1 Dealing with difficult behaviours A presentation for parents, caregivers teachers and support staff
2 So, What’s it all about It appears that some children and teenagers are becoming more disruptive in the home at school, and in the community at large. This presentation addresses some concepts which have been used successfully to curb and change anti-social behaviours. They work well and can easily be used with more traditional models. This package supports positive behaviour change and pro-social outcomes. Enjoy! Dealing with difficult behaviours
3 We will look at The effects of too much adrenalin in the system and what to do about it. The effects of lack of oxygen, and too much carbon dioxide in the system, how it affects learning, and what to do about it. Six steps to changing a mood – and how it might work in your environment. How to change a habit. Understanding the power triangle and how toxic families affect children and teenagers. The difference between proactive and reactive responses and how to up-skill a young person to respond pro-actively. A comment about addictions, alcohol and TV violence on children and teenagers. Dealing with difficult behaviours
4 Adrenalin and Carbon Dioxide The problems, the issues and some solutions.
5 Let’s look at adrenalin Adrenalin is known as the bodies fight or flight reaction. Back in the stone age when we were hunting and gathering there were huge, double tusked, obviously ferocious wild animals who came lumbering, roaring and licking their chops after us! It was our ability to produce adrenalin, which would in turn flood the body and make us run faster than we ever dreamt of, scale tall cliffs, leap wide crevasses, and do other equally daring and normally ridiculous feats. Dealing with difficult behaviours
6 We produce adrenalin when ….. We produce adrenalin when we are nervous, when we are excited, when we are scared. When we compete, we produce adrenalin. We produce adrenalin when we think about exciting, scary anxiety provoking or action packed things. If we have scary dreams, scary feelings or if we imagine or day-dream particularly exciting, competitive or anxiety producing things, we produce adrenalin. So, we see that we don ’ t even have to DO these things to produce adrenalin, we only have to THINK about them, play with them in our heads. Dealing with difficult behaviours
7 Think about these situations and the adrenalin they produce:- Child watching 6pm news programme with re-runs of a police shooting or major world catastrophe. Child worrying over parents arguments – re-runs last night over and over in head. Child dreading playtime due to bullying comment made as s/he walked to school by older pupil. Child plays a very exciting game of football, rugby, soccer or hockey, then expected to settle down and be good. Someone played a practical joke on a child, and the child feels a flash of anger, fear, foolishness. Dealing with difficult behaviours
8 Some more to think about … Child knows test is coming up, but is not confident, or has parents who ‘ expect ’ good marks or comments. Child believes best friend is moving away or fears some other form of separation. Child playing space invaders, play stations or any other static game where things, people places get blown up / away etc. Child woke up after particularly bad nightmare, remembers parts of it which haunts him throughout the morning. Dealing with difficult behaviours
9 A couple more … Jealousy – over possessions, friends, love, attention, ability. Child, for what ever reason believes him/her self lost, alone, unloved, unwanted, not cared about etc. etc. Child has just had an altercation with teacher, parent, friend in the classroom, at home, on the sports field, at the shopping centre etc. Child, for whatever reason, forgot or was unable to do homework or assignment for teacher who s/he really likes. Dealing with difficult behaviours
10 Role of skill base and support None of those scenarios is that bad on their own, and are certainly not harmful if the child / teenager has the skill base and support to deal with the situation and adrenalin. Of course the problem is when the skill base and support is not there and or not consistent. Dealing with difficult behaviours
11 The problem is the build up Lots of us work out appropriate ways to deal with adrenalin – we do it instinctively. Some of us were very cleverly taught as youngsters. When children are able to go outside and let off steam - climb trees, run until all tuckered out, walk 2 miles to school and home again, cycle 4k to school, chop wood, have strenuous chores to do and the like - there is not the build up of adrenalin. Most systems can cope with some adrenalin. The biggest problem is the build up. Dealing with difficult behaviours
12 Adrenalin over-load The problems come when there is too much adrenalin piling up and too much activity has gone on, maybe for too long a period, and there is no outlet to get rid of the build up of adrenalin. There has been no physical activity that doesn ’ t add to it (note: sending an already adrenalin hyped up child on to the sports field and yelling at them to compete is going to add to the problem, not diminish it!). Dealing with difficult behaviours
13 The adrenalin junky! Another classic situation happens when we have a youngster who has always had so many catastrophes and anxiety/excitement producing situations that as soon as there is a hint of activity their body immediately floods adrenalin (needed or not). He or she has got used to doing this and has become adrenalin trigger happy as it were! Another term for this is an ‘ adrenalin junky ’ ! Dealing with difficult behaviours
14 Lets look at carbon dioxide This again, is a huge over simplification – but it explains the basic principle. There are two key areas to the lungs that we are interested in, the upper and lower areas. When we breathe properly we fill both parts with ample oxygen. The blood supply, pumped by the heart, comes and takes some of that nice fresh oxygen from the lower lung and takes the oxygen to the brain where it is needed for the thinking process. The brain needs ample supplies of oxygen, water/fluid and a good basic nutrition to function well. Dealing with difficult behaviours
15 The problem Problems arise when there is not enough oxygen in the lower lung – in which case it will be filled with stale air – otherwise known as carbon dioxide. The carbon-dioxide is then taken round the body (instead of fresh oxygen), eventually ending up in the brain, where instead of livening us up and helping us think (or problem solve effectively) the carbon-dioxide slows the whole brain functioning down and makes us feel slow, lethargic, depressed, unmotivated etc. Dealing with difficult behaviours
16 Breathing is important – do some comparisons Most people do not breathe sufficiently well to invigorate their system with enough oxygen to reach their potential thinking and problem solving modes. Have a look around your classroom / friends / family etc. and see who is breathing and moving sufficiently to get oxygen into the lower lung. Think about which friend or students spend most of their home time huddled in front of a TV or play station or computer, or sucking on a cigarette. Compare those young people, that run about and breathe, to the ones who spend most of the lunch break leaning up against a wall. Dealing with difficult behaviours
17 Breathing and anxiety Have you ever noticed how little you breathe when you are anxious - people mostly hold their breath. Or what happens in a fight - again most people when involved in a physical fight pull funny faces, look staunch, take a deep breath in and hold it, then swing a wavy punch or two. Not effective stuff for getting the brain to function. Basically, carbon dioxide slows us down – thinking ability, problem-solving ability, physically and mentally. So a person ’ s ability to manoeuvre themselves out of a dangerous, difficult, anxiety provoking or thwarted situation is considerably impaired. Dealing with difficult behaviours
18 Adrenalin and carbon dioxide together If we have too much adrenalin, plus an over supply of carbon dioxide - not enough oxygen going around the system – our system gets very confused. Basically it is like taking a handful of uppers and downers together. The adrenalin is speeding us up and the carbon dioxide is doing its best to slow us down. It is all too much, so we revert to behaviour as bazaar as we feel. The problem is compounded by the fact that we learn negative behaviours from doing them and getting attention - giving a sense of power and control. Dealing with difficult behaviours
19 So, how do we fix it? It ’ s really easy – doesn ’ t that make you mad! Get rid of any excess adrenalin, replace carbon dioxide with oxygen, set the scene for, and reinforce any positive behaviours. Let ’ s put it into the classroom environment – as teachers you don ’ t have a magic wand to change the home environment. Dealing with difficult behaviours
20 Getting rid of excess adrenalin Dealing with difficult behaviours Remedy - Use it up with physical, non-competitive activities – preferably first thing in the morning, after all breaks and any highly competitive or difficult sessions. Class room options Skipping – it’s boring, but uses up mega adrenalin (with the bonus they have to breathe). It also assists left/right brain assimilation. Star jumps – similar to skipping, no equipment needed. Stair walking – but you have to do enough of it to wear them down. Running on the spot, hard; followed by some gentle stretching – yoga or tai-chi. On an individual level a child can learn to ask for a skipping rope and take time out themselves.
