Social-Emotional, Mindfulness Strategies for Depressed Students

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

Moderate Depression with Mindfulness Methods
for K-12 Students

 
 

 

teacher professional development trainerThe holidays are happy times for many students, unhappy times for many others. That makes it a good time to load you up with brand new strategies for depression and sadness.

If you keep up with the latest in K-12 education, you know that social-emotional education and mindfulness instruction are really popular right now. I'm Ruth Herman Wells, Director of Youth Change Professional Development Workshops. We've been offering social and emotional strategies for more than two decades, and many of our approaches are very similar to the mindfulness methods you may have encountered.

Below you will find intervention strategies to help you manage student depression and sadness whether you are a teacher, counselor, foster parent, guidance counselor, therapist, MFT, social worker or school psychologist. While the very simple strategies included here can be useful to almost any student who struggles with their emotions, be sure that you carefully observe for safety issues and immediately consult with your supervisor if you find any. In addition, non mental health clinicians should always seek guidance from a mental health resource person when working with troubled students.

 

Mindful Methods to Mitigate Depression

in Adolescents and Children

 

You Are Not Your Brain

For many students, depression means trying to cope with swirling thoughts that are sad, fatalistic or worrying. Mindfulness methods emphasize teaching children and teens that they are "not their brain'" so that they recognize that they can control their thoughts and potentially feel less victimized and trapped by them. Building this separation between the student and the brain is a key element of Mindfulness.

Introducing the idea that students should not believe everything they think, can be a powerful tool assisting depressed, sad and anxious youngsters. Neurobiologists have noted that this strategy builds new brain pathways. They report that by limiting negative thoughts, the negative pathways can be reduced. They also note that by increasing positive or neutral thoughts, more positive pathways are built. They compare it to shrinking a freeway and building a new, more positive one. Use this image to demonstrate the concept more concretely to students.

 

Productive or Destructive

Another key concept from Mindfulness is to work to limit time devoted to thinking non-productive thoughts. Students may worry about tests or grades or Dad's drinking or Mom's hitting. In some youngsters,  these negative thoughts can trigger depression– especially if the student has profoundly upsetting or persistent thoughts. Many Mindfulness methods offer potential relief.

A simple technique to use is to ask the student to consider if the upsetting thoughts are productive or destructive. They can be asked to specifically identify the benefits and consequences of persistent negative thoughts. Most students can be assisted to realize that they are experiencing significant consequences from frequent negative thoughts while few positive benefits are found. To make this strategy work with younger students and others, have them make a list. Have them start by writing down a frequent negative thought then sorting the Benefits and Consequences in columns.

 

Accepting the Hand You're Dealt

mindfulness posterSome students have trouble accepting the ups and downs of life and become depressed when life isn't what they imagined. You can use card games to teach them to accept the hand they are dealt. Also use card games to explore if becoming sad or depressed fixes or improves anything. To help cement in the message of acceptance, offer and discuss the meaning of the words shown on our Poster #334: If the leaves didn't fall, there would be no spring.

 

Thoughts Are Just Visitors to the House

Mindfulness expert Jack Kornfield has shared a very sweet but effective strategy that stems from Buddhist practice. To implement this simple intervention, simply tell students that they can imagine that upsetting thoughts are like visitors to their home. Next, ask your youngsters to imagine that the visiting thoughts are coming in through the front door of the house. Suggest that instead of screaming at this visitor, cooking for that visitor, or hiding from this other visitor, that students simply watch the visitors and what they do. This wonderful emotion management technique helps students become more detached and distanced from the negative thoughts that have been upsetting them.

 

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Turn Down the Voices Inside My Head

"Turn Down the Voices Inside My Head" isn't just a line from a popular Bonnie Raitt song, it's a very quick and effective technique to help students manage troubling emotions like depression. Ask the student to imagine that there is a volume control and that they can turn down the volume on upsetting thoughts, or even mute them. For younger students, help the child create a drawing of the volume control knob working to help them better manage their upsetting emotions.

 

Fight-Flight-Freeze or Flow

Many Mindfulness practitioners and other mental health clinicians believe that humans have four basic states: Fight, Flight, Freeze or Flow. Mindfulness is an emerging counseling style with distinct Buddhist roots and current neurobiology as its base. Distilled down, it means paying attention to the present while observing thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental manner. It has been clinically demonstrated by neurobiologists to help improve depression and other problematic emotions so you can rest assured the kind of techniques suggested here have wide acceptance and a strong research foundation.

To help students who are depressed or facing similar negative emotions, teach them about the four states and encourage them to move towards Flow. The more students can identify their current state, the better the chance that they can manage that state rather than be swept along by out-of-control feelings. This is part of what is meant by "Name it to tame it." Emotions have less power on people when the emotion has been identified. Conversely, students can feel "freaked out," "crazy" or like they are spiraling down when the emotions seem to be this powerful, frightening unnamed thing that's in charge.

Help students become familiar with each of the four terms by soliciting examples of each. An example of Fight: Verbally sparring with your mom. An example of Flight: Running out of the room when bullied. An example of Freeze: Seizing up and not being able to talk after a car accident. An example of Flow: Pure happiness and joy when swimming.

