Help! He refuses to follow instructions :(

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by Starshine, Apr 27, 2007.

  1. Starshine

    Starshine Rookie

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    Apr 27, 2007

    Hi everyone,

    I have a four year old boy in my class who is extremely stubborn when it comes to following instructions. If you ask him to do something he will first say "No." When I ask again he flings himself on the floor and starts crying. I don't know how genuine this 'crying' is because on occasion I have walked away to ignore him, looked back and noticed he has stopped straight away. He seems to like testing the limits, and when he behaves like this is interrupts the class. I have used positive reinforcement when he is doing the right thing, and have tried to stand my ground with him when he is not. I have also tried tactical ignoring. What can you do when you have a child on the floor refusing to move? Does anyone have any ideas?:confused:
     
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  3. Counz2BLiz

    Counz2BLiz Rookie

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    Apr 27, 2007

    What kinds of activities or things does he like that you can tempt him with or take away. What about "time out" & away from the other children? How about M & M's ? I hate to use food but you could taper it off later and add things he likes to do. This is a postive or negative reinforcement issue,obviously. You will just have to use trial and error to see what works, each kid is so different.

    Best to you!;)
     
  4. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Apr 27, 2007

    I'm reading The Explosive Child by Ross Greene again about how to deal with one of my little four year olds. Try some of the strategies.
     
  5. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    May 11, 2007

    Try reading Love and Logic and Love and Logic for Teachers.

    I recently got a student who threw tantrums on the floor. At first I was shocked and reacted with discipline. Then I started ignoring it. Then I just moved the whole class away to a different area/activity. Once everyone was ignoring the behavior and having a good time without this student, the tantrums stopped.
     
  6. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    May 11, 2007

    I'm in 1st grade (but a very immature and academic delayed group). It depends on the child and the situation. Here are some steps I might take:

    I might first squat to his level and ask him to tell me in his big boy voice why he is saying no. Then tell him why he must do it. You can tell him you will help him do it. You will work with him (so he isn't alone). Then start doing part of the work and ask him to do the next step. Sometimes that works.
    Then there are times I use my boot camp voice and say "That is not acceptable. (ie, you must do it)" You have to know my kids. Most of mine respond to that mixed with 5,4,3..etc. This only works because they know it follows a firm attitude on my part and then a consequence. I'm not sure your kid is old enough for the whole enchilada, but the firm voice and insistance that he has to do it (ie everyone else is) may work.
    Another technique I use is to put the student out of the circle in a chair (but insist that they must watch) and sometimes they calm down enough and want to participate so they can rejoin.
    With my own toddler, a soft voice and an explanation of why we are doing it and why it is important and would he mind helping does the trick.
    After each of the negative strategies, I always follow it with a compliment for cooperating.
    For my group we also do a tally on the board by their name to indicate a min missed of recess. That gets them going. Your group sounds too young for that.
     
  7. Research_Parent

    Research_Parent Cohort

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    May 14, 2007

    Another way to treat this kind of behavior is to offer him a choice...

    You can follow my instructions
    OR
    You can sit there quietly until ....

    Sometimes, little kids feel like they never have a choice as to what they get to do so respond promptly with a "no...you can't make me...I dont' want to attitude"
     
  8. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    May 19, 2007

    A different breed

    Hi Starshine and Research Parent!

    I must admit that some of these kids must be from a different planet or have drugs in their systems! I have worked with several preschool programs throughout the country, but never experienced such insubordination as I have now.

    Part of the problem, if you see my first post, is tattling. Tattlers provoke children who already have a history of aggression. Although the tattler just wants attention, and to see the others in trouble, some of them end up getting seriously hurt.

    My biggest problem is that the other teachers just yell all day. Some talk nicely, but most of them yell, so yelling is all they respond to. I have issues with this, especially since I am the opening teacher. I don't want parents to see me yell at children.

    My only recourse to a stubborn child is to put him out of the classroom. Period. I will not deal with a child who does not respect me or wishes to harm others. We team teach, and sometimes sending a trobuled child to another room temporarily calms them down...or they just have a greater fear of the other teacher. For whatever reason, that is my only out. I don't feel the administrator handles the situation well at all.

    I plan to take Behavior Management next spring. I will look for more book titles from other members to this post.

