The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Teacher Lesson Return to "Her Hitting Taught Me Violence, Not Discipline"
Her Hitting Taught Me Violence, Not Discipline
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Freewrite and Discussion: 15 minutes
Make sure everyone has a pencil and paper. Introduce the idea that what happens to us when we are children shapes our behaviors and feelings as we get older. Ask everyone to fold their piece of paper in half and then unfold it. On the left-hand side, ask them to write down something that happened in their childhood that they think had a lasting impact on them. It could be a one-time event, like “a dog bit me when I was 6,” or something ongoing, like “My mom was always yelling at us.” On the right-hand side, ask them to write down how they think that event/s from the past still affect them today (e.g., “I’m still afraid of dogs,” or, “I get nervous when people yell and look for friends who are calm.”) Give them five minutes to write. Invite anyone who wants to share to read their connection aloud.

Read the Story: 10 minutes
As a group, read, “Her Hitting Taught Me Violence, Not Discipline” by E.F. aloud, taking turns. Let teens pass if they don’t want to read.

See the story: "Her Hitting Taught Me Violence, Not Discipline"

Discussion: 15 minutes
Ask for examples of how her mom’s violence affected E.F. [In the 2nd grade she was suspended twice for violence against others; she had to lie at school; even after she moved away from her mom and in with her grandmother, she still got in trouble for being disruptive; she felt suicidal.]

Ask what helped E.F. to change her ways. [She went to therapy and realized how her mom’s violence had affected her; she found love and support from her grandmother; she took deep breaths to avoid fighting when she was mad; she joined after-school clubs and activities; she stood up to her mom to defend her younger siblings.]

Closing: 10 minutes
Ask if they, or a friend or family member, ever figured out something that helped them change their behavior like E.F. did. How did they do it? Point out that it can be very hard to see patterns in one’s own life, and that a therapist can help them understand and start to change behavior they don’t like. E.F. made all her discoveries and self-improvements with the help of a good therapist.

Ask them to write down one behavior or habit they have that they would like to understand better. What can they do to help figure it out?
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