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Transcripts of Selected Group Discussions on CYC-Net

Since it's founding in 1997, the CYC-Net discussion group has been asked thousands of questions. These questions often generate many replies from people in all spheres of the Child and Youth Care profession and contain personal experiences, viewpoints, as well as recommended resources.

Below are some of the threads of discussions on varying Child and Youth Care related topics.

Questions and Responses have been reproduced verbatim.

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Socio-emotional development activities in adolescence?

Greetings everyone,

Hope you are well. I have wanted to find out if anyone can help, if they know of any activities that could be used to encourage socio-emotional development in adolescence.

Kind regards.
Pezu Mukwakwa

How about charades? Can even go farther and have cards with emotions on them to act out and guess.
After getting the emotion u can gain more points if you guess definition of that emotion.

Donna Wilson


Any activity that a youth engages in with others; sports, school, groups, hanging out with friends, family, etc can act as a socio-emotional experience. Allowing time for discusion about the activity and the individuals feelings as different engagment occurs will assist the emotional development aspect.

Charlene Pickrem

Hello Pezu,

Social and emotional competence goes hand in hand when it comes to growing and flourishing as a young adult. Youth need to be encouraged to expand their social horizons and skills. When there are social connections being made there will be emotional obstacles to overcome. I work with young ladies between the ages of 13 and 18. I love working on socio-emotional development activities with them. Not only do you learn so much about your clients but you also learn quite a bit about yourself if you choose to engage as well. I believe that a major part of development is having the ability to address your feelings and emotions as well as recognizing who the supports are in your life and why that is. One activity that I think is a great way to promote healthy socio-emotional development is "The Heart Map".

Have your client/clients create a personalized map of their journey in life so far. Using colourful paper and art supplies, have them cut out a heart shape in a large piece of paper for the map. The format of the map should look somewhat like a treasure map having a starting point and a end point. However, this map is more like a personal timeline. Have your client/clients include 3 important people, 3 important places, 3 important memories, and 3 important things in their life. Make sure to have them include a brief description as to why these things on their personal map are important to them. Also, be sure to have a wide variety of art supplies for this activity so that they can make their heart map unique and personal. This activity helps adolescents recognize what meaningful relationships look like. It also helps them recognize who their supports are and why. If your clients are willing to share their personal heart maps after the activity, it can be a great opportunity for deeper conversations and counselling. Adolescence is such critical period of time in a persons life. As Child and Youth Care workers, we must promote healthy relationships and self-awareness.
Hope this helps!

Anna-Marie Laycock
Mount Royal University

Check out these activities called Raccoon Circles. Simple to use but enhance both areas of skills that you are looking for when the facilitator guides participants to reflect on these areas.

Rick Kelly

Hi Pezu,

In response to your question regarding activities that may promote socio-emotional development, I think that the activities may vary depending on the individual. The activities that would be effective for adolescents can depend on the areas of interests and things they are passionate about , the success they achieve in these areas, and the connections they have with others who partake in the activities with them. Positive support and encouragement can also be crucial in a healthy socio-emotional development.

Thus, my advice would be to closely examine what each of the adolescents you are working with enjoy doing, and how well they do with each area of interest they have. With any activities in the areas of interest that they do considerably well in, you could aim to get them engaged with; in the community, school, and in the residence. (eg. sports, games ,art, writing, volunteering). That leaves my answer rather broad, but I hope it helps!

Take Care,
Vanessa MacPhail

Hello Pezu,

Here is an idea and I hope it helps.

Adolescence goes through rapid social-emotional changes. The main characteristics of the changes are: mood swings, exploration for self-identity, experimenting with boundaries, desire for independence, ego-centrism and vulnerability to peer-pressure (GlobalPost, 2014, para. 2-6). The biological changes (hormones) and the lack of ability to predict the consequences, which comes from lack of experiences, are considered as the main reasons for them to go through these changes. However, the variability of timing and intensity of the changes depend on the environment, experience, brain development and genetic predisposition (RasingChildren-Network, 2014, para 1).

The activity is called “Everybody is a Superstar”. The reason why I chose this activity is because adolescents can build self-confidence and sociability through the activity. Here is how the activity goes. Each person writes 5 questions to ask a celebrity on a piece of paper. Have two groups-one is journalists’ group and the other is celebrities’. Each person in celebrities’ group chooses 1 real celebrity. The journalists interview the celebrities asking questions they wrote down. Celebrities can answer any questions unless they don’t reveal who they are. The journalists try and guess the name from the information that they acquired through the interview. After 10 minutes, celebrities disclose their names and the journalists check and see if they guessed right. The groups change the roles and the activity goes on (ehow, 2014, para. 4)

Mi Hwan Park

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