 

Distraction is Subtraction

Distraction is a fantastic initial strategy to help children and teens manage problem emotions. You can teach them that "Distraction is Subtraction," meaning that by re-focusing, the student can sometimes subtract or reduce the problem emotion. Suggest that students find three things they see in the present and then find three things they like about each. Not only does this simple strategy interrupt what may have been on-going negative thoughts, it also re-orients the student to the present. Being oriented to the present moment is a key principle of Mindfulness, and has the benefit of being a perfect antidote for depression, sadness, anxiety and other troubling emotions that may be impairing students' functioning.

 

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    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


How to Help Children and Teens Cope with the Violence and Tragedy of the CT Massacre

 

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SPECIAL ISSUE:

How to Help Children and Teens
Cope with the Violence and Tragedy
of the CT Massacre

 

rwteach2

Youth Change Workshops is based outside Portland, Oregon, 30 miles from the Tuesday, December 11 mall shooting. I am Ruth Herman Wells, Director of Youth Change. I grew up just 75 minutes away from Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. Even though I have devoted my life to helping schools and teachers work with students who struggle with problems like coping with trauma and tragedy, like you, I was knocked to the ground by the two horrific shooting massacres. Because I had ties to both shooting sites, the horror seemed very personal and close to home. Many of you may have had a similar reaction.

After 911 and Katrina, I was asked to help many schools and teaching staffs to learn how to best recover from the traumatic events in those regions. Since that time, research into the brain has really advanced, and mental health counselors now have a bit better understanding of what to do– and not do– to help children cope with and rebound from extreme tragedy like last week's deadly violence. Those new insights are incorporated into the guide below.

The guide is intended for use by teachers, counselors, and other adults who may be struggling to understand what to do in the aftermath of the horror at Sandy Hook. This guide covers K-12 students, and both students with pre-existing challenges, and those without. The guide is intended for use with students who were in proximity to the tragedies, as well as those who were not in proximity, but still deeply affected.

Youth Change Workshops exists for one purpose: To help educators, mental health professionals, and other youth professionals to help troubled youth. In addition to the help offered in this how-to guide, Youth Change is available to assist you further (without charge). You can reply to this email, call us at 503.982.4220, reach us via our Contact page, or click on the Live Expert Help icon that is at the bottom right corner of every page on our website, http://www.youthchg.com. This guide is no substitute for consulting a local mental health professional, which you are legally bound to do if you suspect a child may be at risk of serious harm or self-harm.

 

A Dozen New Guidelines:

How to Help Children and Teens
Cope with Extreme Violence and Tragedy

1. Don't Board the Upsetting Thought Train

For children who are having trouble managing their thoughts following the week of violence: Have the child look at the upsetting thought and figure out "if that thought was a train, where would it take me?" If the answer is that the child would end up upset, suggest the child not board that train. Teach children they are not their thoughts; they have the power to control what they are thinking. Recent research by psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Siegel and others suggests we have more ability to manage our upsetting thoughts than previously believed.

2. Who is in Charge of the Thought Train?

Children tend to say "I had this upsetting thought…" New research by Dr. Siegel indicates that it is critical to teach children that they aren't their thoughts, that they have a choice about whether to pursue thoughts that upset them. So, teach children and teens to say instead: "My mind offered me this thought…" That distinction reinforces the idea to students that they are not their thoughts. That distinction also helps them remember that they can be the boss/engineer of their "thought train," not a helpless victim of it. Since the hallmark of depression is powerlessness, this strategy is fantastic for use with depressed students.

3. There is No "Right Way" to React to a Horrible Wrong

A Holocaust survivor wrote that "an abnormal reaction to abnormal circumstances is normal." That means there is no "right way" for children and teens to endure. Watch instead for the severity of the reaction, the denial or avoidance. A "different" reaction doesn't necessarily equate with worse, but if the response appears to be extremely problematic– immediately or long term– that's the signal to become concerned.

4. New Research Changes the Old "Talk About It" Guideline

Mental health experts have always believed that children and teens need to have the chance to "talk out" traumatic events. Counselors call this "processing" the event. We used to think that having youngsters talk about– or draw about, write about, or otherwise process the trauma– was extremely important. New brain research puts a new spin on this long-hold truth.

Studies are showing that while venting or expressing about upsetting events is still important, there comes a point when the processing can become ruminating. The key point here is that processing is supposed to help children feel better, but ruminating can really increase depression and sadness.

When does processing become ruminating? That's tough to pinpoint. Perhaps the best indicator is to watch the impact on the child's body and emotions/demeanor. If the youngster is becoming more agitated, anxious, upset, sad, or depressed, that's not good. If the youngster's body is showing increasing or beginning distress, that's also not good. If you want to help your students process the tragedy without causing harm, stick with brief headlines vs prolonged discussions, and permit no graphic comments within groups. Work individually with students who persist in making graphic depictions to avoid upsetting other youngsters.

5. Watch for Fight, Flight and Freeze Reactions

During extremely traumatic times, children tend to either engage in fight, flight or freeze behavior. These behaviors are built-in survival mechanisms common to many species. If you spot these reactions in your students who are struggling, you can educate students about how our bodies can help us during extremely difficult times by using the fight, flight or freeze reaction. Next, you can talk about how bodies also know how to recover. Discuss with students what rebounding might look like for each of them. Alternatively, have students create art, writing or digital projects portraying how they will look when they have rebounded. Having students portray this outcome can help create the outcome.

6. Radically Revised Rules for Trauma Recovery

Historically, for counselors and other mental health providers, the goal after a traumatic incident was typically to help children and teens process the tragedy. New work by Peter Levine and others, suggests that is not the correct goal, and, even worse, can result in re-traumatizing youngsters.

