid to let go - though they are aware of the fact that this is inevitable. It’s even harder for them to deal with setbacks/successes in their children’s lives, their choice of friends, and their plans for their future. It’s impossible for them to keep track of their children’s love lives, or whether they drink, smoke, take drugs, etc. The only thing they can do is tell their child their own viewpoint, they can ask for their help in running the household, they can set down rules they consider important, they can show their child that they are here to love and support, that they are here to help it grow up - but not by being over-protective, by sheltering it from all evil - but by teaching it how to look after itself. They can react to positive changes and act accordingly. Parents need to start seeing their children as what they are: equal human beings.
All of us together, the entire community, owe our children support to make them feel stronger, so that they can see the world around them the way it is, so that they obtain enough strength to make the choice they like - and so that they can see when they can achieve the desired objective and when not.
OR WHY THE VOLUNTEERS AT SOS TELEPHONE
DO NOT OFFER ADVICE
One of the basic principles of the work of the SOS telephone service is avoiding offering advice. Although this principal may not make any sense to the inexperienced reader, it does have its justification and explanation in psychological theory and the experiences in working with people who looking for help. Without intent to go into the theoretical elaboration of the problem, I will mention several principles that make consultation inappropriate.
First of all, consultation is impractical because seldom will someone act upon the offered advice. The person who gives the advice may be and quite often is experienced as a parental authority, which results in the frequent rejection of this advice, regardless of its content. There is an old saying "A mature man is a man who acts according to his beliefs, even when is behavior is in concordance with the advice of his parents.
Consultation has one more characteristic and due to which it is not practiced. Namely, offering advice relieves the receiver of this advice of any responsibility, whereby the whole responsibility falls upon the adviser, something that goes against the objective of the SOS telephone conversation.
Due to these key principles, the volunteer of SOS telephone service, instead of giving advice, are required to emphasize with the problems of callers, to point out choices for solving these problems and offer support.
As a coordinator and supervisor, I had to put a lot of though regarding the question: what to write for the handbook about the work of SOS telephone services which is to be published in December 1998. I understood my duty through the obligations that I have. Unfortunately, I needed more time to realize that there should not be any dilemma as to what the subject of my writing would be. Or, I had forgotten of the volunteer. The person who comes in the premises of the First Children's Embassy in the World dedicating four hours to the problems of other people. I therefore decided to dedicate this text to them, describing one working day of a volunteer.
The volunteer comes to work at 4 PM. He/She takes over the shift of the secretary of the Children's Embassy and takes his/her place beside the phone. He/She then takes out the notebook from the drawer and signs up. And... Waits for someone to call. Someone who is not feeling well and needs a good listener, someone who would simply like to talk about what happened to him/her that day, or someone who has a problem and does not how to solve it. During breaks, between conservation the volunteer has a cup of coffee, listens to music or explains the job to the new volunteer who is in training. The volunteer receives about 4 or 5 telephone calls per day. At 8 PM he/she signs off and goes home. At this point they are exhausted from these activities, being absorbed in the world of the callers often looking for help. Sometimes, however the volunteer goes home happy, relieved, with a smile on his/her face. Then I know that this must be because someone called to say, "You helped me very much." So the volunteer continues to listen and help with hoping that while the member of callers with problems will gradually decrease, the number of those calling to say "You helped me very much."will grow.
(Coordinator & Supervisor/1998y/ at SOS telephone for children and youth)
I already have volunteered at SOS-telephone 3 years. Usually everything goes in normal course, but sometimes I think about anonymity and how to protect it and how to maintain the safety of volunteers at SOS-telephone. It happened many times someone to telephone on SOS-telephone to threaten and terrify us without any particularly reason.
Because our service works at public institution-primary school I would like to take in consideration this problem, because I think it has influence on SOS-telephone work.
(volunteer at SOS-telephone)