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Helping Kids Behave By: Dr.

Paul Clements School Psychologist


The purpose of this paper is to put down into short form, some basic principles of dealing with children who have difficulty behaving. This has been gleaned from classroom experience, workshops, and working with children. It also includes the authors philosophy of how to work with children who have problems behaving. As such it serves as the framework to determine where one is and where one will need to go. In addition this can then also serve as a quick reference when one needs a quick check of what to do in a particular situation.

There is a reference list for those who wish to review some of these techniques in more detail. This paper is targeted to those who still think children are ust !supposed to behave" and that if they dont behave, then ust send them somewhere else. #hile a teacher $%&'() be able to keep order with a word and a call home, that is not the case in the modern world. *oth $tate and +ederal regulations increasingly indicate that A(( children must stay in school somewhere. If order can be maintained in the regular classroom and children who have problem behaviors can be educated along with their peers, so much the better. This is not a prescription to be used with every student. It, hopefully, will be a guide that one can use to create a more disciplined classroom. A key element all the way through is your relationship with the student. The experience and research of all those quoted and referenced is that a teacher must have a positive relationship with the student in order to reach that student. In other words you must like them, care for them and even love them or make them T%I,- you )&. I dont mean that one is to be insincere. It is the adults responsibility to take the first step to break the conflict cycle by looking at the positive side of the child. Two statements by .resident /eorge #. *ush in his inaugural address come to mind at this point, !Abandonment and abuse are not acts of /od, they are failures of love."

The second is more a challenge that seems to apple to school systems, !#hen we see that wounded traveler on the road to 0ericho we will not pass to the other side." In this

authors experience, most of your behavior problem children have been wounded by abandonment and neglect or by a !failure of love". $o how does one make them think you like them1 by speaking the behavioral language of caring. /ary 2hapman 345567 calls this the five love languages. *y this he means that there are five types of things that we can do which make another person feel that we care about them or love them. If you )& things that say I care such as acts of service, a touch , a kind word, then the child or adolescent will feel that you care. This will be gone into in more detail below. The sad truth is in many cases the teacher may be the only person the child does think likes, cares, or loves them. This is the first principle for managing student behavior. As 2hapman 368887 points out people accept leadership when they think and feel you are putting their best interests first. It wont solve all of your problems, but it will give you a shot at changing the students behavior1 a shot is all anyone really gets at anything. $o if you dont like children, or if you only like children who are well behaved, you may not be best suited for a career as a school teacher. 9elationship The first principle is that you must form a relationship with the child. The bottom line is that you must care and show the child you care if you are to have a chance to maintain control and change the childs behavior. This must be sincere. :ost people can tell when you are not sincere. If you really dont like the child, make him or her THINK YOU DO. A superintendent once told this author that parents may not send schools the best students every day but they were sending the schools the best they have. &ne principle of $ocial .sychology is that behavior can change perceptions and emotions. If a person is treated nicely for a period of time, and they see that the person who is treating them nicely has nothing to gain, then they usually conclude that the person is being nice because he or she likes them. )avis, ,elson, and /auger 368887 in their book The *oys Town :odel; $afe and <ffective $econdary $chool, make it plane that building a relationship with the child is the cornerstone of the boys town program. /<:A 368887 also identifies having one adult they can trust and admire as one of the key factors of the resilient child. In addition author 0ane *luestein 368847 notes one counselor identified two saving graces for students to feel safe. +irst having one person or persons who respects and values them as an individual. $econd having a place to succeed. In this authors experience self=esteem is built upon experiences of success that are valued by at least one important person in your life. $trive to be the adult that a child learns to trust and admire. If by now you think this is a bunch of garbage you may quit reading and resign yourself to a very long year.

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%ave a neat clean physical environment. >ary your teaching style and techniques to fit the changing needs of your students. *e efficient. (essons begin and end on time. (esson plans have a purpose and measurable outcomes. 2heck to be sure that students understand as you go along and make ad ustments. (isten actively1 look at students, lean forward, paraphrase what they say.

