Positive Peer Culture
The central position of Positive Peer Culture programs is the belief that struggling boys can develop self-worth, significance, dignity, and responsibility only as they become committed to the positive values of helping and caring for others. At Mount Pleasant Academy we promote the experiential hands-on values of trust, care, and services toward others. Becoming “other’s-centered” (empathetic, compassionate, caring etc.) is the basis of Positive Peer Culture.
Mount Pleasant Academy has its own unique approach to helping struggling boys; we instill the belief of the golden rule. At Mount Pleasant Academy everyone, students and staff alike, operate in a purposeful culture of shared positive values. When people live and work together, and truly care about one another, tremendous benefits are reaped by all parties. This is what a Positive Peer Culture is all about.
Positive Peer Culture & Conflict Resolution
Positive Peer Culture is a conflict resolution approach. This approach connects our treatment philosophy and behavior management continuum, as well as providing the youth with structure, unconditional acceptance, parenting and security. This also provides the support, guidance, and opportunity which adolescents require for growth and development.
Mount Pleasant Academy has adopted a non-punitive parenting style called Positive Peer Culture. This treatment facilitates an atmosphere of kindness, firmness, dignity and respect in which struggling boys can best learn responsibility. It also encourages students to be creative in solving their own problems. By teaching them the power of choices, they learn about positive and negative consequences and become accountable for their future.
Positive Peer Culture is solution-oriented. Looking for blame creates defensiveness. Looking for solutions invites cooperation. When students are involved in negotiation and decision making, they have ownership and motivation to follow their own decisions. We see mistakes as stepping stones, not stumbling blocks. This approach corrects the situation and enhances their relationships with others.
We use encouragement instead of praise. Encouragement teaches self-evaluation and speaks to the deed and not so much to the doer. This way self-esteem is derived from real achievement, rather than manipulative praise.
Internal Change – Heart Change
Although it varies with each person, at some point students begin to realize that they are happier when they are making positive changes in their own thoughts and actions. External reinforcers that are effective in the beginning stages of treatment are replaced by less tangible rewards. The students will have internal rewards such as improved feelings about themselves, opportunities to help others, making others happy, leadership opportunities, and seeing themselves achieve meaningful goals: all cornerstones of morality, ethics and true accomplishment.
Positive Peer Culture creates an atmosphere of compassion, fairness, and respect in which adolescents can best learn responsibility. Our treatment programs encourage students to learn to solve their own problems and take responsibility for making poor choices, rather than rushing with directives and external controls. Learning from mistakes is critical in “life-skills” development for our students. Being held accountable for the outcome of decisions is a small price to pay for understanding the power of choices.
Positive Peer Culture favors natural and logical consequences for behavior problems: consequences that are reasonable and respectful to the students’ self-esteem and development level.
Positive Peer Culture uses encouragement rather than praise. Encouragement teaches self evaluation and speaks to the deed and not so much the doer. Praise, however, teaches dependencies on the evaluation of others, resulting in adults who are approval seekers and pleasers. Substantial self-esteem is derived from a real achievement.
Developing Pro-Social Behavior
The positive peer culture programs are aimed to develop pro-social behavior through the development of a therapeutic community. It is the intent that this community will promote a social environment that takes on both therapeutic and healing properties as opposed to maintaining negative behaviors. It is the hope that through time the community of peers will develop and maintain positive behaviors and attributes. Some of these behaviors may include:
- A sense of belonging.
- A code of conduct that assures a safe environment and promotes pro-social behavior.
- Individual members responding positively to the influences of the community.
- Each member has a sense the he or she can make a significant positive contribution to the community.
- Individuals demonstrate social responsibility to the community and showcase pro-social behavior.
- Censure of maladaptive behavior.
The central purpose and aim of the therapeutic community is to develop self-worth, significance, dignity and responsibility in each of the residents as they become committed to the positive values of helping and caring for others. The goal is to direct teens away from selfishness and conflict and toward a spirit of concern and service for others.
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There is nothing like your program anywhere. We searched and searched for someone with understanding and expertise in sexual disorders and their causes. We tried traditional counseling, but time was passing too quickly and we couldn’t afford the chance that a generalized behavior program would work for him. The qualifications of your clinical team are outstanding. I wish I could make your program known to every parent who feels the same as I did. R.D. Jess - Denver, CO