Focus on the Positive

In his book Practical Solutions to Practically Every Problem, Steffen Saifer offers this advice when dealing with children with behavior problems:

“Feel positive toward the child with behavior problems.  View him as a valuable gift, as he will provide you with an opportunity to learn a great deal. You may learn about the causes of behavior problems, new approaches for helping, the nature of your own biases, new parenting skills, and the availability of community agencies and resources.  He will provide you with a chance to help turn a life around for the better.

“A child with challenging behaviors also can help you improve your program.  A highly active child may be the first (or the only one) to let you know that your activity is boring.  A child who cries often can tell you that you ma y not have enough inviting things to do (he probably has too much time to think about his unhappiness).  Although you may feel that this challenging child has come into your life just to make you miserable, he has not.  He is acting the best and the only way he knows.  Understanding the challenging child will help you feel positive, empathetic, and loving towards him, which may be the single most important thing you can do to reduce the behaviors.”

Do you think about how your language plays a vital role in this? Make a list of words that you want to use on a daily basis and a list of words that you want to take out of your vocabulary.  Does this strategy support your work with  children learning pro-social skills?