2hapman 368887 gives eight steps to good listening 47 67 ?7 @7 :aintain eye contact when the other person is talking. )ont do anything else at the same time. (isten for feelings. &bserve body language

A7 9efuse to interrupt. The average person listens for only 4B seconds before interrupting. C7 B7 D7 Ask reflective questions. <xpress understanding. Ask permission to share your perspective.

:ake sure your tone of voice matches your message. *e aware of how loud or soft you speak. $oft and slow is more likely to calm an angry student. hands. 'se touch to show warmth. *y patting a student on the back or even shaking

'se eye contact and body language. #atch the students facial expressions. Also smile, nod your head and keep your hands relaxed.

Try taking the childs perspective1 this shows understanding.

(et the kid in you out to play. This can teach valuable lessons such as sharing, showing respect, and following rules. 'se your sense of humor. This gives kids a break from stress. It can also insulate you from negative feelings that can get the best of you. Try to empathiEe or share the students feelings and situation. %owever, be sure students understand that feeling bad is not an excuse for misbehavior. .raise students for good behavior. *e specific at first and then move to being more general. *e brief but enthusiastic. *e sure to give praise immediately when possible but be appropriate. #ait if it would embarrass the student. Another component of building relationships involves how to show you care. 2hapman345567 relates an experiment he tried. %e had the wife speak the husbands love language without having the husband reciprocate for one month. The result F the husband began to respond more positively to the wife and then wanted to learn her language. This same tactic was also tried with children and found to work. This was in chapter 46 !(oving the unlovely". 2arl 9ogers called it unconditional positive regard. 2hapman calls it love. It means the same thing. In the authors experience many children with behavior problems dont feel loved or that anyone even cares about them. Anger is always a secondary emotion. It is really caused by hurt, pain, embarrassment, neglect etc. 9on %uxley in his article !"*ig *oys )o 2ry; %elping &ur $ons Increase Their <motional IG"3.arenting toolbox7, points out that males are taught it is &- to show only one emotion, Anger. This results in an emotional funnel1 every emotion, sadness, fear and frustration is translated into one emotion; AngerH %ow does one discover what underlies the angerI 0oyce )ivinyi of, The %uman 2onnection, points out in her workshop, that most feelings that result in anger are intense and vulnerable in nature. $he further states that more obvious feelings like anger are used to mask the vulnerable feelings 3)ivinyi, 68887. $he advises that you think about the last time you were angry and then consider what you were +<<(I,/ under the anger. A checklist that she finds helpful is found in appendix 2. $he further notes that behavior is a consequence of feelings and needs. 'ntil these feelings and needs are addressed, the behavior will not change. $he also notes that behavior that is unacceptable in the workplace is unacceptable in the classroom. The authors experience is most people need a concrete goal to be motivated.

:ost children and their parents do not see education as a goal in and of itself. In their minds if you are not preparing them to make a living, you are wasting their time. %elping children work through these feelings is part of caring and shows caring. It also is part of getting them ready to hold down a ob. If you are still not convinced that caring counts then refer to !#arningH; 'nderstanding and 9esponding to )estructive Jouth *ehaviors. 3/<:A, 68887 This workshop by the /eorgia <mergency :anagement Agency comes to the conclusion that only 4AK of children get the care they need at home. *y that they mean caring and support, positive expectations, involvement, and participation in their lives. The good news is one person who cares can make a difference. !L +or children who are used to thinking of themselves as stupid, or not worth talking to or deserving rape, and beatings, a /&&) teacher can provide an astonishing revelation. A good teacher can give a child at least a chance to feel, MsNhe thinks Im worth something, maybe I am."3/<:A, 68887 2aring wont solve everything but it will help. <ven the worst behaved students this author ever taught behaved better once they knew someone cared. And self=fulfilling prophecies work both ways. $o, how do you show that you care. According to 2hapman 34557 2hapman O2ampbell3455B7 and 2hapman 368887, the five love languages or ways to show you care are; Affirming words = eye and body contact, tone of voice, humor praise Gifts=physical environment, instruction, humor Acts of service = instructional help, assistance, etc. Quality time = listening, understanding, empathy, play humor !ysical touc!= touching others and being touched by others

Helping Kids Behave Part Three


Dr. Chapman points out that a child works at the subconscious level, but their behavior is motivated by their own emotional needs. If these needs are not met they may violate acceptable standards, express anger toward parents, !and in this author"s experience others in authority# and seek love in inappropriate places.

$e further notes that a colleague, Dr. Campbell, indicates that he has never treated an adolescent for sexual misconduct whose emotional love needs were met by the parents. %his is not to say you need to become a second parent, but there are ways you can show approval and caring for students. &ou will find that those students who are the worst behavior problems are the ones who most need to know someone cares. 'ut how do you tell which language a child speaks( Chapman and Campbell !)**+# state that you must listen and pay attention to what they want you to do. If the child always wants you to do something with them, then his language may be ,uality time. If the child makes presents for people, then her language may be receiving gifts. If they are always trying to help, then their language may be acts of service. If he always tells people how nice they look or gives compliments or is angling for compliments then his language may be words of affirmation. If she touches a lot, then the language may be physical touch. Children and adults may also have more than one language. In addition Chapman and Campbell note that a child"s language may change and that young children need to hear all the languages both for support and to teach them how to speak the other languages to other people. In this way we learn to show caring to others in ways the other person readily understands and appreciates. -ne therefore needs to be aware and try to speak all the languages that are spoken. .gain, what the authors are talking about is having the child feel you care. %hey may know cognitively that their parents love them and that you care about them but still not feel that caring at an emotional level. /or real learning to take place one must address the cognitive, the emotional and the behavioral aspects of the individual. %his will not eliminate all discipline problems. It will, however, put one in a much better position to influence the child and motivate the child to behave better. 0ost people want the approval of people who care about them. Caring, in most cases, will help you become a reward yourself. %he 1ove 1anguage Checklist !appencix D# is intended to help you think through and discover the child"s love language. It is not taken from anything but is simply something the author drew up to help figure out a person"s love language. %his is intended to be a 2oint effort between the parents and teacher. It is recommended that both parents and teachers work on this together. 'y looking at what a child desires at home and at school you have a better chance of discovering the child"s love language. &ou may also find that working together helps form a bond between parent and teacher that makes you both more effective in helping the child. %his is not intended to be a checklist, 2ust a guide to help the adults in a child"s life consider what says I C.34 most strongly to a particular child. -ne may also use it to discover one"s own love language. %his will help you understand some miscommunications.

If you love language is affirming words they you probably complement your children and students. $owever, if the child"s love language is touch then your message may not be getting through. 5o matter how loud or distinctly one speaks 4nglish one will never get a person who speaks only 6panish to understand what you are saying. %he same is true of the love languages. Chapman and Campbell !)**+# 7 Chapman !8999# note that teenagers can be particularly difficult, because they go through natural mood swings. It was stated that teenagers can be very difficult to care for as they will test you to see if you really do care. %he authors cite the example of one father whose son"s love.

Helping Kids Behave Part our


language was quality time. This father had spent an entire weekend with his son and had an important meeting when they came back. As he was leaving for the meeting the son asked if he had a minute. %e was really asking do you really care about me. 9ather than becoming angry, the father told him he had to go to the meeting then but asked if they could get together when he came back and most important set a time for them to get together. It is vitally important that students know you care about them. Try learning to speak all five languages and then use them with your class, children, and or spouse for a week and compare your results.

%his also relates to where power is located in the home, school and the classroom. :ohnson 7 :ohnson !)**;# describe five bases of power, reward, coercive, legitimate, referent, expert, and informational. -f the six bases the weakest are legitimate and coercive. %herefore if your only source of power to run your classroom or home is because you are the boss and can punish them, you are in a relatively weak position. 5ot only that, but research on group interaction shows that while individuals will do what a coercive leader wants they will avoid interacting with that leader in the future.
<roup effectiveness improves when the leader"s power is based on competence, expertise, and information. &ou need to build a power base anchored in the students"=child"s perception of you as someone who can give valued rewards, who has information they 544D and do not have, and most importantly, as someone they admire and want to emulate. Caring helps build all three of these bases. >eople usually want to be like people who care about them. 6peaking a child"s love language is a reward.

And they come to know that you have knowledge that can help them control their behavior. As such you are empowering them. These are very powerful tools.

/ordon 3455?7 notes that leaders can increase their own power by sharing power with others. $ome of the methods she recommends are very familiar to good teachers. /ive them empowering information. .rovide emotional support. &ffer words of encouragement. $erve as a role model. And facilitating mastery of a task. These are strikingly similar to 2hapmans acts of service, affirming words, quality time, and gifts. In the course of all that one might also pat the individual on the back, touch.
%his does not mean one should let kids get away with a lot. .s Davis, 5elson 7 <auger, point out part of love is setting limits. Children feel safe when they know an adult is in control. ?ids also need to learn that their actions have conse,uences. 0ost law enforcement officres will not be psychologists, or counselors, or sociologists. <40. !8999# points out that discipline must be firm !certain#, fair, and consistent. %hat is .11 teachers=parents must have the 6.04 C-564@A45C46 for the same behavior. 0any children who already have problems do not have the resources to understand and accept that the standards in 0r. :ones" room are radically different from 0s. 6mith.

It is recommend that departments and grades meet regularly, say once a week at first, to determine common discipline guidelines and that teachers meet across grades to discuss discipline at different grade levels. Chapman !8999# recommends that rules meet three criteria. %hey be fe!" fair and clear. 6imilarly he recommends that !Continued on next page = see below link#...

Helping Kids Behave Part ive


language was quality time. This father had spent an entire weekend with his son and had an important meeting when they came back. As he was leaving for the meeting the son asked if he had a minute. %e was really asking do you really care about me. 9ather than becoming angry, the father told him he had to go to the meeting then but asked if they could get together when he came back and most important set a time for them to get together. It is vitally important that students know you care about them. Try learning to speak all five languages and then use them with your class, children, and or spouse for a week and compare your results. This also relates to where power is located in the home, school and the classroom. 0ohnson O 0ohnson 3455@7 describe five bases of power, reward, coercive, legitimate, referent, expert, and informational. &f the six bases the weakest are legitimate and coercive. Therefore if your only source of power to run your classroom or home is because you are the boss and can punish them, you are in a relatively weak position. ,ot only that, but research on group interaction shows that while individuals will do what a coercive leader wants they will avoid interacting with that leader in the future. /roup effectiveness improves when the leaders power is based on competence, expertise, and information. Jou need to build a power base anchored in the studentsNchilds perception of you as someone who can give valued rewards, who has information they ,<<) and do not have, and most importantly, as someone they admire and want to emulate.

2aring helps build all three of these bases. .eople usually want to be like people who care about them. $peaking a childs love language is a reward. And they come to know that you have knowledge that can help them control their behavior. As such you are empowering them. These are very powerful tools. /ordon 3455?7 notes that leaders can increase their own power by sharing power with others. $ome of the methods she recommends are very familiar to good teachers. /ive them empowering information. .rovide emotional support. &ffer words of encouragement. $erve as a role model. And facilitating mastery of a task. These are strikingly similar to 2hapmans acts of service, affirming words, quality time, and gifts. In the course of all that one might also pat the individual on the back, touch. %his does not mean one should let kids get away with a lot. .s Davis, 5elson 7 <auger, point out part of love is setting limits. Children feel safe when they know an adult is in control. ?ids also need to learn that their actions have conse,uences. 0ost law enforcement officres will not be psychologists, or counselors, or sociologists. <40. !8999# points out that discipline must be firm !certain#, fair, and consistent. %hat is .11 teachers=parents must have the 6.04 C-564@A45C46 for the same behavior. 0any children who already have problems do not have the resources to understand and accept that the standards in 0r. :ones" room are radically different from 0s. 6mith. It is recommend that departments and grades meet regularly, say once a week at first, to determine common discipline guidelines and that teachers meet across grades to discuss discipline at different grade levels. Chapman !8999# recommends that rules meet three criteria. %hey be fe!" fair and clear. 6imilarly he recommends that the conse#uences for breaking the rules be agreed upon $efore hand"