Dr. Levine believes that by focusing on and re-examining what happened, people re-live the scary events. Levine has studied how animals respond to trauma. After a terrifying event, animals "re-set" their nervous system and return to a focus on the present. Based on his research, he recommends that you and your children do not have a prolonged focus on the traumatic incident, i.e. don't extensively process content. Levine believes that counselors and others should focus instead on helping the ramped-up sympathetic nervous system calm.

Not sure he's right? Watch what happens to the bodies of children who are re-telling the traumatic event and/or recapping their reaction to the incident. You may notice that these students get more agitated and more upset. Now, help the child focus on the present, even perhaps momentarily forgetting the event. You can see the body relax. That's why calming the out-of-control sympathetic nervous system should be your goal instead of processing the event.

7. Cancel the Past, Replace it With the Safe Present

So, in an update to accepted practice, it appears that calming the nervous system is becoming the best goal to have when striving to help traumatized children. One of the best tools to calm the agitated nervous system is to have children focus on the present. A quick way to do that: Ask your youngsters to find 3 things that they see and like, and to tell you what they like about each thing. That stops the focus on the scary or the sad, and can help shift each child to the safety of the present. You can teach children to do that procedure on their own: To "cancel" the upsetting past, and to "replace it" with the "safe present."

8. Switch to the New Trail with Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

In the past decade or so, we've come to understand that the brain works a bit like a trail through the forest– the more you walk the trail, the more defined that trail becomes. If you switch to a new trail, that old unused trail can eventually fade out a lot or a little. Even though I am stating the research in very simple ways, that doesn't denigrate the importance of it. This new insight means that researchers know now that people can literally re-wire their brains. Brain researches often quip: Neurons that fire together, wire together. Teach students to switch trails, to leave the painful path behind.

9. When Students Say They Can't Think, Can't Learn

You may already be hearing students say they can't concentrate, they can't think, and they can't learn. There is a lot of truth to those claims. Brain researchers believe that when the sympathetic nervous system is activated, the brain goes into a laser-focus mode. In nature, this single focus helped animals stay safe, but in humans this survival mechanism can persist long after it is needed for physical survival. When the sympathetic nervous system calms, your students' ability to focus, concentrate and learn should return. You can't demand students just get those lost abilities back on command. If you want to try to encourage this process, engage your students in activities that will help soothe and calm the nervous system. Even simple activities like having students talk about happy experiences or events can help.

10. Stop Thinking and Start Acting

For students who seem to really perseverate on the traumatic incidents, help them stop thinking and start taking useful actions. Actions can be anything positive, from starting a collection for the Sandy Hook students to going for a walk instead of sitting and recapitulating the upset. For students who seem to want to "rummage through the trash," teach them to "dump the trash" then take a "clean-up" action.

11. Watch Out for the Con Man

When you teach students to terminate upsetting thoughts or memories, they may tell you they feel insensitive, or callous, or selfish, or petty for not continuing to suffer. Teach students about the "con man" who will trick them into believing that the "Path of Pain" is the only path to be on. Teach students that children should never have to suffer, and any thought that suggests otherwise is just a sneaky Con Man.

12. Finding the Beauty That Still Remains

Understandably, children and adolescents may believe that there is no road back to happiness. After there is some distance in time from the precipitating event, teach students that throughout history, children and teens have triumphed overly seemingly overwhelming adversity, and that their own minds and bodies are equipped to ultimately rebound too. You want to inspire, and offer hope, but without adding any pressure, time frames, or the expectation of universal conformity. Offer students examples of children and teens who have overcome obstacles. Consider using excerpts from Anne Frank's diary to inspire older students to discover in Anne's words, "the beauty still left around you."

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    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


The Best Apathy-Busters: Turnaround Bad Attitudes With These Innovative Interventions

 

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The Best
Apathy-Busters:


Turnaround Bad Attitudes
With These Innovative Interventions

 

 

If you are seeing more and more apathetic and negative students, you will love the use-now strategies included in this issue. These innovative, attention-grabbing methods are especially designed to work when conventional approaches fail, and were developed to turnaround even the most negative, entrenched child or teen. I'm Ruth Herman Wells, M.S., the Director and Trainer for Youth Change Workshops, and these dynamic strategies are taken from my live, online, and on-site training workshops, as well as from my Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth books and posters.
 

Student Apathy Strategies


Strategy #1

 

School Pays Off

Student apathy posterApathetic students might see more value to school if they knew the pay-off for education. You can use this method verbally, as a poster, as a discussion starter, or as an activity. At left, you can see the intervention. It's our Poster #45. You can view additional, similar posters here.
The poster says: Graduates accept free education and a free diploma so they earn $329,000 more than everybody else. Each diploma doubles the dollars."

 

Strategy #2

 

Reach Beyond the Bluster

For kids who are "wrapped in barbed wire," their apathy and harshness hiding a very gentle and vulnerable child, ask them to decide which they would rather have: "a bruised heart or a boxed heart?" This can be a very effective intervention strategy with students who are guarded and prickly due to negative experiences with adults who are supposed to be consistent, caring role models. A follow-up activity: have the student create art or poetry illustrating some of the phrases shown in quotes above. This activity is best done one-to-one, in small groups, or used by counselors and mental health professionals.


