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Challenging Children Query


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I am going to do some work in a children's centre as a one to one support for a boy with EBD, a challenge that i have mixed feelings about;. This is for 2 days a week and i'm on supply atm.

 

There is something that has been bugging me for a while now that i wanted to ask about. It may be a silly question but I would appreciate some advice on the matter. Obviously i want to be prepared for every outcome and this will stand me in good stead in all situations.

 

My question is when a child runs away from a situation where he has hurt somebody or knows he's done something wrong and knows he is going to be spoken to, what action do you take?

I have mixed feelings about this. Obviously I want to make sure that the child and other children are safe and I know that the child is either

a: scared or

b: just thinks he can get away with running away.

I know he may need to be physically restrained but would trying to catch him make him or make matters worse and in this situation is it ok to ask for back up?

 

I would really appreciate the advice as dealing with more advanced behavioural problems and getting cooperation from more challenging children is something i really want to tackle now in order to further my career. I have strategies up my sleeve but feel it is still an area I need to work on.

 

Also any other advice on working with children with emotional behavioural difficulties would be gratefully appreciated

Thank you

 

Jenx x x

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Good question jen28, I personally think physical restraint is the last resort and obviously needs to be done appropriately and recorded and signed by parents.

 

Your right to consider your a & b, and sometimes a child will run, wanting to provoke a chase. All situations are different and need to be assessed at the time so it is difficult to comment conclusively. When I have had previous experience of a child often behaving in this way I have initially given the 'victim' all my attention ( the perpetrator can only 'run' so far, ie: not completely away). It's good to make clear to the perpetrator, prior to any event, as a consistent message the consequences of such actions, these consequences must be something that can be carried out ( ie: not idle threats). The consequences should be relative to the action. ie: If you hurt another child then........... The consequence should be carried out as soon after the event as possible and should be something that really brings home the message to the child that their behaviour is unnacceptable. This is the hard bit as these strategies often need changing if they appear not to change the behaviour.

The only example I can give at the moment is my son (13yrs), If he is 'grounded' for unwanted behaviour he doesn't really mind, it doesn't really bother him, but if he knows he will miss a days fishing then that really hurts, so he thinks twice now he knows this is a consequence of unnacceptable behaviour.

 

For younger children the consequence needs to be immediatte, first 'time out', although I use a different phrase like 'Calm time', due to once having a child who would hit another child, say out loud, 'time out' then go and sit on a chair. In other words, he was happy to pay his consequence.

 

So I deal with the victim, then go to the perpetrator (once they have inevitably stood still and are looking at you to see what happens next),He may be hiding so I wait until I can get eye contact which can be achieved even across a room. I go towards him but I stay out of his body space but close enough that I know he can hear me, I say, calm time, then say, I'm ready to talk to you now, come here. (body language and tone of voice denotes assertive, calm, tender control). Then with consideration to age/stage of development discuss the incident. I say something like "We are all friends here and we don't hurt our friends, you hurt (childs name) so you will have to........(sanction). When the short sanction is over I then go to the child and ask them to tell me why the sanction was given, just so they repeat the rules.

 

A child with EBD doesn't necessarily know why he hurts others, a complexity of not being able to show emotion appropriately, wanting attention, even feels secure in the 'habit' of gaining negative attention, is frustrated, cross, anxious etc. Sometimes there are triggers so good event sample observations can help in identifying these, behaviour may show to be towards particular children, at particular times of day, during adult led, or contrastly during 'free play, when others are 'in his space' or when he feels others are ignoring him, the trigger could be any or all or none of these. Observations will help to define his individual triggers. Discussions with parents at the beginning of the day, how has his morning gome so far, is he tired, hungry, had a good or not so good start to his day etc.

 

Sorry waffled on a bit - clear boudaries, clear sanctions, building up of a secure relationship, watching out for antecedents, recording antecedents, behaviour and concequences (ABC). Lots of patience, consistency in approach, really rewarding good behaviour (not tokenistic). partnership with parents.

