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How Do You Deal With Inappropriate Behaviour?


Guest terrydoo73
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Guest terrydoo73

Have been doing a lot of thinking about this and feel I am coming from it at the wrong angle. Here's a scenario or two and see what you think.

 

We have a farm set out - buildings, fields, loads of animals, tractors, people etc - obviously we would love to see the children line up the animals in groups or put them in fields or sheds etc. Then get the farmer into his tractor and load up some animals on the trailer or even put feeds to spread them out amongst the animals. With me so far? We have one little boy and whilst another child is engaged in this activity and talking away about what she is doing he comes up with the tractor and rams into all the animals or buildings she has set out making her angry and knocking the animals down in the process. His reaction on seeing her get angry is to continue to ram even though we ask him several times to stop as he is upsetting this child's play. He becomes increasingly excited by the fact that he is annoying the child and continues to do this action. Our response is to ask him to move away from this activity into another area which of course he refuses and there is a real tug of war on both parts to try and make him understand why we are moving him away and his continuation at wanting to play in this area.

 

We have a couple of children playing in the home corner, one making tea the other dressing a doll when a child comes up and snatches a cup or plate away and says they are the daddy now and they have to do what he wants. The one making the tea cowers into a corner and watches this child take their toys. We ask the child to stand up to the other one and say they are playing with it. The child eventually leaves the area as they are so scared of the other child.

 

3 children playing in the sand pit each happily doing their own thing. One child decides they would like the other child's toy as they seem to be having so much pleasure and then there is a pushing and pulling episode resulting in someone getting hurt.

 

Don't get me wrong - we are in these areas with the children helping and watching all that is going on. I just feel somehow that we need some way of telling children that their actions are inappropriate but is it because of their age that they don't just understand or are they getting such a thrill out of our reaction to it all that this behaviour continues??

 

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HI Terrydoo

Sorry to hear you are having difficulties with children's behaviour. Also sorry that I am probably not of much help. I didn't want to read and run though! The difficulty for me, in answering for example, the scenario of the farm is that I wouldn't necessarily deal with this is the same way for all children. Though you have given very specific details and I can clearly visualise it I don't know the children involved. However, in general terms I would not ask him 'several times' to stop what he was doing. He was clearly taking no notice and just carried on regardless. If the actions were as 'bad' as they sound and done deliberately I probably would not have asked him to move to another area. Perhaps intervention and if necessary taking the tractor away from him but certainly some sort of age appropriate discussion and possibly some 'thinking time' ( i dislike the term time-out) so that he realises his actions are unacceptable. I would keep explanations short and sweet, he can't play if he is going so spoil the other child's game/upset her etc etc. If he can play nicely with the tractor then maybe another chance - perhaps with support to guide his play? Maybe with support he could play with the other child and staff model co-operative play, could he drive the tractor carefully to take hay to the animals the other child set out?

 

As for the home corner again I don't know the children involved but i can't bear to think of a child cowering in the corner in fear of anyone! 'Standing up to others' is a big step. Again perhaps early intervention by staff would help rather than letting a situation escalate. Could you explain to the 'daddy' that they cannot just storm in and take away resources from another child, sharing, playing toghether is the way forward etc. I would probably have supported 'daddy' in giving the things back to the child and letting her continue the game.

 

Battle around the sandpit is often an issue. Sometimes we have loads of equipment in the sand but other time we ensure that we have enough items eg buckets, spades, mould, etc etc so every child can have something BUT we the resources supplied necessitate the children in sharing. There may be six children around the sand but only 1 bucket 2 spades 1 sieve and 2 moulds - it's about challenging the children to negotiate and share what is available. Of course it doesn't always work so we use different strategies, perhaps a sandtime (no pun intended!) and when time is up child A needs to give the bucket to child B, maybe when the big hand on the clock reaches number 3 it is time to swap things around - whatever works for the children involved.It doesn't happen over night but over time we have seen some delightful play where children really communicate, share resources and play together.

 

PLEASE don't take this the wrong way, but I have read many of your posts and I think you sound like a superb, caring practitioner wanting to do the very best for the children in your care but sometimes I wonder if you over-analyse things and try too hard. I am sorry I haven't offered any real help and I haven't got any cast iron soloutions it would be great if we had a magic wand wouldn't it!?

