Supporting Children Who Take Us to the End of Your Rope Daniel Hodgins DKJ5075@aol.com www.danieljhodgins.com
Children with challenging behaviors are often looking for what they are good at… Adults often give attention to negative behaviors that challenging children are good at.
Chris is his Name Chris is his name and pushing is his game You can catch him pushing, in the sun and rain He is pushing high, and pushing low He is pushing, pushing, wherever he goes. So if you want some pushing and you don’t know what to do Just go ask Chris and he’ll help you.
What is Chris Good At? He is not bad at pushing. He is good at it!
Swearing Have you ever heard a child swear? They are not bad at it, They are good at it: Sometimes it is the time they are most articulate, use letters in a complete sentence and use more then one word….
Disappearance of Play: Children are lured indoors with electronic devices Creativity is not encouraged Amount of outdoor time is declining Safety issues/concerns Over-emphasis on academics Wanting the right answers not the most interesting
The study of Texas prisons found that the absence of play in their childhood was as important as any other single factor in predicting their crimes. Stuart Brown, MD
A bully believes that “ If you can ’ t be the best, I ’ ll be the worst ”
When Faced with Challenging Behaviors Adults often: Perceive the behavior as deliberate noncompliance Attempt to “control” Neglect to address the needs of the child Engage in power struggles
Three Questions to Ask Yourself When Developing Discipline Techniques : What challenging behaviors bother me the most? What practices do I use most often with these challenging behaviors? What do I need to change to make my beliefs and practices decrease challenging behaviors?
What Challenging Behaviors bother me the most? 1234512345
What strategies do I use with these behaviors that bother me? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Most Common Challenging Behaviors Reported by Adults Biting Hitting or pinching Throwing objects Swearing Name calling Tattling Whining Refusing to share Disrupting Running Throwing tantrums Non-participation
What Are the Major Causes of Challenging Behaviors?
How Boys and Girls Tell Stories: Vivian Paley Girls Story: “ once there were four kittens and they found a pretty bunny. They went to buy the bunny some food and they fed the baby bunny and then they went on a picnic. ” Boys Story: “ We sneaked up in the house. Then we put the bad guys in jail. Then we killed some of the good guys. Then the four bad guys got some money and some jewels. ”
Rules from your Childhood “no elbows on the table” “eat everything off your plate, there are people starving in China” “no singing at the table” “were you born in a barn?” “what happens in this house stays in this house” “always wear clean underwear when you leave the house, because you never know when you are going to get in an accident”
To Follow Rules the following skills are needed: Skill 1 - sensitivity to the viewpoints of others Skill 2 - ability for mutual understanding Skill 3 - willingness to delay gratification Skill 4 - high degree of cooperation Hughes (1991)
Do you know adults who do not have these skills yet?
Boys are often labeled ADHD six times more often than Girls…..
Signs that are often used to identify ADHD in Preschoolers: Inability to sustain attention Fidgets Lack of interest in quiet activities Can be talkative Clumsy Difficulty waiting for turns May grab toys from others This describes more then 75% of children in preschool?
Are they really ADHD or are they simply Highly Active? Very Bored?
A boy ’ s brain frequently develops from the back (the doing part) towards the front (the thinking part) Girl ’ s brains develop more from the front to the back. Anne Moir, Brain Sex
Frontal Lobe Development For females around 16 - 18 years of age For males around 21-25 years of age You must have a fully developed frontal lope to recognize the difference between right and wrong. Leonard Sax
Frontal Lobe Statements: “Make a better choice” “How would you like it if someone hit you?” “You don’t want to hurt your friends do you?” “Use your words, not your hands”
I get lots of Attention when I scream I run I hit I throw tantrums I smile when I have done something you don’t like I say “make me, you are not my mom” I make enemies I make “all hell break loose”
Avoid saying: “ Use your words ” “ I don ’ t have them yet ” …
Males emotional response is on the right side of his brain, while the power to express his feelings in speech is on the left side. Because the two sides are connected by a very small Corpus, the flow of information between one side of the brain and the other is restricted.
It doesn ’ t mean that boys don ’ t care… It often has to relate to a physical task
Girls Emotional side of the brain will Initiate and motivate the Cognitive Side. Sometimes decisions are made on emotions …..
Choosing Friends If you are next to me, you are my friend. If you give me what I want, you are my friend.
Adults must learn to be less egocentric than the child. Bev Bos
Stages of Social Play Parten Solitary Play(playing by myself) Parallel Play(side by side play) Onlooker Play(watching from a distance) Associative Play(playing in small herds without understanding rules) Cooperative Play(playing in groups, recognizing others needs)
Not all children are “ ready ” for a group experience. Social skills for some children take a long time…Placing them in a group doesn't ’ t mean they will become part of it….
Are there other options? One on One Small clusters Less distractions “Caves”
Look at Transitions These times are very difficult for children, especially the challenging child……
Transitions: Limit the number of times all children have to transition between one activity and another Minimize wait time Warn children in advance Avoid lines Provide children with something to do during transition times
Visual Cues Many children are visual learners. They need visual cues for warnings…..
