4 Strategies to De-Escalate Tough Situations with Juveniles
Start writing a post

4 Strategies to De-Escalate Tough Situations with Juveniles

Tense situations with juveniles can be difficult, but there are some solutions to de-escalate the situation.

4 Strategies to De-Escalate Tough Situations with Juveniles

Working with young people is rarely easy, especially in high-stress settings. Whether you're an educator in a high school, a parent dealing with an unpredictable teenager, a social worker, or you work in a facility such as a juvenile detention center, you are going to deal with some tough situations involving kids and teens.

Depending on the situation, de-escalation techniques might end up being critical. You don't want the issue to escalate or to get the authorities involved if possible. It's always better if you have to tools to calm down a young person who is upset, angry, or scared.

The most important thing is to put everyone's safety first. Here are 4 techniques you can use if you find yourself in a difficult situation with a young person.

1. Stay Calm

If you're dealing with a juvenile who is anything but calm, it can be hard to keep your cool. But, it's extremely important to keep your own emotions in check as you work through the situation. Getting emotional will only escalate the situation further.

There are a few techniques you can use to not only appear calm, but to calm yourself down in a tense moment. Your breath will be your biggest asset, as you can perform breathing exercises at any time. Take a few deep breaths before your speak. This will also give you a bit of time to think about what you want to say.

When you do begin to speak, use a low tone of voice and reduce your inflection. In these kinds of situations, you don't want your voice to convey any kind of emotion. If a young person is wound up and ready to escalate, you want to keep things as neutral as possible.

2. Show Empathy

Today, most people who work with young people are familiar with the concept of trauma-informed care. Basically, it means that any care that is provided takes into account the impact trauma may have had on a person's life and behavior.

Trauma can affect a person's sense of self, mental health, and perceptions in many different ways. Even if you haven't suffered from severe trauma, it is important to understand how it can play a role in the lives of young people you work with. Understanding how trauma triggers work and how trauma can show up can give you more empathy and understanding.

Empathy is key in working through difficult moments with juveniles. Even if you are angry, frustrated, or scared, it's important to think about why a young person would be behaving in this way and what could have influenced their behavior. Instead of thinking about your own feelings, try to empathize and connect with the person in front of you.

3. Give Simple, Clear Instructions

Intense situations are not the time for long lectures or vague concepts. If you need to de-escalate a situation with a young person, make your communications as clear and simple as possible. Sometimes, less really is more.

Think about what you want the juvenile to do and give instructions that are easy to follow. Sometimes, all it takes to defuse a difficult moment is to provide direction in a clear, concise, and non-judgmental way.

4. Give the Person Time to Think about the Situation

Many people who work with juveniles don't give them time to think, assess, and respond, especially if they are already part of the juvenile detention system. We all deserve the chance to think through a tough situation, regardless of age or criminal background. We all deserve respect.

If you can, give the young person a chance to cool down and think about the situation critically. They might get out of "fight or flight" mode and see things more clearly. They might be willing to talk calmly about the situation if they've had a chance to think.

Remember: You Don't Have to Fix Everything Immediately

It's easy to go into problem-solving mode in tough situations. But in reality, it's better to work through the immediate problem: de-escalating the situation. Listen and figure out what the main issue is and forget about everything else for the time being.

Once everyone is calmer, you can move on to solving the next problem. Focus on what's really important and stay safe!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Olivia White

"The American flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies from the last breath of each solider who died protecting it."

Keep Reading... Show less

Separation Anxiety in Pets

Separation anxiety in pets is a real thing and recognizing the warning signs is important.


Since March, Covid-19 required most of the world to quarantine in their homes. Majority of people ended up working from home for nearly five months. This meant pet owners were constantly with their pets giving them attention, playing with them, letting them out etc. Therefore, when the world slowly started to open up again and pet owners began returning to normal life work schedules away from the home, pet owners noticed a difference in the way their pet acted. Many pets develop separation anxiety especially during this crazy time when majority people were stuck inside barely leaving the house.

Keep Reading... Show less
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.


The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments