Emotionally troubled kid - how much leeway?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Jerseygirlteach, Feb 25, 2015.

  1. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Feb 25, 2015

    If you had a kid that had some really bad things happening at home, how much leeway would you give? How forgiving would you be if the kid shut down in class constantly, was disrespectful, refused to complete work, etc.?

    To what extent would you let it go?
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Feb 25, 2015

    I would definitely pull this child aside and talk about alternative ways to deal with things. Do you have a part of the room that can be a safe zone for retreat? Maybe having that little freedom might give you a little currency in the emotional bank.
     
  4. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Feb 25, 2015

    Thanks. Yeah, I try. He really won't talk to me about any of it. He will talk to the school social worker a bit in her office, so that's how I know what's happening, but he doesn't talk to me about it other than to say "I'm upset." I've offered to step into the hall with him to talk things over, but he refuses. He just shuts down or exhibits negative behaviors. I don't know how much I'm supposed to forgive and let go when he calls out mildly disrespectful and inappropriate things, refuses to work, closes his eyes, and tries to sleep day after day.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Feb 25, 2015

    Shutting down would be acceptable from time to time. I could give leeway with that. Not being disrespectful. You never have an excuse to treat other people poorly, no matter what your circumstances are.
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Feb 25, 2015

    Agreed. These kids need to know most of all that the expectations are the same for them as for everyone else.

    No leeway in these circumstances (again with the exception of shutting down if they just need a break from it all).
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Feb 25, 2015

    I posted this exact same question for one of my students last year. I won't go into details again, but basically his home life was unthinkable. I tried to be more "sensitive" with him, but felt like we weren't going to do him any favors by just letting him get away with whatever he wanted. The school psych was always getting upset with his classroom teacher and I because she felt we weren't being sympathetic enough. He was extremely defiant and disruptive. I feel like just letting him act like that would not be setting him up for the real world. I also read in his IEP from a previous school that he had similar behavior issues there, even though all of the tragic events hadn't happened yet, so I felt like the behavior was more than just a response to what happened. He was adopted by an aunt last summer and his new family seems to be just wonderful, but he exhibits similar behaviors still.
     
  8. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Feb 25, 2015

    I think it's ok to work with them, and give them some time, space or opportunity to decompress to avoid having a meltdown and to actually get it together and produce some work. On some days it's ok for them to check out and put their heads down, as long as it's communicated that this will not be allowed any time, all the time.

    It is not ok for them to use profanity, or be disrespectful, they still need to be held accountable.
    Sometimes kids are disruptive because they have issues at home. I never realized this, until one girl, who was always quiet and respectful just kept talking and talking and wouldn't respond to my redirections. She finally snapped and said that she was only talking, because her day started with her father grabbing her breakfast and throwing it on the floor and spilling coffee on her, (or something like that) and she was just trying to get her mind off of that. It made sense.

    Communicate with the kid. He might not want to open up to you, and that's ok, but find ways for the two of you to have some non-verbal clues when he needs to stop what his doing, or that he is telling you he wants to step outside or go to a quiet place in the room for a few minutes, or put his head down, etc.
     
  9. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Feb 26, 2015

    Definitely give space, perhaps even a delay on school work, but with the notice he will still be accountable for that work.

    Being disrespectful is not okay, as has been discussed. Perhaps he needs space and he definitely needs love, but the consequence must be firm.

    I'd say one of the best things you can do for him is to make school as routine and as calm as possible. Make it one place where he can count on normalcy.
     
  10. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Feb 26, 2015

    A few thoughts:

    Don't ask if he wants to talk about it. Tell him you'd like to have a chat, and all he needs to do is listen. Let him know that you understand that there's some rotten stuff going on, and that if he ever does want to talk, you're there for him, but he doesn't have to. What he does have to do is find a way to manage his emotions so that they're not disruptive. Then give him some ideas on how that could happen. Maybe you could come up with a code word or a hand signal that means "I need to find a quiet place, or I need to go to the counselor's office." Another thought is to have a place for him in your room that he can just move to when he needs to. Or maybe something like a stress ball would be helpful. Let him help you generate ideas. Let him know that while you're willing to work with him, there will still be consequences for negative behavior if he doesn't take advantage of whatever system you set up for him during the times he's feeling overwhelmed.

    Create an alternative schedule for homework, or reduce the homework load if you can. Find a happy medium somewhere, though I'd caution against pulling him out of specials to complete homework. That's just likely to create resentment on his part and make him feel secluded from his classmates.

    Involve him in all of it. Sometimes if a child is feeling powerless about rotten stuff at home, giving him a limited amount of control over what happens at school will help him take ownership of his success. Think of two or three alternatives you might be happy with and let him choose from those.
     

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