Strategy #3

 

Reality Wins All Arguments

While lots of youngsters complain about their circumstances, some kids complain a lot and often about where they ended up. Some of these youngsters have plenty of legitimate reasons to complain, and some of
them don't. Either way, you can encourage your discouraged complainers to "bloom where they're planted." This is a wonderful intervention for several populations. For example, this approach has worked well with foster kids who are not happy to be moving a new foster care placement. The lyrical phrases shown above work really well as the basis for illustrations by students. Poetry, essays, collages, and other creative activities can also produce some very inspiring, memorable results, and initiate the change you want to engender.

 

Strategy #4

 

Hey, It's Me Plus 25

If you work with youngsters so apathetic or discouraged that they can't really imagine ever having a positive future, or any future at all, ask them to write an email or letter to you as though 25 years have elapsed. In the letter, students can describe what happened to them since they last saw you. For non-writers, they can draw or make a video or audio recording instead of writing, or, you can write for them. Students can make blog entries if they prefer that to a simple letter or email. Here's a variation for students who really resist this strategy: Have them make the letter be about someone else, perhaps a friend or someone they admire or feel neutral about. Once the letter is complete, you will have indirectly learned a lot about the letter's creator, even though the document is ostensibly about a third party. For students, who say "they don't care," ask them to complete the task as if they did care (even though they say they don't care).

 

Strategy #5

 

You Choose

Put the following phrase on the board and ask students to discuss: "This strategy is especially useful for children and youth who hurt themselves, abuse substances, are in gangs, or self-endanger. For younger students and for some other youngsters, you may wish to change the phrase to be a bit gentler. You can use this phrasing instead: "The same power you have to hurt yourself, you have to help yourself." Emotions fuel behaviors. The more you can help students manage their emotions, the less those emotions will interfere with school and education.


Strategy #6

 

When Crime Doesn't Pay

For kids who plan to use illegal activities as their source of future income, you can have a lot of impact by pointing out some surprising realities of your local, state and federal laws. For example, depending on which laws they break, offenders can lose not only the money gained by illegal actions, but also their home, possessions, and vehicles. Under some federal laws, the homes and possessions of relatives and friends may be seized even if these items weren't directly involved in the commission of the crime. It's important to stay aware that illegal activities are not near as lucrative as your kids tell you. Auto theft generates about $18,000 per year, for example, less than what a typical high school grad earns. Even worse, the authorities can take anything related to the auto theft while no one can just take away the graduate's money.
 

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    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


    Behavior & Classroom Management Problem-Solver Blog Articles

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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


The Very Best Interventions for the Very Worst Behavior Problems

 

classroom management blog


The Very Best Interventions for the
Very Worst Behavior Problems

 


educational speakerEveryone at Youth Change Workshops is so excited that in January,  2011, our Director, Ruth Herman Wells was rated by SpeakerWiki as the #3 Elementary Education Speaker and #7 High School Ed Speaker in the U.S. She was also rated #8 of all Education Administrator Speakers. Ruth is known not just for her emotional, captivating speaking, but for her one-of-a-kind, unexpected behavior management interventions to turnaround the behavior problems presented by troubled youth and children. Here are some of Ruth's most popular, enduring, and effective classroom management interventions for students' bad behavior and attitude in school. Want more awesome behavior management solutions? Keep reading.

 

Me? Flunk English? That's Unpossible!

Just write this sentence on the board, then let the students discuss it:
"WiLl YOu RealY NevER ned a diPlOmA?" You may also repeat this exercise with this sentence: "Me? Flunk English? That's unpossible!" (The second sentence is from the cartoon show, "The Simpsons".) Ask your students to create other sentences like the two shown above. Also, you can ask your students to imagine how signs might be read by someone who hasn't learned to read very well. For example, ask them to imagine signs at the airport you better be able to read. They will devise many funny but provocative scenarios. Now that students see more value in reading and school, discuss with them how serious misbehavior at school keeps them from learning the information that they now acknowledge they need.
 

The Old Switcheroo Works Every Time

This is a very cagey intervention that reveals exactly who is the real problem. Make a list of problems that adults can have at work and in the community, such as "Mr. Frank is frequently late to work. Mr. Frank is angry at the boss for docking him pay for the time he's late, saying it is the boss's fault he loses money." Ask your students to determine who is accountable for the problem. Students will indicate that Mr. Frank is accountable. After the students determine adults are accountable in each scenario, present them with a second list of scenarios. This list should be exactly the same as the first list, but substitute youngsters for adults in each situation. Next, ask your group members to determine accountability. It may make for an interesting discussion, and provoke some new thinking. Few students will anticipate the old switcheroo. That's what gives this intervention so much power and impact. That's what makes this intervention work when more conventional strategies fail.

 

Live Through This– If You Can

Some students are very negative about school because they consider it to be a waste. Here is a fun intervention to show students that education may be essential. Have students write down the types of problems that an adult might have to deal with during one really bad day, then have them determine how many of these activities use skills learned in school. Your group will notice that education is needed to solve or manage all or most of the problems that happen to adults on really bad days. Include problems like the refrigerator is a bit warm, the car seems to slide for some reason on the wet road, and the bank says that your checking account is overdrawn.