    Good luck!

    Master Pre-K
     
  9. AnnaJ

    AnnaJ Rookie

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    May 24, 2007

    Those kids are extra fun, right! ha, just kidding! one approach ive found that works most of the time is when they are actually having a tantrum whether it be tears or actually on the floor going at it, is to speak calmly and quietly and say something like "im so sorry your sad and angry alex, i really want to talk to you about this thing thats made you so upset. please let me know when your ready to talk/participate with the class" and just leave it at that. you may need to remove the child to the back of the room, out of the circle or away from the group.

    if you are still a few degrees below the boiling point and the child is being defiant, but not to the point of a tantrum yet you could try a compromise. When the child responds "NO! I wont do it and you cant make me." try something like "Oh, is there a better way to do this?" and get down on his level so he knows you really want to listen. if you give him a few options like "how about i throw away your scrap paper pile while you put the finishing touches on your art, and then you can do a speedy clean up" or something that makes them feel a little less agitated. you may discover that he was just really enjoying whatever it was he was doing and (despite the 9 times you gave the class a 'clean up warning) he didnt get a chance to finish. the extra two minutes you give him to finish up and the one minute you take to talk with him will far outweigh any time that a tantrum will take
     
  10. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    May 26, 2007

    Well, this is tantrum behavior. And, remember that tantrums continue because tantrums work. Though tantrums are part of general behavior, each one is specific. A lot of times the frustration from not "finishing" or from impotence in decisions can overwhelm a child. This "flooding" leads to a tantrum. Anna pointed out several amazing concepts. Bringing yourself to the childs level. Our bodies pick up on each others vitals, and as "flooding" is a physiological manifestations, if you can keep your cool while being close to the child, this will help the child re-establish control over themselves. That said, coping with one's emotions is a vital skill learned at this age, so remember that sometimes after you make that initial contact and acknowledge the child that letting them cry is a good thing. During flooding and tantrums people (becasue this happens to adults too.) lose a lot of their ability to use logic. And considering 4 year olds already struggle here, it is safe for you to assue that much of the time logic is completely out the window. Thus, when the tatrum has subsided you can revisit the tantrum with the child.

    But, if the child has a tantrum everytime "clean-up" time comes and therefore never helps clean the room. Well, then a natural consequence would be limiting the toys said child can play with during the times prior to "clean-up" time. The child will not like these constraints but you can explain that if they are not going to pick up after themselves then they cannot make such big messes. This is just an example of a natural consequence in limiting environments, but I the point is to use natural consequences to help children understand why you are having them do such and such at this time.

    (I am not sure if any of that ramble is clear. Hopfully you understand).

    Cheers :)
     
  11. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    May 26, 2007

    Anger Management 101

    I have tried getting down on their level, holding, hugging, and speaking calmly, giving choices, and praising when they did better.

    Trouble is, most of them have a really short fuse and a terrible temper. Just like some adults, trying to calm them down only aggravates them more!

    And letting them cry it out is fine with me, but directors and parents don't like it. They always coming nosey around, hugging or yelling at the prepertator, and ignoring my explanations. Usually the child is just taken out of my class.

    I think it has a lot to do with parents who are spoiling too much, and not setting limits. These kids are not used to hearing 'NO'. They are, unfortunately, used to seeing parents and other adults strike out when they can't get their way.

    Master Pre-K
     
  12. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    May 26, 2007


    Giving them the attention can often fuel the fire. Acknowledging thier frustration however is not trying to calm them down or spoiling them.

    Yes the parents are playing into the drama. That is why tantrums continue, because they work.

    But kids are wonderfully intelligent. You can teach them that you will not put up with this nonsense. That stubborness will not earn them privelages.

    If a director is stepping on your toes you are in a unfortunate situation. Admin problems are much harder to tackle than tantrums. I would talk to the director, and consider finding a different center next year.
     
  13. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    May 28, 2007

    Thanks for you help

    Thanks for your help Tigers,

    One thing I can say about this center is that I have a lot of time off. That gives several well-deserved breaks.:D I will definitely concentrate on understanding/reassuring statements and less calming down from now on.

    I think directors know exactly what they are doing...and that may be a whole new post...Directors who focus on $$ and not quality child care.
     

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