21 Changing carbon dioxide to oxygen (1) Remedy - Breathe in such a way that both top and bottom parts of the lungs get fresh air. Breathe out first so that you empty the lungs of carbon dioxide before you start. For some people it is such a novel experience – having oxygen in the system – that they feel high or euphoric! Dealing with difficult behaviours
22 Changing carbon dioxide to oxygen (2) Classroom options Teach and do breathing techniques in your classes. If you know they have been in stuffy environments open the windows and/or take them outside for 5 minutes of fast exercise. Teach some simple 2 – 3 minute yoga with breathing routines. Salute to the sun is simple and easy to learn. Introduce a 4 – 5 minute relaxation / breathing tape into you lesson plans. All this can be done at home too! Dealing with difficult behaviours
23 Set up and reward positive behaviours Remedy Just do it. Get them addicted to good behaviours not harmful ones. Brainstorm with other family members, friends, school staff, supervisors, almost anyone, about your problem children / students and ways to try and set up positive behaviours and reward them. Remember What works for one person may not always work for another. For me as an adult I find a 20 minute walk works wonders – I don ’ t like the actual doing it, but the benefits are amazing! Give me sincere verbal stokes and I ’ m captivated, I ’ m yours! Dealing with difficult behaviours
24 Dealing with difficult behaviours Six steps to changing a mood Instant behaviour modification.
25 This works if you do it, but it doesn’t work if you don’t! It is not always easy to set up in a classroom situation; but well worth the effort, if you can. It ’ s easy to set up at home. It works best in a primary school, or home setting, where it can be taught as a technique they can use for the rest of their life. More organisation is needed for a High School. Try it yourself, and see exactly how it works. Then talk about it with your children and /or students. Pick a real incident to demonstrate it, use yourself or a co-operating child / student. Make it a cool thing to do and clearly outline the benefits of having the ability to change ones mood (power and control). Dealing with difficult behaviours
26 Step 1 - Breathe BREATHE. Get that carbon dioxide out and the oxygen in. Give the brain the tools it needs to think more appropriately. Three good (slow) breaths – start by breathing OUT ! Dealing with difficult behaviours
27 Step 2 – have half a glass of fruit-juice HAVE HALF A GLASS OF FRUIT-JUICE. It has to be proper fruit juice. Apparently it is the natural sugars and vitamins which give the body and brain a wee surge of energy. You don ’ t want any extra chemical cocktails with flavourings, colourings and taste enhances. Failing the fruit juice, go for half a glass of water. At least the water will make sure that the brain has some fluid around it which it needs to send good clear messages. All to often people dehydrate – too much coffee, cola, fizz and not enough plain liquid. Dealing with difficult behaviours
28 Step 3 – Think a pleasant thought THINK A PLEASANT THOUGHT. Learn to have a few pleasant thoughts you can recall easily. This will disengage the brain from the present negative, unhelpful thinking pattern, on to something else; it will also give you a little endorphin fix, a lift and mini high. You can use the same pleasant thought over and over again – it is easier than having to think up new ones! Dealing with difficult behaviours
29 Step 4 – Change focus CHANGE FOCUS. Now actively choose to think about something else - other than what put you in the mood you wanted to change. If you are a stubborn person do it with all the stubbornness you can muster, if you are a humorous person do it with humour. Whatever the key is - choose to think about something else. As human beings we have the power to think what we want – our minds don ’ t rule us, we rule our minds! Dealing with difficult behaviours
30 Step 5 –Move as if you are happy MOVE AS IF YOU ARE HAPPY. Think about how people move when they are happy or when they are angry, sad or frustrated. Act out being happy. This in turn will make you feel better, will lift your spirits. Dealing with difficult behaviours
31 Step 6 –Acknowledge what you have just done ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT YOU HAVE JUST DONE. Give yourself a reward, a pat on the back. With all those manoeuvres going on in your head, there is no way you can stay in the same mood as you were. You have also shown very clearly to yourself and others that you have the POWER. (This step is extremely important) Dealing with difficult behaviours
32 Simple and effective This simple technique can be taught to anyone. The trick of course, is wanting to change the mood in the first place. Anyone can do it; they just have to want to. Sometimes people are getting too much out of being in the mood (attention, power, control) so they don ’ t want to change it – so …. make sure they don ’ t get the attention, power, control. Make sure the ones who make the change do! Dealing with difficult behaviours
33 Dealing with difficult behaviours Changing a habit / behaviour Here are some of the theories relevant to behaviour and why we do them. Behaviour is addictive because of what we believe (true or false) we get out of it.