 

Some other strategies are less verbal, such as traffic light, amber as a warning red for 'stop' etc.

 

Also time given to explain to his peers how to 'cope' with his behaviour, these children tend to get labelled very quickly and are made 'responsible' for minor 'normal' incidents that are blown up as major, just because the labelled child is involved. ie: Children cry out louder when approached or touched by the child that is labelled the 'hurter', whereas if it was another child they 'cope' with eveyday minor disagreemnts over toys etc. Be aware of this and balance the responses to situations with this in mind.

 

Lots more on this subject which I am sure others will add.

 

Good luck with your new role, let us know how it goes.

 

Peggy

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Thanks Peggy for the quick response!!!

Some really useful advice here!!! I will double check with the children's centre bout the physical restraint thing.

 

Like your idea about calm time, I have learned to give the victim more attention and often use this. This will be harder when i'm in a one to one situation as I will be required only to concentrate on my child but its certainly something I have done in the past.

 

Quick question: after u have given calm time , and then spoken to the child do you use another consequence or do u use calm time as a consequence, i got a bit confused, lol

 

So all in all really good advice,,

Another bit of good news , got an interview for sure start to be a teacher

scared but happy

 

Thanks for the advice

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Sorry for the confusion, for some children the 'calm time' (length of time appropriatte to behaviour, but not too long or child 'forgets' why they are there) is enough as a consequence, especially for one off incidents but if the behavior repeats often then the calm time is just about calming down to be able to listen and then follow the given sanction, the child should know what the then given sanction will be, such as not being allowed to play with a favourite toy, to be moved away from the area they were playing in, ie: if you hurt or upset anyone you can't play in the sand.

It's difficult to explain because the sanction needs to be relevant to the child. I personally don't think time out works that well, the child just feels isolated, thus more negative and angry. Calm time gives an opportunity to think about what just happened, with verbal support from the adult. Then by moving the child they are distracted but have still had a consequence.

 

My staff used to send children to the book area for time out, I would instruct the child to calm time whereever they were standing, then you are not in the position of having to 'make' the child move, reduce any challenges to de-escalate the emotions.

Also if a child is always sent to a book area (or other similar part of the room) then the book area becomes a negaive place to be

rather than a a place to enjoy books, that's why I stopped my staff using this method o time out.

 

Identifying triggers helps to enable you to distract before any event may take place. I understand about one-to-one situation but if you discuss stategies with the teacher and TA, then all other adults can 'back up' your ways of dealing with the behaviour. This is also important for continuity when you are not working with the child.

 

Congratulations on your interview, and yes they are scary, especially when you really want the job, just be yourself and I'm sure it will be fine. Let us know, and GOOD LUCK.

 

Peggy

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So would you suggest that if a child is having a'time-out' sat away from the 'scene of the crime' that a practitioner should sit with them....this is ongoing at our setting, some staff say a practitioner MUST sit with the child who has displayed unwanted behaviour and is being reprimanded (for want of a better word) or do you think the child can come away from the incident and sit aside, once talked to then left to sit for the time appropriate they can be alone - not in a humilating, solitary position, but watching play continuing around them?

 

Does that make sense?

We use time out as the parents use it and my manager has it in our policy.

 

The problem has arose as one child is being taken away from situations and consequently a member of staff is taken away from play to be with them - causing friction with other staff - so it would be nice to check with the pro's here at fsf! :o

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shireL, I think it depends on the child, (if still aggressive, needs supervision). However, I do think that if a member of staff stays with the child then the child has actually gained 1-1 attention, which in itself may not be effective in changing the childs behaviour if 1-1 attention is what the child desires.

 

I think 'time out' should be very short lived, if you think about attention span at a minute per year of age, then if time out is being used to enable the child time to think about what he/she has done then 4-5 mins max is enough, ignored by adult for this period then spoken to about behaviour.

I don't personally think that time out as a consequence works, as previously stated.

