Life Choices

We all make choices every day that impact on our lives. This section is about helping us set some goals, deal with anger, be able to say no and mean it and handle conflict with family, friends or even bosses and teachers.

Making a good choice often starts with getting all the information, both what is good about it and what might be a problem later on. Once you have this you can make an informed decision.

YHES House staff can help you gather all the information you need to make a decision that suits you and your lifestyle. 




Why Set Goals?
Setting a goal is about planning what you want and how you are going to get it. Goals can be long or short term; you might set yourself a goal of getting a list of things done by the end of the day or a long term goal of getting into uni. Setting goals can be a great way to keep you on track and keep you motivated.


When Setting a Goal – Make it Reachable

Think about what you want to achieve and how you might go about getting it done. You may wish to talk to someone you trust and get their ideas too. It can be helpful to have someone to talk with to keep you on track and motivate you along the way. It can also be useful to break a bigger goal down into smaller steps. For example, if your goal is to go back to school you might break this down into first finding out what is out there for your age group, what courses they offer, talk to someone about what course is best suited to you, etc. Each smaller goal will help you stay on track and will help you achieve the longer term goal of getting back into school.


Keeping Focused
Sometimes it can be hard to stay focused, everyday stuff can sometimes get in the way and slow you down. Write down your goals and put them somewhere that you will see them each day to remind yourself what you are working towards. Talking to someone you trust regularly can also help you stay focused. You might want to talk to a friend, someone at school, your counsellor or someone at YHES House


Be Flexible
There is never just one way to get to any goal. Think about other ways of achieving your goal and be prepared to try a few things out along the way. Sometimes you have to go around the block to get next door. If things don't work out the way you have planned, look at how you can get there now. It might take a little longer but if it's something you really want it will be worth it. Don't be too hard on yourself if you don't reach your goal straight away. Sometimes the things that are harder to get are the ones we enjoy the most.


Reaching Your Goal

It can be a great feeling when you finally get there and it's important to celebrate your achievements. Some people reward themselves by doing something they enjoy, buying something special for themselves. You may just want to tell friends and family about your achievement. What ever you decide to do remember how far you have traveled and how great it is to be there. Sometimes after reaching a goal you can feel a little flat, you have spent so much time and efforts trying to get there that when you arrive, you find you don't have anything to think about, focus on. The best thing to do is look at what's next. You might decide to take on another challenge or you might decide your next goal is to give yourself a break for a while and just enjoy your achievement.


For more information follow these links:
Child & Youth Health
Headroom – The Lounge




Anger Can Be Healthy
Anger is a normal healthy emotion that everyone experiences at some time. We can become angry when we see something that is unjust or wrong and it can help us to act on getting it changed. Anger only becomes unhealthy when we express it in a way that hurts others and yourself. Likewise, if you bottle it up and don't express it at all, you may find that it will come out in ways that you didn't expect. There are many ways of expressing your anger.



Managing Your Anger
When you are angry you can sometimes say or do things that you regret later. Finding ways to manage you anger is important. Knowing yourself and when it is time to walk away before you hurt someone or yourself. Its okay during an argument to say I can't talk about this right now, I would like to finish this later when I am calmer and can think clearly. By saying this you are not giving in, backing down or saying they are right. You are saying that it is important to you and that you want to talk about it properly.


When you walk away have strategies to calm yourself down, this might be go for a walk, play video games, kick a ball, play some music or just sit quietly somewhere and think through what ever you are angry about.


Once you have calmed down think about why it made you so angry, was it something that pushed your buttons or was it something that is important that needs to be dealt with. Think about how you can change what is going on. It can be helpful to get another perspective, talking to a good friend or a counsellor can help you see it from a different way.


What if I find it Hard to Manage my Anger?
Sometimes it can be hard to manage your anger and you might find you need a little help. If you find that you are hurting yourself or someone else you need to talk to someone about your anger. A counsellor, trusted friend or talk to the staff at YHES House. If you do go off your head when you are angry, then you have to take responsibility for any damage you cause to people or property. This might mean apologising for your actions and paying for repairs to property. If you don't do this then you are likely to lose friends and the respect of others. If your anger levels are always extreme, try learning some more techniques or try an anger-management course to better understand how to keep your anger under control and express it safely for all concerned.

For more information follow these links:
Child & Youth Health – Learning To Relax
Anger Management .PDF
Headroom – The Lounge – Anger Management




What's the Difference Between Being Angry and Being Assertive?
Often we start out angry about something, but sometimes that's not the best way to get things changed. We usually need someone to listen to us and to take our feelings into account. If we go into something angry often we can't get our point across, people stop listening and only see the anger not the reason behind it.

Being assertive is about having your say, getting people to listen and to understand why you need things to change. It's important if we want someone to listen to us that we also listen to them. It doesn't mean we have to agree with them but we need to give them the same respect that we want them to give us.


What's the Difference Between Being Assertive and Being Passive?
Sometimes it can be hard to be assertive when we feel intimidated by someone, this can sometimes happen with people that we feel have some sort of power over us or have something we really need. Sometimes we find ourself saying "sure no problem", when in our heads we are saying "oh no how did I get myself into this". Being passive is the opposite of being aggressive.