 

The Texting Surgeon and the Distractible Pilot

Ask students to list their "dream jobs". Write the responses in a column on the board. Make a second column and ask the students to list problem behaviors that young people sometimes do. Include answers like swear, become distracted, and not follow directions. Next, draw a line from a dream job to a problem behavior. Ask the students to discern what could happen if the worker used the problem behavior. So, for example, what could happen if an airplane pilot didn't follow the air traffic controller's instructions? Another example: What could happen if a surgeon became distracted? Assist students to realize that problem behaviors can cause significant, even deadly consequences in many jobs, especially many of the jobs they describe as desirable. Ask the group to discuss how behavior problems at school will become behavior problems at work unless students decide to improve their conduct now. For students who say "I will just behave better on the job," challenge them to demonstrate those skills now by using only acceptable behavior for the next three months.

 

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    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


    Behavior & Classroom Management Problem-Solver Blog Articles

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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


Gender-Proficient Strategies for Troubled Girls

 

classroom management blog


Gender-Proficient Strategies
for Troubled Girls

 


workshop trainer Ruth Herman Wells"I just finished counseling a student for 45 minutes. It's amazing how
rough life is on kids, and it seems to especially be girls. She's been to
20 plus schools, hasn't lived with her parents since she was 6, has been
living with first one sister then another. Her parents are into drugs, in
and out of prison. She couch hops through friends' houses so she can
play sports because the last bus out of town is at 7. Now her sister
wants her to change to a new high school, where she doesn't know
anyone. It's hard to see kids under so much stress. Sadly, this is an
epidemic. I'm not sure if girls are just more vocal about what's wrong
in their life or if affects them more, but this is the fifth or sixth girl I've
taught that has had just a dismal life, and has a hard time dealing with
just the daily stresses of what school and friends bring. Of those 5 or 6
girls, I can only think of one or two that have escaped the calamity of
their surrounding to do something. I hope this new girl ends up making
it. I'll do my best to see services start coming her way, but the cycle of
discover, help, and fail is hard to take."

Many of you can relate to the comments above, sent by a high school special ed teacher. His comments are especially true right now. When government faces hard economic times, service cuts are inevitable. Often, cuts to services disproportionately affect girls versus boys. When boys are troubled, they often act out in ways that affect the community. When girls are troubled, they often act out in ways that the community may not even notice. Troubled boys may slash tires, troubled girls may slash their wrists. The boy will leave behind angry victims demanding the child's behavior be addressed and controlled. The troubled girl will have no one demanding anything on her behalf.

When budget cuts come, they are not dispersed across the continuum of children's services. In tough economic times, girls tend to take the brunt of service reductions. In all classes of services, troubled girls receive fewer services, less intense services, for less time, and they're served later in life than their male counterparts. There is no indication that troubled girls have fewer problems than boys; all indicators suggest they may have more. So, in today's difficult economic times, where services for young females are very limited, it is imperative that everyone who works with youth, have gender-proficient strategies for girls. One-gender-fits-all strategies fit no one, so here are some gender-proficient strategies crafted especially for troubled girls.


Gender-Proficient Solutions for Troubled Girls


TEACH GIRLS TO
THRIVE DESPITE ROUGH LIVES

Finding help for troubled girls in these difficult economic times is
tougher than ever. If you're not a trained mental health professional,
it's never wise to attempt to provide therapy when you can't find
qualified help for a girl who is struggling. Instead of offering therapy
without having the necessary training, attempt instead to be a bridge
for the girl until help can be found.

Here is a strategy that may help without becoming as personal and intimate as a therapy techniques. When a girl is struggling to find her way, and feels lost and uncertain, offer her this guideline: Find a course of action that is good for the girl and good for others. This mantra helps train the girl to habitually choose actions that avoid self-harm.

You can vary this strategy by having the girl identify someone she admires, and imagine What Would X Do?, and emulate that.

Another variation on the first strategy: Say "no" to bad thoughts. The girl can imagine erasing or canceling upsetting thoughts so she can concentrate on school and other critical activities. All these strategies are just stopgap measures until qualified help can be found; ultimately severe problems will necessitate professional intervention if the girl is to avoid lasting consequences.

 

TEACH GIRLS TO
BETTER MANAGE DEPRESSION

Studies suggest that depression may affect girls at a higher rate than
boys. While skilled help would be optimal, you can offer some interim
assistance so that your girls can improve their skills coping with
adversity without being overwhelmed by depression. Here are a few
interventions that both mental health workers and others can use. Be
sure to follow your site's rules about reporting safety issues if you have
any concerns that a girl may be at risk of harm.

For girls who are sad about their difficult circumstances, teach them to
"bloom where they're planted," and discuss how to do that. For girls
who devote a lot of time to ruminating about their problems, refocus
them to the present, and help them turn their thoughts to "now"
instead of yesterday or tomorrow, which they can't influence anyway.
To further re-orient girls to focus on now rather than past or future
problems, suggest that every time they catch themselves mulling the
past or future, they stop and find three positive things about the
present. That disrupts the on-going ruminating.

Finally, for girls who report upsetting thoughts like mulling over events
from the past, offer interventions that teach the brain some new,
healthier habits. For example, when a girl is upset by thoughts like "I'm
always going to be upset," teach her to be the boss of her brain and to
reject her "bully brain" hassling her. It's a way of making the invisible
cognitive process more concrete and understandable so the girl can
visualize how her thoughts deepen her upset. Once she realizes that she
doesn't have to submit to the upsetting thoughts, she has a much
better chance of taking control of them, making her less vulnerable to
persistent, deep upset.

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    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

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Stop Power Struggles Now: Fix the Nix-Master to Say “Yes” Faster

 

classroom management blog


Stop Power Struggles Now:
Fix the Nix-Master to Say "Yes" Faster

 


student who says noDo you know a Nix-Master?

