Defiant Students: Stop Your Worst Behavior and Classroom Management Problems

 

defiant student educational article

 

Defiant Students:
Stop Your Worst
Behavior and Classroom Management Problems
 

 Includes Free Anger Management Worksheet and Lesson Plan

 

 

defiant students"Nothing seems to work

with that child!"
 

Have you ever said those words?

If you work with very out-of- control, seriously defiant students, chances are you have said those words more than once. You were right. Nothing was working to rein in that youngster. In this issue, we'll explain why nothing worked, and what you can do that will work. Hopefully, this article will help you avoid saying those words so often.

Just about everybody has one– that child who is almost gleefully defiant and out-of-control. You know the youngster. He's the one who seems to live to torment vulnerable peers. He seems to almost take delight from engaging in problem behaviors like property damage, harm to others, verbal abuse, and defiance. If you noticed the heavy use of "he" in the last few sentences, that was not by accident. This child does tend to be a "he."

Can you name the mental health label that might be used to describe this type of child? If you've come to one of our popular professional development workshops, or been a longtime subscriber to this educational blog, you should know the answer.

defiant studentsThe answer is "conduct disorder," a topic frequently covered in the articles in this blog and also in our workshop. As you hopefully remember, the term "conduct disorder" roughly means that the child has no conscience, remorse, or relationship capacity. That means that these defiant students  don't care about hurting others or damaging property, so they do what they want, when they want, to who they want.

Only a mental health professional can diagnose this disorder, so it is very important that if you are not a social worker, counselor, etc., you never say that a child is conduct disordered (C.D.). However, it is okay for you to carry that concern in your mind.

Here is the most important information: You must work with C.D.s differently than everybody else. If you attempt to use conventional approaches with C.D.s, you will find "nothing works." There is your explanation for why nothing seems to work with some defiant students.

You may be surprised to learn that conduct disorders are not a tiny fraction of your students. Estimates are that 11-15% of your youngsters are C.D.s. That means you probably have more than one defiant student with whom nothing seems to work.

In our workshop, we devote hours to teaching you about this student. Obviously, we can't fit all that information into brief article. Yet, clearly, this isn't a student you want to work with when you have just a smattering of information on how to manage them, so we'll do our best to explain:

(1) Why nothing has been working to manage your defiant students

(2) What to do instead

 

Defiant Students:
How to Stop the Behavior and Classroom Management Problems

 

 Includes Free Anger Management Worksheet and Lesson Plan


 

student defianceWhy Nothing Works with

Defiant Students
 

Children and teens with conduct disorder are "wired" differently than other students. That means that they may not be able to care. Because of that difference, the following interventions will fail: character ed, values clarification, empathy building, second chances, making amends, and more– far too many to list here. These methods fail because the child must care about others if these techniques are to work. These approaches are absolutely fine for other types of children, but will never be of value with C.D.s. In fact, these methods make the situation worse because they communicate to these children that you don't understand who they are, and don't understand how to control them. That perception generally leads these youngsters to believe that they may be able to do whatever they want without having to deal with consequences that would be of significant concern to them.


What to Do Instead
 

First, if possible, stop using any intervention that requires that the child care. For example, stop using empathy-based methods. Stop saying: "Timmy, that makes Juan feel bad when you slap him." For a C.D., with those words, you just painted a target on Juan's back. Review the list of common interventions in #1 above, and discontinue using those approaches with children who may be C.D.s.

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book on defiant studentsSecond, use approaches that are designed to work with children who appear to lack empathy and compassion. There are lots of methods to replace the conventional approaches that fail with C.D.s. We'll give you one key method here. It's a free student anger management worksheet and lesson plan. Check out this student behavior management worksheet and lesson plan from our Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Free anger management worksheetbook and ebook series. The worksheet is called "Do You Want to Go Through Life Without Brakes on Your Actions?"  and can work well to show defiant students that misbehavior costs them. That worksheet and lesson plan is from our Temper and Tantrum Tamers book which is one of the volumes in the 11 book Breakthrough Strategies series. This type of worksheet begins to powerfully demonstrate to C.D.s that "when you hurt others, you can get hurt too."

Notice that we are compensating for the lack of empathy by showing the C.D. that he will often have troubling consequences to deal with when he hurts people or property. (By the way, this intervention and handout is fine to use with almost any child, but is especially useful with C.D.s.)

