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Challenging Behaviour


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Hello all, I wondered if anyone can help please?

 

I have a child in my setting whose behaviour is quite challenging. He is bright, with extremely well developed communication skills. He is an only child and is 4. He has always been a little tricky to handle, arguing when asked to do or not to do something for example, but this appears to be escalating recently - we're struggling at pre-school and Mum is struggling at home. He seems to be constantly looking for a reaction from us, if he gets it he will repeat the behaviour, and if he doesn't the behaviour will escalate until we have to react. He seems to enjoy disrupting the play of other children, even when he is involved in that play, as if he just wants to 'spoil' it. I'm concerned about him as sometimes he just seems so angry, he will clench his fists and his face will be contorted as if he is going to scream, but he doesn't scream. He started hitting adults at pre-school last week. When I spoke to Mum it appears that he had done this at home and obviously got a reaction, so perhaps he thought he'd see what reaction he could get at pre-school. Mum is very calm with him, and uses the naughty step at home to manage his behaviour, although she says it isn't really working. I've told her I'm not a fan of this, and we will work together to find a strategy which can be used at home and at pre-school. She's very open to any help or advice I can give, but to be honest I'm struggling for ideas myself. When he hit out last week I moved him away from the play and he sat out while the children were doing something fun for a few minutes. He seemed fine about this, no reaction at all.

 

Is 'time-out' the right thing to do? I'm now questioning if it is any different really to the naughty step. I have read about using a set of cards with images on so the child can show an adult an image to explain how he fees before he acts on that feeling, but he is able to communicate well verbally so I'm not sure about the benefit of this. I feel I need to be a child psychologist in this job, but I'm failing this child because I don't understand him and I don't know how to help. Does anyone have any suggestions please?

 

Reading back it sounds like attention seeking behaviour, but I just feel there is more going on, perhaps I'm missing something.

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Hello there - quick one really as off to work in a bit - will think today as well.

 

To be fair, I think it's probably a stage - you know the 'testing boundaries' thing, as you say he is otherwise bright, articulate etc. You say he's doing it at home as well, which seems to me to back that up. I know that doesn't particularly help!! Personally I might go back to ignoring as far as possible, whilst keeping the other children out of trouble and praising their 'acceptable' behaviour,

 

Might he be getting a bit jaded with your setting? if he's bright he may need something a bit 'more' now - have a think with your colleagues...

 

Gotta run, but keep smiling

 

Sue :o

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Hi devondaisy firstly you are certainly not failing him as you have identified his needs and are looking for ways to support him. How often does the little boy attend your provision and does he go anywhere else, if he goes elsewhere it might be worth giving them a call to see how he is there to perhaps get a clearer picture.

You also state that he is bright with good communication skills, but how does he interact with others, and how are his personal and social skills developing.

It might be worth observing this over a period of time to see if he requires intervention or support with this.

As you say he is a bright child so extending his learning with activities that interest him may be the way forward.

Giving lots of praise for acceptable behaviour however small.

Have a good day. :o

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We had something similar to this a few years back. Our approach was to continue ignoring the negative behaviour but more importantly we tried to catch him being "good" before the negative behaviour started. It required quite intensive interaction from an adult playing very closely to him and basically keeping him on track by commentating on his play and really playing up the positives. If she moved away for a few minutes the behaviour would revert but over time this approach did help. It seemed as if the child was looking for attention and stimulation and we tried to just retrain him to show he would get this from more acceptable behaviour. It was a case of breaking the negative attention seeking behaviour cycle really.

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I think the key to this is that he is looking for a reaction. Like Holly I think you need to catch him doing something good.

 

It is hard work but if you pick up on every little incident of the behaviour you are looking for and praise it you will be giving him the attention he is craving without him having to misbehave to get it.

 

Identify every tiny little thing however tenuous that could be descried as good behaviour. Examples could be

 

Thank you for saying hello with such a lovely smile.

 

Thank you for hanging your coat up.

 

I like the way you washed your hands so well.

