Asking the Right Questions

For so long we have approached our troubled children and teenagers with strategies that use punishment, isolation, or rejection in order to gain control of their behavior. Part of the problem, particularly in our juvenile probation systems, is that we still tend to ask “what is wrong with” the identified teenagers when in fact we need to ask, “what happened to them?” By shifting the question toward this understanding we can come up with more productive and helpful strategies than punitive measures. Even in our educational childcare centers and alternative schools we continue to treat misconduct from a very narrow lens.

Shifting the questions toward more insightful answers

Jennifer Ng'andu portrait
Asking the right questions is a more insightful and productive approach to helping troubled children and teens. (Photo courtesy of

On the Edutopia blog, Jennifer Ng’andu writes this post which features some very valuable information on asking the right questions to begin providing the right kind of services and programs to children and teenagers who are struggling with how to cope in their world.  This post is quite compelling, and it continues to speak to the key issues of evaluating and treating behavior that we often do not explain.

Here is the link to this important post:

I am so pleased to see a growing impetus for new programs, approaches and strategies to help our children. With these more neuroscientific, caring and effective approaches, we are asking  the right questions, evaluating the issues with a sense of true cause and effect, and as a result providing the type of help our children need.

This is a trend that I believe will revolutionize our systems of care for our children and teenagers.

Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network



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