So, the key point to include in interventions for C.D.s is: Hurting people or property can hurt you. This approach will do no harm if you have guessed wrong about a child being conduct disordered, but can really make a difference if the child actually is.

Now, you have one key pointer to help you work with your hardest-to- manage youth: keep the costs of misbehavior high. There are so many more methods to also use, that we must emphasize that this brief educational article is absolutely inadequate for giving you all you need to effectively manage your most unmanageable, defiant students.

defiant studentsTo best ensure your safety, and that of your students, be sure to more fully update your skills as soon as possible rather than rely on the limited information we have been able to squeeze in here. Our best resource is called All the Best Answers for the Worst Kid Problems: Anti-Social Youth and Conduct Disorders. It is offered as a book or ebook. We also offer many online courses on how to work with very defiant students.

Please be sure to note that we're not identifying C.D.s as "bad" or "hopeless." Instead, we are asking you to consider that you have a diverse population of youngsters, and you need to always select the correct tools for the correct kids. For students who have conduct disorder, choosing the wrong tools can yield disastrous results. Choosing the correct tools can put you back in charge of even the most out-of-control, conduct disordered, defiant students.
 

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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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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
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Expert Help with Student Acting-Out, Behavior and Classroom Management

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

More Behavior and Classroom Management

Q & A

From

The Breakthrough Strategies

 

Professional Development Workshop

 
 

 

Our Behavior and Classroom Management Blog issues that answer your questions are always so popular. We  have listened to the many subscribers who wrote in, and will answer more of your questions again in this issue. Just like the participants in our live Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop, it is clear that subscribers like to set the topics, and get immediate solutions for their most challenging "kid problems."

As always, children and teens acting-out is a hot topic, but this blog issue also takes a look at child and adolescent self-harm, which can be thought of as acting-in.

classroom management expertThe questions featured in this issue come from our recent Breakthrough Strategies Workshops' participants. If you would like to attend one of our upcoming behavior and classroom management conferences, our professional development schedule is here.

I'm Youth Change Workshops Director and Professional Development Instructor Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. and I'm here to answer your questions so email us any queries you have.

 

classroom management trainingMore of Our Best Answers to Your Questions
 

About Troubled and Problem Youth & Children

 

Q: Maryann is a school counselor in Pemberton, NJ. She requested "strategies to use for children who seek attention by acting out."

A: Maryann, we did a whole issue on this subject several months ago, perhaps before you were a subscriber, so it's too soon to devote a whole issue to this topic, but let me give you a couple favorites.

► There is an old saying: "children would rather be praised than punished, but they'd rather be punished than ignored." With that in mind, wait for the acting-out student to be properly behaved, and then offer attention. Although misbehavior compels the adults to give attention, it starts a cycle of misbehavior netting attention, so by acting out, a student can extract notice. That's the exact opposite of what you want to occur so catch your students "doing good" and offer attention then. You are eliminating the need to act out to be noticed. There are even stickers you can buy for younger students that say "Caught doing good."

► Class clowns are the classic example of students who chronically act out. Be sure that teachers have their class establish a recommended number of times to talk out, then expect students to follow that standard. Without a quantifiable standard, you are expecting students to adhere to a standard that is unspecified. That isn't fair or reasonable. For class clowns, work with them to learn about the proper frequency of comments, the correct type of content, and appropriate duration. If you can channel the input to be appropriate, you will give that student lifelong skills to be beloved in the work place for making light, well-timed, often much-needed, humorous comments. You have transformed acting out into a potential, major work place asset. Everyone loves the co-worker who can break up the staff meeting with a well- timed, wry comment or socially acceptable joke.

expert classroom management

Q: Theresa, who teaches kindergarten, wants more of a focus on younger children. She writes: "I'm not a new teacher (15 years) but, the behaviors I have seen and dealt with the past two to three years are becoming much more common. Out of a class of 16, 8 of them have really horrible behaviors. One even killed a cat this year! Thanks so much…I would love to come to a workshop if you are ever in Wichita, KS."

A: If you let us know that Kansas schools and children's agencies aren't facing desperate budgets, we may look at hosting a session in your state. We try to host classes in regions where youth professionals have an adequate professional development budget. Right now, the closest we'll get is Texas or Indiana, which isn't exactly close. You can always ask your school district, professional association, teachers' conference, or local Education Service Center to sponsor a class. It's been a while since one of the Kansas Ed Service Centers hosted us. Or consider the course online. Now, if you had taken our Breakthrough Strategies class, or if you have been very carefully reading this blog, then you would know the answer to this question. Theresa and everybody else: before reading further, stop and consider if you already know the answer to this query, because we have touched on the answer a lot in previous issues of this magazine– and we devote hours to the subject in class.