 

I also don't think a child should be made to apologies, unless of course they want to and actually mean it. This expectation could then become a 'situation' in itself, detracting from original event, or the child will say sorry parrot fashion with no conviction/meaning. I try to get the child to think of other ways they can show 'regret' and how they think they can 'apologies / make up' with the victim. :o

 

 

Do you find that 'time out' works in your setting?

Peggy

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Thanks Peggy, I think much the same and wanted some support for my reasoning - thanks again. :o

 

As for time out working?? - sometimes....not my preferred method and when I was manager elsewhere I didn't use it because I found it ineffective...however I chose not to manage so...

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Regarding a member of staff staying with the child on time out - we determine the need for this according to the child. One particular child needs an adult beside him or else he just runs away, but I make sure I sit looking away from him, and sit him so he can see everyone else enjoying themselves. I usually end the time out by pointing out how nicely everyone else is playing and how they are sharing, etc and ask him if he is ready to play that way (time out has usually been caused by not sharing or playing nicely).

 

Another child can sit out by himself quite successfully and in fact is more inclined to consider his actions and calm himself if left alone for a minute. You can see him physically relax when he has had a minute and I usually approach him at that point. He immediately tells me that he knows he should have ...... and is very good at recognising what he has done wrong. He then tells me he will do.... to make amends for his behaviour and goes to do it. A few minutes later he often apologises to me as well. His behaviour has improved no end since September and it is lovely to see how reflective he has become, but I do believe he needs to be encouraged into a clam down before he can do this.

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I do use time out, but try to use it as little as possible - especially if you have a particular child with challenges it can sometimes lead to other children saying "time out", or blaming particular child for everything - children with SEN also need their own particular strategy when dealing with their behaviour, as they may find their emotions very hard to control - I expect you will do wonderfully Jen, and it will only be once you really know him and his needs that you can put any behaviour expectation into process. However, it can be really hard being a 1-1 with just one child - I had to act as a 1-1 for a term for a little chap, and I can ssure you he completely exhausted me - my fellow colleagues sent me for a regular cup of coffee to get my batteries re-charged each morning, as I was mentally worn out - though looking back I learnt so much from him and he was really adorable.

 

Dot :oxD

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My question is when a child runs away from a situation where he has hurt somebody or knows he's done something wrong and knows he is going to be spoken to, what action do you take?

I have mixed feelings about this. Obviously I want to make sure that the child and other children are safe and I know that the child is either

a: scared or

b: just thinks he can get away with running away.

I know he may need to be physically restrained but would trying to catch him make him or make matters worse and in this situation is it ok to ask for back up?

 

The replies on here have been really excellent and really helpful to me too! The only things that i would add are that sometimes following or chasing a child can result in the practitioner losing dignity ( I've seen some adults chasing a child round a table in order to get them to have their calm time / consequence immediately) so in those cases its best to bide your time and wait until the child is ready to talk about the situation. It really depends on the child - most children you can be firm and assertive with and they'll be vaguely biddable and respectful, but for some children this is an issue, I think.

 

Also I think that there are cases where its really essential to realise that it takes a really significant length of time for some children to really physically release or 'come down' from the effects of anger in their bodies (I'm thinking of one particular little boy with EBD i've worked with). If you come in and try to move on from the situation with consequences that are meaningful and constructive for a child like this before they are ready it can just take you right back to where you started and cause their anger / panic to rise up all over again. When the child is fully calm and ready to talk, then you can talk and give consequences. It's really obvious, but sometimes its easy to forget until you've pushed a child before they're ready and then you're possibly ending up dealing with secondary inappropriate behaviours.

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Thanks all for your replies. Theres been such interesting points and fab advice. EmmaJess you hit the nail on the head with the losing dignity thing. That is the root of me asking that question because its such an awkward situation to be in that I want to avoid it at all costs but at the end of the day i need strategies for when this happens so incidents can be dealt with. Like I said there have been some fantastic points posted by other people so thank you.

 

I also agree that there r limits to the time out strategy.

 

Thanks for all your words of encouragement. Not sure when its all starting yet

 

Btw been reading all the children's centre bits as I have an interview on thurs.

So useful, this is a v supportive forum,

xxx :o

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