 

You did a good job on this painting.

 

Heap praise on him at every opportunity. Then when he does something unacceptable work hard to use distraction rather than punishment so that he doesn't receive any more attention for this behaviour than you can help.

 

It sometimes grates a bit to be heaping praise on a child for doing things you'd normally take for granted but it does often work very well.

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I am watching this with interest. Your child sounds a lot like one I have minded since he started nursery - four years now. Spent all this time ignoring his poor behaviour, mitigating danger and praising good behaviour. All seemed to wind him up even more. Three weeks ago, when he was having a full-on tantrum and calling me and us, 'horrid, horrid, horrid!, I took him aside and told him very firmly that I was NOT horrid, and that I was a very nice lady who looked after him very nicely and that I wanted an apology. Suddenly, the tantrum was over, he apologised and went off to play beautifully for the rest of the night. It seems he needs confrontation to settle himself - not what I want to do though.

 

Now, I suspect the child I have verges on the edge of asbergers syndrome but Mum doesn't want her child labelled so there's no chance of support from anywhere else so looking forward to seeing what others say in your case.

 

Honey

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Thanks for the replies.

 

I think inside there is a very sad little boy. He did open up to me once and said he was missing his friend who has just gone to reception class. I think perhaps he is struggling a bit to find 'replacement' friends at the moment, so is doing everything he can to get adult attention. When he is worked with one-to-one he is usually fine, but we really don't have the staff for this.

 

I have worked out a plan of how we will deal with his unwanted behaviour, taken from our behaviour management policy, which is as everyone here has suggested - ignoring the bad as much as possible, praising the good, and time out as a last resort - and have discussed this with all staff at our staff meeting last night. I will also spend some time observing his interractions with other children to see if I can get a clearer picture. Then I will put it all down on paper (would an IEP be the correct place?) and sit down with parents.

 

I'm feeling a lot more positive now, so thank you all for the advice. :o

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I've heard of a way that is different to ways in the past. One of our mum's is a parent support worker or something like that in a troubled school. She wants to use something that she has found out and for us to use it in the setting for her children. So it's consistant.

 

Basically it's a reward chart with a differance. You reward everybody's good behaviour. Encluding the adults. So it might be something say that the mum has read a story to her children so gets a sticker. The grandad might have made a cup of tea for everyone so gets a sticker. That sort of thing I think. She hasn't given us the info yet but it sounds like it's something that could work. The child that is using unwanted behaviour is seeing everyone else getting stickers and they aren't. Although the praise and stickers for the good things is good.

 

I think this could work cos the positive behaviour is getting a reward. The "prize" at the end of the week or month could be first turn in a game or choosing the book to read to everyone or something like that. I suppose if your building up resources like me then you could print out pictures of the things that you would like to get for the setting and the child/adult that "won" could pick one of the things on the list.

 

I suppose it is unlimited to the things you could provide for the "winner". Depends on who it is. Could even be choosing where you would like to go as a day out or something. Mostly something that the whole setting can use.

 

Whoops sorry I went on a bit here lol

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Thanks for the replies.

 

I think inside there is a very sad little boy. He did open up to me once and said he was missing his friend who has just gone to reception class. I think perhaps he is struggling a bit to find 'replacement' friends at the moment, so is doing everything he can to get adult attention. When he is worked with one-to-one he is usually fine, but we really don't have the staff for this.

 

I suspect this is the key.

 

Maybe some work on his friendship skills. And some reflection on preparing the children who are staying for the transition of their friends, as well as the children who are moving on.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We are experience a similar problem in out setting, and this information is very useful, and i like the idea by Mumo to have a rewards chart of some sorts, to congratulate for positive behaviour, and exclude for negative, but maybe this would be problematic also.. as it could cause further sadness when a sticker isn't won for a while, which could add to the negative behaviour.. if you get what i mean. But im sure it could work in some form...

 

Anyway nice thread, and im glad i read it, and i will try some of these techniques asap!!!

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