WHY WE ARE SOMETIMES FLEXIBLE WITH THE RULES
When someone is new to SG, they may need time to learn how the community works…
SG takes a long time to get used to as there is a lot to know and remember. We know that people may not know all of the rules at first, and that simply telling people they are breaking the rules won’t help with that. Instead, people usually need time to get to know how the community works and information to help understand and follow the rules.
When you are highly stressed, the logical part of your brain stops working how it normally does, so you aren’t fully in control and following the rules can be much harder. We aren’t saying that what happened is ok, but if we focus on them breaking the rules, we are ignoring that they are struggling. It is important to be flexible for now to help reduce their stress.
Then once someone is calm and relaxed, we can problem solve and work out what can help to reduce the chance of this happening again. Problem solving is always really important to do, so that our community remains a positive space for everyone.
How Do We Resolve Things?
Sometimes, people ask why we don’t “punish” people if they break the rules, and our answer is simple: punishing people rarely has an impact on what someone does. Punishments are considered “normal”, but plenty of research shows they rarely address the issue. We know that people do well “if they can”, and if they aren’t following the rules we need to focus on addressing the reason behind why they are breaking the rule, rather than just focusing on what they did.
If someone continually breaks the rules, that still isn’t ok and we need to identify a solution to this.
When Does SG Not Work?
Our rules are really important for making sure everyone is safe and comfortable in the community. Sometimes our rules need to be updated, so please feel welcome to make a support ticket if you think a rule needs to be changed, so we can talk about it.
If someone is really struggling to follow the rules, and we can’t find a solution right now, it could mean that they need a break from the community. If this happens, they aren’t to blame:
Sometimes people are having a really stressful time, which means it isn’t possible to use the community in a positive way until this changes.
Sometimes SG’s setup doesn’t work because someone's strengths and difficulties mean that the way we run doesn’t work for them. See spiky profiles. In this case, SG may not work for someone until we run in a different way that works better for someone, they are a bit older or they have more support available.
Sometimes people in SG do not value the community, so don’t see value in working with us to make the community work for them.
If any of these reasons mean that an SG member breaks the rules, we always aim to work with them and their parents to problem solve. If after several attempts this isn’t successful, it sometimes means that SG isn’t the right place for someone right now and they may need a break from the community.
If this happens, it is really important to recognise that this often isn’t their fault and it doesn’t mean that we don’t care a lot about someone. It is usually failure from services/ professionals and us, not them:
If they had more support outside of SG, they are likely to struggle a lot less within the community.
If we had more staff or were set up in a different way, SG is more likely to work for some people if it doesn’t right now.
Being removed from the community usually isn’t permanent and isn’t intended to be a punishment. It means we have recognised that the community isn’t working for someone right now and they are welcome back if it is more likely to work at a later date.