Boys are often better with short term memory. Girls are often better with long term memory.
Boys often don ’ t remember what you told them. Each time the incidence happens, it is like it never took place before.
How often do you say? “ walk ” “ use your inside voice ” “ flush the toilet ” “ be nice to your friends ”
Avoid Activities that are not Relevant to Children When they are bored they will create their own experiences. Some of which are not what adults want.
What is not relevant to children under the age of five: The Date, Month and Year Colors Shapes Numbers Manners
What is Relevant to Children? Not Relevant Date Colors Shapes Numbers Manners Relevant
If information is not relevant it will be pruned from the brain within five minutes…. Ken Horn
Adults have been reported to spend 71% of the day teaching information that is not relevant. David Elkind
Stop asking children to sit like a “ Pretzel ” or “ Criss Cross Applesauce ” its not normal.
Sharing means…I understand that someone else has the same needs as me.. I don ’ t think so!!!!!
Sharing Can I keep it as long as I want? Do you have multiples of the same? If I don ’ t share am I still good? What does the child do, while he/she is waiting? 75
Change the rule “ We share our toys here ” to “ It is hard to share, you decide when you are ready ” 76
Practices that fit what we know about children They like to run They sometimes like to use an “outside voice” They don’t share well They like to be physical
If boys respond frequently by using loud voices Why are we always saying “ use you inside voice? ”
New Rules for Challenging Children: Be Loud Run a lot Try not to share Talk a lot Look at it before you flush it
Do adults give the message that loud children are not as good as quiet children?
Elements that Enhance Children ’ s Well Being: Places for investigating and exploring A space they can call their own Hiding places A place to get higher Digging to China Having enough Water everywhere No clutter on the walls
Children ’ s Well Being Elements Investigating space Space of their own Hiding places How to get higher Digging spaces Having enough Water everywhere Wall space clutter Changes
Share Soothing Skills: Massage Sucking Music Rocking Water Others?
A Child who is in Distress, often doesn't ’ t recognize the feelings of others…. They will need “ coaching ”
What is the Challenging Child Communicating to You? “You are asking me to do something that is too difficult?” “I cannot cope with being a part of the group right now?” “I want that toy, but don’t know how to ask for it?” “I’m bored, are you paying attention?” “I’m not comfortable sitting here so long?” “I cannot believe that you are asking me to share you with the other children?”
Focus always on what you want them to do: NOT TO DO “stop hitting your friends, they don’t like it when you do that” “we don’t take toys away from others” “what is the magic word?” “stop running, you might fall and get hurt” “it isn’t nice to call are friends names” DO
The more opportunities we give children to attain power The less they will need to create negative behaviors. Every species is looking for power.
What is a Power Struggle? An Individuals Need for CONTROL
When do power struggles occur most often? Mealtimes Clean up times When you are in a hurry Whenever anyone is angry Naptimes When sharing is forced Adults asking for something to be done All the time for some children….
Notice how often these are times that are adult directed and often adult controlled….
Power Builders: Moveable parts Choices Roughhousing Being louder Healthy bullying Construction Pounding Getting higher Singing Movement
Support Risk Taking It helps develop safety skills
Allow Risk Taking Non Risks “Only build as high as your eyes” “Go up the ladder and down the slide” “Be careful” “You can hurt someone” Risk “Wow, look how high it is getting” “Go up the slide and down the ladder” “Hang on with both hands” “Stand back everyone”
Active Play isn ’ t always….. Organized Planned Filled with rules
What to look for in Active Learners? Move around a lot Prance frequently More non verbal Often do not understand consequences Sit on the edge of their chair, or tilt it back and forth Sometime knock over children who are in his/her way
Celebrating the Active Child: Activity Meal time Small Group Nap time Large Group Arrival/Departure Change
Active Body, Active Mind “If the body isn’t moving, I don’t understand anything” “Sitting is not natural” “Sitting Criss-Cross applesauce or the Pretzel style is not healthy”
How often are children sitting down during the day?
Bring Back Roughhousing Red Rover, Red Rover Ring Around the Rosie London Bridge Kick the Can Billy Goat Gruff Arm Wrestling Tag Tug of War
Their seems to be a connection between the lack of rough and tumble play and ADHD Nikki Gordon
Remember there is no Licensing Rule that prevents Roughhousing…
How Much Space Do I NEED? Girls usually need far less space than boys. Boys require (two arms length of space) between each other)
Ask Yourself: Is it an unmet need? Is it a lack of skill? Is it a lack of fit?
Always focus on the child that has the problem, Not the child who is causing the problem….
Why Punishment Fails? It makes children mad It models the use of power It eventually loses its effectiveness It erodes our relationship with children It distracts children from the important issues It makes children more self-centered
Remember you only have control of yourself…. What Changes Will You Make?
Consider the Following Questions: What do you know about the child’s history? What is the child’s behavior that most concerns you? What changes in the environment could you make? What positive guidance techniques can I use? How can I help the child feel a sense of belonging? What can I do to help the child manage anger? How can I engage the family? What do I have to change in myself?
Climate of Trust: Somebody is listening to me Somebody is encouraging me Somebody accepts my uniqueness