34 Dealing with difficult behaviours WE ARE A MIXTURE OF: Learned behaviour Rebellion We understand where our behaviour is likely to have come from What works - and whatever works I will use again and again, even if it doesn’t work that well, or only worked once; I just keep hoping it will perfect itself. Those behaviours I copied from parents, caregivers and other significant people, or as seen on TV! What works. What hurts. (What pisses others off) That’s pathetic. I say I’ll never do it again. I think and think about it. I get really stressed and sure enough, I’ve just found I’ve done it again.
35 Behaviours are often as much a habit as any other addiction; and what that means for us. Dealing with difficult behaviours TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF OUR HABITS / DEPENDANCY INSECURITIES Lack of skills Poor self image Lack of confidence A need to mask Add pressure from parents, society or peer pressure We do something that gives us a THRILL / HIGH / BUZZ (which is usually anti-social) TO GIVE US A FEELING OF POWER / CONTROL/ ATTENTION When we stop doing it we feel CONFUSED And then Withdraw This, then, becomes the habit / dependency cycle
36 We need to understand why it is so difficult to stop doing what we do Dealing with difficult behaviours AVOIDING CHANGE – WHETHER I’M 5 OR 75 YEARS OLD 1. THE GOING GETS TOUGH. Life throws a stressful situation at me. Something I’m not sure how to handle. I do something stupid, I get into trouble, I tell a lie and get caught out, I steal something. Trouble can be big or small. People treat me like an idiot. 2. I FEEL I CAN’T COPE So I look for things that will give me a ‘buzz’. If I’m an adult it might be booze, workload issues, drugs, sex, food, etc. A young person may just pick something they consider will give them attention, a sense of control or power, or do ALL the above anyway!. 3. I THEN Do them more and more, to try to keep the buzz going. If I wasn’t addicted to doing them initially, I soon will be! 4. PROBLEM IS – I’m so busy doing whatever it is to desperately keep the buzz going, I don’t have time or energy to evaluate how good or not it really feels, let alone look at stopping it.
37 Understand the basic concepts of changing a behaviour / habit Dealing with difficult behaviours BREAKING THE CYCLE A) First of all there has to be a MOTIVATOR. A reason why you / they would want to stop doing the old behaviour and instead go to the bother of doing the new behaviour. This is usually one of these three things:- 1. A CRISIS – I’m up to my armpits in muck, I’m scared and it is clear to me now that I’m not winning. 2. I’VE HAD ENOUGH – I’m tired, I want to stop this game, I want to get off, it’s not working out like I’d hoped. 3. PRIMAL SURVIVAL – This one is more about doing it (making positive change) for our kids, or because of our beliefs. B) Then we have to have CONTROL OF OUR DEPENDENCIES. For this to happen I need:- The knowledge of what I do and why I do it. My motivation to change – the why I’d want to. The specific skills and techniques that are going to help me – related to what I do and why. To see a light at the end of the tunnel. A specific, step by step plan of action, complete with achievable and appropriate rewards. C. GET ON & DO IT!
38 Food for thought It is important that any person, young or old, working on personal development or behaviour change begins with the end in mind. That they have a clear mental image of how they want to be. This sort of positive re- programming of patterns is a most effective tool. Dealing with difficult behaviours You can see from the diagrams that it is very necessary for the young person to enter into dialogue and to self-express what their present patterns actually are, clearly seeing them for what they are, and then working out and talking about what new patterns might be like instead. Adults must reinforce the new behaviours at every chance.
39 Things, information, thoughts, discussions that may help us change include: Dealing with difficult behaviours I want to do it – I am clear about why and I can see that I can do it, it is possible. I think about it – the consequences, outcomes, exactly who will be affected, risks and results of both the old behaviour and the new behaviour. I practice the new behaviour – with support, I also practice accepting change.
40 Skills, skills, skills I have the skills I can work on, to make the change and also on handling things when I get it wrong. Trying to understand others. Understanding self. I get help with working on patience, control, communication and respect, for me and those around me. Remember all this stuff is incredibly difficult for anyone, let alone a young person! Dealing with difficult behaviours
41 Motivation – the biggy! Dealing with difficult behaviours Motivation Why would I want to put myself through all this. How do I maintain, or get enough faith in myself so that I can reach for the goals I want?