The most misbehaved children may be "conduct disorders." From past issues or class, you may remember that those words refer to a specific mental health category that describes the most out of control students. While only a counselor can diagnose, anyone can be concerned that a child falls into this category. Theresa, here is the critical element: you must work completely differently with these students. If you use conventional methods, you will find "nothing works."

For Theresa and others of you with very young students, here's more bad news: the younger the severe misbehavior begins, the worst the outlook. The good news: if more professionals could identify and correctly work with young conduct disorders, the better the chance of aiding that child to avoid that otherwise grim prognosis for the future. Sadly, without targeted intervention, conduct disorders are at high risk of violating the law, and ending up imprisoned. Properly working with that 5 year old conduct disorder today can have incredible impact on his future. That is why Theresa's question is so important.

Anytime you have a young (or older) child doing the most extreme behaviors such as animal abuse, that should be a "red flag" to alert you to consider using the specialized methods that work with conduct disorders. The second and third issues of this magazine offered you an glimpse into this large population, and Theresa, you use exactly the same type of methods with both older and younger students. You can read a lot more information from other Behavior and Classroom Management Blog issues in our detailed Blog Index. You can also just look in the brief Blog Index (at right) for articles listed under "Conduct Disorders." However, a few articles will not substitute for fully upgrading your skills with this growing population.

Anytime you have a young (or older) child doing the most extreme behaviors such as animal abuse, that should be a "red flag" to alert you to consider using the specialized methods that work with conduct disorders. The second and third issues of this magazine offered you an glimpse into this large population, and Theresa, you use exactly the same type of methods with both older and younger students.
classroom management help

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Uncontrollable, Unmotivated and Withdrawn Students

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classroom management resources

 

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Q: Here is the email we got from Angela: "My topic suggestion is one that I do not think is addressed enough anywhere– self-mutilation. It is a far more common problem than once thought."

A: Angela, you didn't tell us your job, or where you were from, but wherever you are and whatever your job, you are correct. If you are a counselor, you may have noted the increase in the amount of disturbed youngsters, especially in the early grades. The answer we give to your query is going to depend on your job. We are going to play the odds and guess that you are a teacher since we have more teachers as subscribers than counselors. Let's hope we guess right.

If you are not a mental health professional, then whenever you have specific data to suggest active self-harm, you need to immediately notify your administrator or counselor. Only counselors and other mental health workers should be managing behaviors that could be– or become– life threatening. I am not saying that superficial cutting of the wrist automatically indicates a potential suicide attempt, but ensuring the child's safety must be the job of the mental health worker, and there are no exceptions to that– even if your budget-crunched school lacks a counselor. You will need their guidance, and there is no work-around that is worth risking a child's life.

Even though non-mental health workers must consult a counselor, you still need to understand what makes these children tick, and adapt how you work with them. Plus, other behaviors may really be, or border on self- harm. For example, extreme tattooing or piercings, reckless driving, and serious promiscuity are just a few examples. To understand these youngsters, remember that distressed children don't manage their distress in "appropriate" ways. They don't enter class and say "I feel neglected so I would like additional interaction and nurturance today." They manage their distress in primitive, inappropriate ways like self-mutilation.

For non-counselors, you want to adjust how you work with the child by striking the balance between your mission and the child's distress. That means that when the child is distressed, you may lower the expectations. On days the child is more functional, you increase expectations. You also observe for safety concerns and let your mental health worker guide you on all else. Even if you lack an on- site counselor, it is not wise to learn counseling by practicing on a distressed youngster. Instead of counseling these students, be nurturing, involved, alert, and available. Offer them time, and listen to what they say– and don't say. Ask them what they need.

Sometimes, these youngsters just want someone to notice. But leave the counseling to those trained to do it. Even if you have to move heaven and earth to arrange it, your energy is best spent ensuring that each hurting child has access to a capable counselor who knows exactly how to help.

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    Reprint or Repost This Article
     

    Bring the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop to Your Site

    Help Unmotivated, Failing, Troubled and Unmanageable Students

    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

    Subscribe Unsubscribe/Change Subscription
    Contact Us*  *Not for Unsubscribing
     

    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.