Sure you do. It's the child who says "no"
to nearly anything.

Some of these children who engage in power struggles, are loud and defiant. Others are quietly and politely non-compliant.

Whether they're loud or quiet, they're not doing what they're asked to do.

No adult ever won a power struggle with a child, and no adult ever will.
The minute you get into a power struggle with a child, you've already lost.

Instead, choose interventions that work around the resistance. Nearly nonstop nay-saying is a normal part of development that prepares teens to become independent. Here are techniques to use with youth or children who evidence normal non-compliance, and those who use behaviors that go well beyond "typical" into seriously defiant:
 

Solutions for Defiance & Power Struggles
DISRUPT STUDENTS' BELIEFS ABOUT
DEFIANCE & POWER STRUGGLES

Defying authority can become the top issue above all else.

Strategies: Ask students to list the most important things they want in
life. Defying authority will not be listed. Identify to defiant students that
they devote much time and energy to low/no priority issues while
jeopardizing their top goals. Have students cross out goals that defiance
could ruin. This intervention is especially good with children who have
conduct disorder, and only care about what they get for me-me-me.


Solutions for Defiance & Power Struggles
CONVINCE STUDENTS THAT DEFIANCE
& POWER STRUGGLES HARM THEM

Help students realize that compliance is not arbitrary but essential.

Strategies: Ask the students to determine the consequences if
everyone was non-compliant whenever they wished. Ask what would
happen if everybody ignored stop signs, took every item they wanted,
blocked traffic, refused to pay taxes, or could enter your house without
your okay, or simply walk away with your cell phone or backpack.

 

Solutions for Defiance & Power Struggles
DISRUPT STUDENTS' BELIEFS ABOUT
DEFIANCE & POWER STRUGGLES

Defying authority can become the top issue above all else.

Strategies: Ask students to list the most important things they want in
life. Defying authority will not be listed. Identify to defiant students that
they devote much time and energy to low/no priority issues while
jeopardizing their top goals. Have students cross out goals that defiance
could ruin. This intervention is especially good with children who have
conduct disorder, and only care about what they get for me-me-me.


Solutions for Defiance & Power Struggles
CONVINCE STUDENTS THAT DEFIANCE
& POWER STRUGGLES HARM THEM

Help students realize that compliance is not arbitrary but essential.

Strategies: Ask the students to determine the consequences if
everyone was non-compliant whenever they wished. Ask what would
happen if everybody ignored stop signs, took every item they wanted,
blocked traffic, refused to pay taxes, or could enter your house without
your okay, or simply walk away with your cell phone or backpack.


Solutions for Defiance & Power Struggles
CONVINCE STUDENTS THAT DEFIANCE
& POWER STRUGGLES HARM THEM

Who would you work harder for– the boss who is a dictator or the boss
who is a participatory manager? Most of us, whether adults or kids,
want to have a say at work or school. Allowing youth input prepares
them for the self-management they must do throughout life when
supervising adults aren't present to provide guidance.

Strategies: To win a great prize, have students play Tic Tac Toe
without rules. They will discover that games won't work without rules.
Now, have a classroom without rules and a defiant youth as teacher.
Role reversals offer lightening fast ways for defiant youth to get a
jolting look at their own problem behavior. You're going to love the
results these intervention strategies deliver.


Solutions for Defiance & Power Struggles
IT DEPENDS ON YOU

Here's a fast device that will never let you down.

Strategies: When a student starts to power struggle, think to
youself:"Take my sails out of their wind," then act accordingly.
It takes two to power struggle. You can control one of the two.

 

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    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

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    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


Extra-Strength Attitude-Adjusters That Inspire and Transform Student Attitudes

 

classroom management blog

 

Extra-Strength
Attitude-Adjusters
That Inspire and Transform Student Attitudes

 

 

Check out these awesome devices to improve even the most negative student's attitude. You don't have to put up with bad student attitudes anymore because we have awesome classroom management devices that will help.
 

STUDENT ATTITUDE ADJUSTER

attitude poster 226"I'd Rather Be in the Bathroom"
 

Doesn't it frustrate you when students spend class time in the
bathroom?

Here is an unexpected way to improve that reality. This technique is so unusual, it may catch students off-balance, and accomplish more than conventional
approaches ever could.

Post this device on the wall, or make your own. It looks a bit
like a sign showing where the bathroom is. Students will be laughing when they read it. While they're laughing, they can't be oppositional so the message on the poster may have impact.

Order Poster #226 here if you'd rather buy it than make your own version of it.

 

STUDENT ATTITUDE ADJUSTER


"I Don't Care About Anything"
 

school poster 237It's so hard to inspire discouraged
students, but what if "The Universe" reached out directly to
turnaround these youngsters? This attention-grabbing intervention can be implemented in many ways, but perhaps the most effective way is to make a card or note that resembles Poster #237, shown at
right, and give it to your discouraged students. You can add personalized text if you wish.

This intervention can also be done verbally, or you could record the message. If you do use a recording, you can add sci-fi sound effects to make this strategy even more humorous and light.

Be sure to keep this activity light and don't let it get upsetting. Check with a mental health counselor for guidance if you aren't sure you can keep it fun, and take no risks using this device with vulnerable, upset, troubled or younger  students.

A good follow-up activity is to ask the student to make a list of all the good things "The Universe" might have in store for them if they were open to the possibilities. To order Poster #237, click here.