42 So, the basics for changing a behaviour are: Label the behaviour you want to change and have a reason for changing it. Know what you want to do instead. Believe you can change – see yourself doing it – acting as you would like to be. Understand your stress cycle – how it works for you. Have a list of good / positive activities you can do, or think about to relieve the stress or even do instead of the old behaviour. Have a plan of action to deal with the ‘ at risk ’ times. Dealing with difficult behaviours
43 Always appreciate When we are stressed, confused or frightened, we will usually revert back to old habits and behaviours – so, extra care and planning is needed for success. And remember – we can only change an old behaviour when we have a new behaviour to replace it with. Dealing with difficult behaviours
44 Dealing with difficult behaviours The Power Triangle and Toxic Families The effect of family buying into the power triangle has on children; assisting children to develop other more effective, and less abusive, options and models.
45 POWER TRIANGLE - GAMES PEOPLE OFTEN PLAY The Power Triangle shows the roles that people often get into. It also helps us to see how dangerous such roles can become. This part of the programme may help us to find better ways of working with children and teenagers, keeping us and them safer. This is not a nice topic, however, this is the stuff that is so often the foundation of the lives of the people we work with. This is the hurt, the yuck and the gore of real life. Different people deal differently with it, some people appear undamaged by their toxic upbringing, but ask them later and hear the cost. To effect change we need to assist people / children from such backgrounds to be strong enough to make change, to break the cycle, and for them to be able to bare that cost. Dealing with difficult behaviours
46 Dealing with difficult behaviours Roles within the power triangle VICTIM The helpless one, the hopeless one, the one who always looks for support or advice, the one who depends on others. PERSECUTOR The one in control, s/he who must be obeyed, the one who calls the tune, the one who must be appeased, the bossy bully. RESCUER The softie, the helper (enabler), the one who tries to do the right thing, the meat in the sandwich. People and children involved in the triangle are often well able to play all three roles – it just depends what is likely to get them more of what they want, at that time. Dealing with difficult behaviours
47 Benefits! Who gets what out of these roles in the triangle? Each of the players gets benefits from being in the triangle. Often as one of the parties tries to remove themselves from the triangle, the others will sabotage their growth. Notice how similar this cycle is to bullying. Dealing with difficult behaviours
48 DYSFUNCTIONAL HOMES ARE THOSE IN WHICH ONE OR MOREOF THE FOLLOWING OCCUR 1 Abuse of alcohol and/or other drugs (prescribed or illicit). Compulsive behaviour such as compulsive eating, working, cleaning, gambling, spending, dieting, exercising and so on; these practices are addictive behaviours, as well as part of a progressive disease process; among their many other harmful effects, they effectively disrupt and prevent honest contact and intimacy in a family. Battering of spouse and/or children. Inappropriate sexual behaviour on the part of a parent toward a child, ranging from seductiveness to incest. Extended periods of time in which parents refuse to speak to each other. Dealing with difficult behaviours
49 Dealing with difficult behaviours DYSFUNCTIONAL HOMES ARE THOSE IN WHICH ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING OCCUR 2 Parents who have conflicting attitudes or values or display contradictory behaviours that compete for their children ’ s allegiance. Parents who are competitive with each other or their children. Parents who cannot relate to others in the family and thus actively avoid them, while blaming them for this avoidance. Extreme rigidity about money, religion, work, use of time, displays of affection, sex, television, housework, sports, politics and so on; obsession with any of these can preclude contact and intimacy, because the emphasis is not on relating, but following the rules. Dealing with difficult behaviours
50 Dealing with difficult behaviours DYSFUNCTIONAL HOMES ARE THOSE IN WHICH ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING OCCUR 3 If one parent displays any of these kinds of behaviours or obsessions, it is damaging to the child. If both parents are caught up in any of these unhealthy practices, the results may be even more detrimental. Often parents practice complimentary kinds of pathology. For instance, an alcoholic and a compulsive eater will marry, and then each will struggle to control the other ’ s addiction. Parents also often balance each others unhealthy ways; when the smothering, over-protective mother is married to the angry and rejecting father each parent is actually enabled by the other ’ s behaviour and attitudes to continue relating to the children in a destructive way. Dealing with difficult behaviours