When communicating passively a person often:

  • Is unwilling to express their thoughts and feelings.
  • Misses out on various things.
  • Put others needs and thoughts before their own.
  • Won't participate in group activities.
  • Suffers in silence.
  • Has trouble saying "NO" to people asking them to do something.


People communicating passively often drop hints to try and let people know something that they are too afraid to say straight to them. This is only an effective form of communication if the other person picks up on the hint. Remember people aren't mind readers! Being passive usually won't hurt anyone except the passive person who may feel left out, take too much on, regret the decision or feel unworthy.


So How Do I Be Assertive?

  • Be clear and think about what you want to say about a situation or issue before saying it.
  • It's okay to say how situations or issues affect you – basically how they make you feel.
  • Be clear about what you need changed or how you want things to be.
  • Listen and consider other people's points of view.
  • Say 'yes' or 'no' when you mean it.
  • Learn what to do and what not to do from watching other people.
  • Remember you can't please everybody but you can communicate what you think, feel and need in an honest and assertive way.


You may not always get what you want but at least people will know you have a different point of view and you'll feel better that at least you tried.


Using '' I '' Statments
"I" statements can help you get your point across and get people to listen to you. Often if someone is telling us we haven't done something or that something is our fault, we will get defensive. Our backs go up and it can be difficult to look at it from the other person's point of view. Using "I"statements can help someone to see it from your point of view.

Instead of saying "You are always interrupting me". Using "I" statements you could say – "I get annoyed when you interrupt me because I feel you are not listening to me and what I have to say is not important to you".



Conflict is not always bad, sometimes when you have conflict it results in something being changed, someone then understanding how you feel or something happening to make things better.


What is Conflict?
Conflict seems to happen all the time. Conflict can be over small things like which TV show to watch or larger things like wars over international borders. These situations involve disagreements and that is basically what conflict is – a disagreement between people over differing points of views, needs or issues.

The conflicts you have may not be as serious as war, but if you have ever had to do something you didn't want to, argued with your mates, or worn the wrong clothes according to your parents; then you have experienced conflict.


How do I Deal With Conflict?
People react to conflict differently. Some typical responses to conflict are:

  • Ignoring, not facing it or running away from it.
  • Stewing about the conflict and keeping feelings like anger inside.
  • Seeing conflict as a competition that you have to either win or lose.
  • Giving up what you wanted in the beginning or changing your point of view just to make peace.


Most of these are short term solutions and while can make things easier at the start but can make you resent others and make the conflict bigger and harder to deal with in the end. After some conflict situations, you can end up feeling helpless, confused, stressed, tense or resentful and your relationship with others can be damaged or seem hard to repair.


Here are Some Ideas & Ways to Help You Deal With Conflict & Resolve Arguments

Be calm and stay in control.
Staying calm is important, it is so easy when you are in an argument for it to get out of hand, for you to say or do something you will regret later. Keep your voice calm and at a normal level, when you are shouting people tend not to listen anymore and communication falls apart. Name calling and abuse doesn't help you get things resolved.


Work out what it's really about?
Before you can find a solution to the problem you might need to find out what the real trouble is. Sometimes two people can be fighting about very different things and not realise it. Each person comes to the argument with a different viewpoint and things that are important to them. You need to be prepared to listen to them and understand how this is making them feel. Just as it is important for them to know how you feel (see being assertive).


Be prepared to be fair.
Try to remember not to blame or threaten. Work on solving a problem rather than trying to gain a win over the person you are in conflict with. If you feel that they are trying to bring you down or deliberately hurt you, tell them it has to stop before anything is resolved.


What are the options?
Understanding what the conflict is about will help in finding the solution. Look for as many solutions to disagreements and issues as you can. Sometimes it's not that simple. It might take time and you may have to keep trying to work on finding the best solutions. Also, it is possible to agree to disagree.


Show that you want to work things out.
Be prepared to apologise for things you may have done wrong or unfair words said in the heat of the moment. Remember sometimes we can hurt someone without meaning to. Be prepared to acknowledge that they are hurt by what you said even if that was not your intention. You may have to negotiate an agreement. This may involve a little give and take. Make sure you follow your word and stick to any agreements.


Who can help?
A third party may help you see a different perspective or act as an umpire in a conflict. Go to someone you trust like family, friends, counsellor, teachers or even the police (maybe someone is being violent and hostile) for support. You might try watching and learning how others deal with conflict and take notice of what worked or made the conflict worse.


When things don't work out.
Sometimes you have to agree to disagree and this may result in the two people having to break away from each other for a while. If you have been open to trying to find a solution and have tried to come to some understanding then you have done everything you can. Try not to be too hard on yourself. You might find some time apart might let you both think about the issue and try again later. It is always better to have tried to work out the problem than to ignore it and hope it goes away because in the end it never does.


You have some choices when it comes to dealing with conflict.
Will you react in a negative, loud, impulsive way or will you respond in a positive way behaving thoughtfully so that you feel in control?


Acknowledge the conflict situation for what it is. Not everything has to be right and perfect all the time. That does not mean you ignore conflict. You accept it and try to see what you can change about the situation.


Learn from your mistakes and believe that you can gain something from every situation. Go into conflict with a fair and positive attitude. Ask yourself what you have learnt from the conflict – it might be about yourself, the other person or the situation.


For more information follow these links:
Child & Youth Health – Conflict Resolution
Relationships Australia – Conflict Resolution
Headroom – The Lounge