 

ATTITUDE ADJUSTER for ADULTS


"This is a Rough Time to Be a Teacher or
Counselor"
 

There is a tiny, little-known winery hidden on the Oregon coast. Inside, there are all the usual amenities one might expect to find in a winery, but instead of attempting to get you to open your wallet to buy wine, the owner attempts to get you to open your wallet to donate to orphaned children in Calcutta.

Where you might expect to see wine lists, you find  inspiration. In today's rough economy, it's understandable
that educators and counselors struggle to stay positive. You will be more effective evoking positive attitudes from your students if you are able to stay positive yourself.

All around the winery, there are pretty paper cards that should advertise the vineyard's newest bottles. Instead the cards feature a poem that the winery owner found on the wall of Mother Theresa's children's home in Calucutta. These inspirational words probably weren't written with teachers and youth workers in mind, but they could have been. An edited excerpt from the poem "Anyway" is below.

ANYWAY

People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered
LOVE THEM ANYWAY

If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives
DO GOOD ANYWAY

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies
SUCCEED ANYWAY

The good you do may be forgotten tomorrow
DO GOOD ANYWAY

People really need help but may attack you if you help them
HELP PEOPLE ANYWAY

Give the world the best you have and you may get kicked in the teeth
GIVE THE BEST YOU'VE GOT ANYWAY

Adapted from a card published by the Anyway Foundation.

Please consider visiting their site or donating.

 

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    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


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    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


Cyberbullying & Online Student Safety: Giga-Smart in a Wired World

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

Cyberbullying & Online Student Safety:

 

Giga-Smart in a Wired World

 
 

 

K-12 Keynote Speaker Ruth Herman Wells

As our world goes more and more high tech, your students need to be ready. This blog issue has a lot of fantastic strategies to prevent cyberbullying  and promote students' online safety. Hopefully, using these strategies will help prepare your students to live in a wired, wired world.

 

 

Strategies to Prevent Cyberbullying

and Promote Student Safety Online


don't text and drive poster 165Teach Students: Don't Text and Drive

The key line, shown in Poster #165 at left is: "Your phone called. It said 'Hang up and drive."

You can have your students make a poster using this line, or you can just use this device verbally. Hopefully, this catchy line will impact your young drivers.

 

 

Grades by Facebook

This intervention helps students realize that problematic postings can come back to haunt them forever.

Begin by asking students what kind of content is posted on Facebook and other social networking sites. Allow them to note that students sometimes post about partying, substance abuse, personal problems, and so on.

Next, ask the group who views the content. Assist students to realize that content may be viewed by colleges and universities, and that some colleges, universities– and even employers– are requiring candidates to give them access to all their social networking pages prior to being accepted or hired.

Help students to realize that problematic posts can negate the value of good grades when it comes time to be accepted at college, or hired for a job.

 

Prevent Cyberbullying: Your Anti-Social Network

Write the words "cyberbullying" on the board, and ask students to discuss what the term means. Assist students to identify strategies to cope with, reduce, or eliminate the cyberbullying they may experience. For example, students can block bullying "friends" on Facebook.

Give this guideline to help students recognize cyberbullying: "When it's no longer social networking but has become anti-social networking, that's cyberbullying, and means it's time to find a new network."

 

We All Work in a Wired, Wired World

Inform students that nearly all jobs have a high tech component, from clocking in on an electronic time card system, to operating a PDA, to using a barcode scanner, more and more work increasingly includes technology.

Put two columns on the board, then ask students to list jobs not normally associated with high tech. Put their responses in the first column. Next, ask students to name how each low tech job might still require high tech skills. Put their answers in the second column.

For example, waitresses may need to use computers and PDAs to key in orders, scan credit cards, and tabulate bills. Assist the class to realize that almost all jobs require tech skills because we are increasingly living in a high tech world.


Dude, What's Your Cyber Q?

Test students' Cyber Q– "Q" is a shortened version of "IQ"– by asking them to define high tech terms like these: PDA, Phishing, ISM, MB, pixel, SSL. They will need to know these terms to survive on our high tech planet.

(Answers: PDA is Personal Digital Assistant like a Blackberry; Phishing means a scammer is "fishing" for your passwords and confidential information; ISM is a high paying job of Information Systems Manager, and he or she oversees computer networks; MB is a unit of measurement that describes the size of a file or data; pixel refers to the composition of things like a photograph or monitor; SSL is short for Secure Socket Layer, and indicates whether a web page has been made secure for credit card transactions and other private activity.)

 

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    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


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    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


Public Displays of Affection: How to Escape the Hormone Zone

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

Public Displays of Affection:

How to Escape the Hormone Zone

 
 

It's Spring. So, you're probably seeing way too many public displays of affection in your school. You may feel like you work in The Hormone Zone. Let us help you find a way out. If it is challenging trying to teach and counsel "hormone-poisoned" youth, here are some absolutely terrific interventions to help your teens use their heads instead of their hormones.

 

Methods to Manage

Teens' Public Displays of Affection

On-the-Job Kissy-Face and Coffee Breaks
When kids debate your site's standards regulating romantic contact, inform them that the standards derive from the work world, not your personal preferences. Advise your youngsters that as soon as business work places commonly permit hugging, kissing, etc., you will too. So, in our part of the world, we tell kids that the very instant that our large employers like Nike and Intel, start offering Coffee and Kiss breaks, we'll do it too. That should cut down a bit on the amount of public displays of affection in your classroom.

