very angry child acting out--need stategies

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by debbie, Oct 13, 2004.

  1. debbie

    debbie Rookie

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    Oct 13, 2004

    I have a boy in my class, age 6--looks 9 (think it might be a factor in terms of too much maybe expected?)--he is very aggressive, angry; can tell he is probably hurting and seems to be looking for comfort. Don't know any family history. Immediate problem is that dynamics of classroom are completely affected. Has used racial slurs as of late and today threatened to throw glass found on playground at another child. This child is definately asking for help.Banned him from game he was in involved the glass throwing scenario and explained that it was an immediate consequence and his behaviour was this: yelling at me, sitting with fingers in ears for about 10 minutes(any attention i gave in eyecontact was very noted by him; ) threatened to leave , walked off (watching all the while) etc etc. you get the picture. My response was to let him know I care and speak to him about keeping kids in my class safe and engage him in planning for the next day good response told him I probably wouldn't be a good teacher if I didn't give consequences). I want to help this boy...he needs alot of emotional support and is very frustrated. Suggestions please??
     
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  3. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Oct 14, 2004

    I had 1 child last year that would become very angry and agressive. She happened to be bipolar, and probably had other issues as well. Luckily, we have a supportive principal for those instances were hitting is involved, and the student can be referred to a "Solutions" room. It is a type of in school suspension in a special classroom where they can come up for solutions for behaving better and do their work away from the class. Later on, she hit and told kids she wanted to kill them and was sent home early. I realize these types of options aren't available at all schools (although they should), but my point in mentioning is that, first of all, it was made clear to her that these behaviors were not acceptable, and there would be a consequence. (She then tested that consequence to see if I REALLY meant what I said.) I emphasized that she would not be allowed to hurt other kids. School is a safe place. She could stay in our classroom if she could be safe, and not hurt other kids. I would talk to her about how I cared about HER and I would not want another child hurting HER that way. Then we discussed ways of dealing with anger. What made you want to throw glass at ____? A lot of times, it would be that she was being overly sensitive and thought kids were making fun of her, even when they were not. I would emphasize the positive to make her feel accepted. Once you can see what types of things are provoking him, it will help you know how to deal with it more effectively. We also talked about how it feels when you get angry (your eyebrows go together, your arms get stiff, your chest feels tight, etc.) Whenever she felt these signs of anger, like she was going to hurt someone, we came up with other options... At first she didn't know other options... later she could review them... Here are examples:

    On the playround: 1) run away -- play somewhere else 2) get a teacher and say "I need your help. I feel like I'm going to hurt ____." 3) take a deep breath, etc.

    IN THE CLASSROOM - There was a designated cooling down space. I had a bean bag in the reading area, where she could retreat to and calm down by herself. I didn't have a lot of space, but I have heard a lot about a time out area (not for punishment) where any child could go when they felt angry. You can think about what would work for your particular class, but a lot of kids like a hiding spot where they can be enclosed a bit without other kids being able to see them.

    Many times, she'd blow as she was trying to make it to the space, and she'd throw down her blocks or slam her chair to the floor, but we were making progress... at least it wasn't a direct hit on another child. Of course, we then moved to learning how to control anger enough so that objects were not thrown and no one gets hurt. The other kids were lectured when she was in Solutions about knowing when to leave someone alone. She had a boiling point, and I had some boys who would provoke her. I made it very clear to them that when she is in a "leave me alone" mood, that they respect her wishes and leave her alone. We talked about how everyone has days where they may not feel like playing or want to be alone, etc. It was quite a learning experience. By the end of the year, the other kids were really in tune with how to deal with her (and live to see another day!)

    I think once you figure out why the child is acting out, you can adjust your strategies. The anger and agressiveness did not go away, but it did improve over the year.
     
  4. debbie

    debbie Rookie

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    Oct 14, 2004

    Amanda...thank you for your positive suggestions. I can see that I have alot of work to do with this boy. He is actually a very sensitive individual who does respond well when he cools off. I can also see that despite his objections to my interventions, he is looking to create a bond and that is definately something to work with! Debbie
     
  5. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Oct 14, 2004

    I had a boy like that in my class last year and it took awhile to figure him out. He had the anger problem and was very sensitive (and smart) I met with his counselors and his family and we worked together. I told him when he felt like hitting someone to come and be by me and I would help him out. He did it and we became such good friends. I miss him now that he has moved on to a different grade.Many times, kids like that have a much higher sensitivity level than others and things literally "drive them crazy" that would normally not affect other persons in the room. Hang in there and stay close.
     

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