Every year in Scotland, 5000 young people become homeless due to relationships breaking down at home. This number is equivalent to the population of five high schools. As shocking as this figure is, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Legally you cannot present as homeless until you are 16 years old or above. This means that under 16s who leave home often have to stay with extended family and friends - but some are not so fortunate and are left out on the streets. Other families struggle with arguments behind closed doors, but it doesn’t have to be this way. When conflict is managed constructively, through support and mediation, it can lead to a positive change in relationships and lives.
The Cyrenians’ Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution (SCCR) shared this message with third year pupils from St Ninian’s High School in Giffnock as part of the conflict resolution training provided to the local East Renfrewshire School.
The pupils were encouraged to consider more positive ways of dealing with difficult situations in the family such as being honest, listening to the other person, and trying to imagine what it’s like for them.
The SCCR was set up to support families and the professionals they come into contact with, to resolve conflict before it reaches crisis point. It is a national resource centre promoting and supporting best practice in mediation, conflict resolution and early intervention work - with a particular focus around young people and families.
Catherine McCrea, Principal Teacher Pastoral Support, St Ninian’s High School said: “Our aim at St Ninian’s is to develop the young person fully in every aspect of their personal development. As part of their health and wellbeing curriculum we welcome speakers who are able to impart valuable information to young people about life skills and how to apply appropriate strategies to make informed decisions and choices in their life.
“The conflict resolution training was excellent and encouraged pupils to consider their relationships whether they are in the family unit or with their peers. The trainer Duncan gave a thought provoking and very worthwhile talk on how young people might manage conflict in a more productive and less explosive way. They enjoyed the interactive questioning and will have gained a better understanding of how they might handle conflict the next time they encounter it in their lives.
“We will direct our pupils to access resources and to try the free online quiz on the SCCR’s website. We would hope to roll this programme out and next session will invite the SCCR to visit us again.”