Work a Little, Kiss a Little
Ask students to name all the jobs they can successfully do and gaze longingly into someone's eyes while working; there may be none. Ask your youngsters to guess what happens– especially in a bad economy– to people who work a little, kiss a little. Also, ask them to observe for employees involved in public displays of affection in work places, like at a grocery store or restaurant, for example. Again, they will see few or none.

That Other Fire Will Have to Wait
Have your students name the jobs or businesses they may one day wish to do. Ask them to identify the results of kissing, hugging, etc. while working these jobs. For example, what could result from a fire fighter, surgeon or air traffic controller being distracted by romantic activity at work? Have students answer that question humorously by determining what the distracted worker might say when asked to concentrate on work. Elicit silly answers, such as the fire fighter responds with "That other fire will have to wait." Rely a lot on humor to defuse the tension around discussing public displays of affection with less than responsive teens.
 


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Learn 100s of Strategies for Work Refusers, Difficult,
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Classroom Management Problems STOP here

 

public display affection postersStop the Affection Connection
As you can see pictured in Poster #121, you can give a clear name to your expectations for social conduct. Inform students that your site is a "No-Cuddle Zone", and follow through on that standard of public displays of affection. That very humorous term will be far more effective than more conventional approaches; students will often begin to use the term themselves. To purchase Poster #121 or one of our other PDA (Public Display of Affection) posters, click here.

Teach the Rejection of Affection
Work with both partners who are involved in problematic displays of affection, and give them memorable, crystal-clear standards so that it is hard for students to even begin to claim that they forgot the rules. A very quick, hard-to-forget guideline for social contact at your site: Touch only from the elbows to fingertips, and only after asking.

In Case of Hormone Overdose
Years ago, families reliably taught their offspring what they needed to know about appropriate interpersonal social behavior. Those social skills are not always reliably taught at home any more. You may want to make it your job to teach what the family should have taught. Remember that telling youngsters "what not to do", may not be enough to change the problem social behaviors. Be sure to teach them "what to do" instead. Be sure to cover these social skills that are necessary to stopping public displays of affection: Hand Control, Mouth Control, Distance Control and Clothes Control.

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    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


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    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.


Interventions to Prevent Public Displays of Affection: School Isn’t Just for Dating Anymore

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

School Isn't Just for Dating Anymore
Interventions to Prevent Public Displays of Affection:

 

 

If your students believe that your site exists just for dating purposes, we've got some delightfully different, unusually effective interventions that you may want to use right away.

If you are tired of the constant public displays of affection (PDA) that don't belong in a school or agency setting, our new interventions can help. Because these new methods rely heavily on humor, they may work much better than conventional approaches.

 

Methods to Stop

Public Displays of Affection in School

 

This Just In! School Isn't Just for Dating Anymore

display of affection poster 120 If every day at your site feels like date night, this funny handout will prompt discussion about PDAs.  It's Poster #120.

After reading through the handout text with your group, start a discussion of the role of your site.

Assist students to identify the mission of your site. Aid the group to notice that your goal is to prepare youngsters for the future, not for date night.

 

You're Not at the Movies

social skills poster 118When adults confront students about inappropriate displays of affection, students often become angry, argumentative and disagreeable.

The best way to avoid that type of reaction is humor.

This funny resource can provide that humor. It's Poster #118.

To avoid some of the arguing, emphasize to students that you are only concerned about "the right time and right place" for dating activities, that you are not against dating activities in the correct setting. Assist students to determine that the cinema is an appropriate setting but your site is not.

 


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Classroom Management Problems STOP here

 

Exit the Hormone Zone

pda poster for school 121It's not even close to spring but you may already feel like you work in the Hormone Zone.

Conventional, straight-forward interventions may not help the situation. Give this humorous alternative a try instead.

Label your classroom or group room a No Cuddle Zone.

You can have students create signs to warn all who pass through the door that they've entered a No Cuddle Zone. Our Poster #121 can provide an example.
 

But Everyone Does It

One of the most common excuses students offer for engaging in PDAs is that "everyone is doing it too". That's hardly true. Help your students discover that for themselves.

Here is a most engaging and provocative way to convey that reality. When students say that "everyone else is doing it," ask students if their parents act that way. Most students groan and say they would never want to be around their parents acting like that.

Once students have that insight, turn the tables on them, and note that parents, siblings, peers, teachers, and many others prefer not to watch students' PDAs every bit as much as students prefer not to watch parental affection.

Be sure to use this intervention very carefully as it could unintentionally strike a nerve in children with family problems. This intervention should be done with great lightness and lots of humor to avoid that.

An important tip to avoid problems: Rather than have children think about their own parents, have them think about parents in general. Unless you are 100% sure that you can use this device successfully, skip it entirely. If you want to use this strategy without risk, change "parents" to specific other adults like pilots, plumbers, or cashiers, and have students identify if these adults are engaging in PDA on the job.

 

Work Place Kissy Face

Students are often quick to assert that your site's rules regarding PDA are unrealistic, outmoded and out-of-date. When students make that claim, reply that they might be right.

Next, note that since your job is to prepare students for the real world, all your rules mirror the major employers in the region. Ask students to identify major employers in the region and their standards for PDA.

Students will quickly discover how few work sites permit dating activities during what is supposed to be work time. Be sure to conclude the discussion by noting that as soon as the biggest employers in your region schedules daily Coffee and Kiss breaks, your site will too.

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