 

Good luck with it all and let us know how things go

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I would intervene and model more appropriate behaviour each time something like this happens. As Gezabel says each child needs a different approach so it's hard to say exactly what I would do but I'm sure it would involved being alert to possible conflicts and intervening quickly in as low-key a way as is appropriate every time.

 

The thing is, it is a bit like painting the Forth Bridge. Every time you think you have got one child sussed and addressed one behaviour something else rears its ugly head. You're never going to get them all behaving beautifully because that is the nature of a pre-school environment. What you can do is be consistent and positive in reinforcing the important messages and hopefully it will get through eventually even if for some that is when they are at school.

 

They need to have conflict in order to learn conflict resolution and they need to feel negative emotions in order to learn to manage them. You are working really hard to help them with these skills so maybe you should see it more as a learning process than a target you can't meet. Does that make sense? I hope so :huh:

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If these behaviours are being displayed continually by the same child then you need to be thinking of making a diary/log to help you understand if there any triggers and to enable you to get some more support for the child should the need arise.

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They need to have conflict in order to learn conflict resolution and they need to feel negative emotions in order to learn to manage them. You are working really hard to help them with these skills so maybe you should see it more as a learning process than a target you can't meet. Does that make sense? I hope so :huh:

The essence of using conflict resolution techniques with young children is to see children's 'misbehaviour' as 'social mistakes' and mistakes that you can help them learn from. The idea is to help children recognise and understand the effect their behaviour is having on others, and to help the children decide on appropriate ways to rectify the mistakes they have made and put things right so that play can continue, and fractured relationships can continue. There is no doubt that, especially in the early stages, this is a very labour intensive process: you need to be in the thick of things managing the process.

 

Upsy Daisy's Forth Bridge analogy is very apt here: you need to go round this circle several times before children begin to routinely use these techniques amongst themselves - they take an active role in problem solving, thinking as a team to resolve the conflict that has arisen.

 

I could go on for hours, but if you want to know more about the High/Scope conflict resolution approach to behaviour management, you can find an article on their website here:

 

http://www.highscope.org/file/NewsandInformation/HotTopics/Working%20With%20a%20Challenging%20Child2.pdf

 

Good luck!

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Good replies and advice, I'll certainly be checking out the High/scope techniques.

Referring mainly to the first scenario, I would like to add that perhaps a strategy in response to this child's action of 'knocking into buildings and animals' could possibly be to provide him with some buildings of his own to knock down, encouraging him to build them again in order to knock them down. His observed 'excitement' may be in response to the falling down of things and not necessarily to emotions of the the other child? Again, of course I do not know this child, but perhaps he is going through a particular schema ? As suggested, a range of observations regarding his interactions and interests might help to build a fuller picture of 'where he's coming from'.

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Have you read this new article that Helen posted a few days ago - Twenty top tips for helping to develop self-discipline for positive behaviour management in young children

With increasing numbers of children being diagnosed with special educational needs such as ADHD and autism, managing challenging behaviour in a positive way is a challenge most practitioners face in their settings on a daily basis. As practitioners we need to help children develop an awareness, knowledge and understanding of what is expected of them and how to behave acceptably and appropriately towards other people in a variety of situations. Martine Horvath has put together some top tips for you to support children in developing their own self-discipline and self regulating coping skills for life.

 

Some good tips that might help you.

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Guest terrydoo73

Thank you for your responses - that is an excellent article and I am going to try and sit down and digest its content thoroughly! I will also go and check out High Scope link too. I also think I might take some notes on what is triggering this behaviour and see if there is something I can work through with these "problems"!

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Hi Terry doo , one of my concerns is the child who barges in saying 'I'm the daddy and you will do what i want' , displaying behaviour of this kind could be a reflection of role model at home - his perception of the male role in the home ? maybe some work could be done here on equality or some understanding of the home environment.

 

We too have children who barge and spoil other childrens play but not always to be mean but to gain there attention or the fact they enjoy seeing things topple without realising that it is upsetting the child. When this happens we try to engage the said child in either another activity or something similar , I always give 2 warnings and explain why i would rather not see that behaviour , if they continue then they are asked tomove away until they have thought about their actions and then try and model appropriate behaviour ,

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Is it the same child or different children? I have had situations like this in the past and high/scopes conflict resolution helped immensely! All you need is consistency between staff and a little patience!

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