Not Sure How to Handle This Child....

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by NewTeacher05, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. NewTeacher05

    NewTeacher05 Rookie

    Aug 10, 2011
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    Dec 13, 2013

    Help! I teach Kindergarten. I have one child that is a huge problem for me. He never listens or follows directions. He is a huge attention seeker from me and his classmates. He throws fake crying fits if he does not get his way (he is not picked to volunteer, the activity we are doing is not something he wants to do). This morning he came in and immediately threw his chair, when I asked why he said no one in the class wants to be his friend (he has said this several times, yet all my students are more than willing to talk to him and laugh with him when he talks to them) He does not line up for recess with the rest of the class, I have to basically start chasing him down until he lines up. He scratched a girl until he broke skin, I wrote a referral and nothing happened, so admin apparently does not care. Parents have started to blame me and say I must be picking on him or allowing his classmates to pick on him and thats why he acts out because he is a sensitive child.

    I'm not sure what to do at this point, the behavior is getting out of control, I feel like even if I did start to get admin involved the behavior would still continue b/c the parents think he can do no wrong and also think I am being unfair to give him consequences for his tantrums.

    Any suggestions on how to handle him, keeping him busy as a "helper" has worked, but if he misbehaves and doesn't get to be a helper he has one of his crying fits. It also I feel sends the wrong message to the rest of my class and its not fair to my good ones to give him jobs when they are always listening and following directions.
  3. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

    Jul 21, 2009
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    Dec 13, 2013

    It sounds like a frustrating situation. I understand your perspective because I have had a number of children with behavioral issues of this kind over the years.

    First I would suggest that you take a look at the way you are viewing the situation. Take a closer look, not with any intent to blame anyone for what is happening, but with the intent to find solutions.

    It sounds as though he has few social skills - he is unable to make friends, though others have offered to be his friend. He is unsure of how to get positive attention. Any kind of attention is better than none in his eyes.

    Most likely his parents are also having trouble handling the child. They are feeling defensive because they are only told what he is doing wrong, and this is viewed by them as an attack on their parenting. They are responding by attacking what you are doing.

    To turn the situation around, I would suggest viewing the parents as your allies. You are both interested in supporting this child to be successful in school. One way to build positive relationships with parents is to let them know when the child is having a good day (or in this case, a good half day, or a good class period). Thank them for their support. You may not be able to rely on them for any consequences at home. You will have to accept that if that is the case. Instead, try to build a positive relationship with them by giving them more good reports than bad.

    Next I would suggest that you take a closer look to see if the child does what you expect him to do at anytime during the day. You said that he never listens or follows directions. It may certainly appear that way to you; but if you give it some thought, you will see that there are probably times when he does listen and follow directions.

    Does he sit in his chair at anytime during the day? Then he is following directions at that point. Since he is a huge attention seeker, the time to give him attention is when he is doing the things you expect him to.

    At the beginning of this intervention, you will need to give him loads of positive support. You will also have to balance this with consequences. What consequences do you have in place for misbehavior?

    He (as does every child) longs to see himself as a valued person in your classroom. That's why he likes being your helper. You can give him this by pointing out to him the many things that he does that contribute to class harmony. Whenever he is sitting quietly, reflect that back to him. When he is talking in a friendly way to others, let him know that you noticed. Point out to him any responsible behavior you observe. Be constantly on the look out for it, and you will observe it.

    I'd recommend that you read the book "Transforming the Difficult Child." It will help you to deal with this child, and all of the other children down the road of your teaching career who present these kinds of problems.

    Reading this book will help you to understand how your influence can make a huge difference in this child's life.
  4. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

    Jul 28, 2005
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    Dec 14, 2013

    I feel your pain. I have his brother from another mother in my room. The first month of school was pure hell for me and my class. I will say first thing my principal was very supportive so in that regards I was very lucky. Here is what I did. First thing was my principle did let me have an aid for a 30 minute block to get my phonics lesson done. All she did was sit with him and keep him on track. The next thing which I think was key was I gave lots of positive reinforcement. I took a a Manila folder and gave him stickers. In the beginning it was like every two minutes for anything that was good behavior. I also began ignoring any bad behaviors. Just continued what I was doing. If he chose to not do his work then I didn't help him. If he cried I ignored it. If he threw his paper on the floor I didn't pick it up and it stayed there until he picked it up. We are now about to go on chRistmas break. He no longer has the aid, he no longer needs a sticker for every good behavior. In fact I haven't given him a sticker in a while. His crying fits last about 10 seconds. Last week he did get mad and threw a chair and I was able to reprimand him without him throwing an even bigger fit. We have come along way from the beginning of the year.
  5. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

    Jun 14, 2013
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    Dec 14, 2013

    I had a student like this, and never found a total solution, but sticker charts for good behavior worked fairly well. Also, I felt like I was always getting at him for something, but what he really wanted more than anything was attention (which kind of surprised me - how do you still like me? Haha). So, it worked to offer my attention as a reward - he would do nearly anything to get to sit by me at lunch, or have me build with blocks with him.

    His parents were very aware of his behavior and very willing to help out by giving rewards and punishments at home for his school actions, which was probably more motivating than anything else for this boy. All in all, though, his behavior improved a little bit, but he still had plenty of bad days. Looking back, maybe a note home (or some kind of behavior form) every day would have worked well.

    When he wasn't there, I realized how much attention I was giving him, and how much easier the day was without him there. I look forward to reading what strategies and suggestions others have.

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