51 Dealing with difficult behaviours DYSFUNCTIONAL HOMES ARE THOSE IN WHICH ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING OCCUR 4 Dysfunctional families come in many styles and varieties, but they all share one effect they have on children growing up in them. These children are to some extent damaged in their ability to feel and relate. Dealing with difficult behaviours
52 Dealing with difficult behaviours Take a child growing up in an alcoholic home as an example 1: If I grow up with an alcoholic parent, I grow up in confusion. Alcohol sees to that. Alcohol, however, does not decide how I perceive that confusion. I carefully craft and engineer those perceptions - so that with a child ’ s perspective and needs - I can believe I am special, cared for, not abandoned; that I can get some form of attention, a sense of power, an area of control over my life (so that I have a reason for existing). I also devise amazing defence mechanisms in order to live with and keep those perceptions in tact. Dealing with difficult behaviours
53 Dealing with difficult behaviours Take a child growing up in an alcoholic home as an example 2: The defence mechanisms I create are powerful resources that keep me alive, but as I grow and mature those resources threaten my adult stability; they stop me from achieving my potential. They siphon off energy I so badly need for growth, to be whole, to be a person in my own right. Early coping mechanisms can blister adult relationships, parenting skills, job performance, my ability to enjoy life and even life itself. Dealing with difficult behaviours
54 Dealing with difficult behaviours Have a look at your child / students & think about some of the rules they probably have to live by. An example of some of the rules - overtly or covertly acknowledged -that exist in such families might include: It ’ s not okay to talk about or express feelings openly – if you do you are a sissy. Don ’ t address issues or relationships directly – it ’ s just not done. Always be strong, always be good, always be perfect - or you ’ re nothing. Don ’ t be selfish. Do as I say.... Not as I do. It ’ s not okay to play. Don ’ t rock the boat – or you ’ ll get eaten by the shark (never mind just falling in the water) Dealing with difficult behaviours
55 Dealing with difficult behaviours Working co-operatively to collapse the triangle In order to get out of the triangle way of doing things we need to find another way – to break the cycle we need to work like this: CONSULTATION PARTICIPATION CO-OPERATION WE DO IT BETTER TOGETHER! Power Games Power Games Dealing with difficult behaviours
56 Dealing with difficult behaviours Getting out of role and being co-operative What could a person do to collapse the triangle and remove themself from the power game role that they no longer wish to play? PERSECUTOR / BULLY VICTIM RESCUER / WITNESS Dealing with difficult behaviours
57 Why might it be better to do the co-operative thing? What are some of the advantages that co- operative decision- making has over power games? Dealing with difficult behaviours
58 Dealing with difficult behaviours Being pro-active rather than reactive The difference between proactive and reactive responses and how to up-skill a young person to respond pro-actively.
59 Dealing with difficult behaviours BEING PRO-ACTIVE There are those people who are reactive and those that are pro- active. Reactive people hand over power / control to others, and thus get more stressed. Let’s look at the difference. REACTIVE people are: Affected by their physical environment. Into blaming others. Into blaming things, circumstances etc, for their plight. Often overly defensive or protective. Dependent on others. PRO-ACTIVE people are; Being responsible for their own life. Driven by their own values. Want to feel comfortable about taking the initiative. Which one has the most fun and gets more of what they want?
60 Dealing with difficult behaviours Difference between ‘liberty’ and ‘freedom’ Pro-active people understand the difference between: LIBERTY – which is outside of us, options to choose from our environments - if you go to prison your liberty is taken away. FREEDOM no one can take your freedom away while you are living, breathing and thinking – our internal power, our ability to choose from options involving : INSPIRATION – from the word inspire. MEANING – your beliefs. DIGNITY – your ability to hold your head up, walk tall, feel proud.
61 Dealing with difficult behaviours Freedom to choose As human beings when we have a situation we can choose our response. We do not have to just react! We have freedom to choose - if our response is pro-active the choice will include.
62 Discussion with children may go along the lines of: What I ’ d (really!!) like to do. The difference between what we know to be good and bad, positive and negative. What else I can think of. What my strengths and weaknesses are and how best to utilise them. Dealing with difficult behaviours
63 Dealing with difficult behaviours A comment about addictions, alcohol and TV violence on children and teenagers
64 The effect of addictions, alcohol and TV violence on children and teenagers It is very simple. Children and teenagers don’t need them. They don’t need to see them, they don’t need to be party to them and it is up to the adults in their lives to keep them safe from them. Dealing with difficult behaviours