Most of What You Know About Violent Students is Wrong– Includes Online Class with More Effective Strategies


classroom management problems blog

Most of What You Know About
Violent Students
is Wrong

Includes Online Class
with More Effective Strategies


workshop trainer Ruth Herman WellsAs a mental health counselor who specializes in working with hard-to-manage children and youth, it always makes me upset when I read another article disseminating misinformation about extremely violent,unmanageable kids.

For decades, mental health,juvenile corrections, and juvenile court professionals have had tested, documented methods to best manage unmanageable, violent students. Even though these tools have been widely available for a half century or so, most of these targeted techniques and time-tested insights into unmanageable kids have not reached most K-12 educators.

Today, another major education outlet printed yet another misguided article that urged teachers to build stronger relationships with their most severely misbehaved, violent students. The author asserted that relationship-building is the best way to reduce violence, bullying,cyberbullying, disrespect, defiance, property damage, and harm to others. That assertion isn't just wrong, it's dangerous.

Any mental health professional can tell you that strong student-teacher relationships are important with MOST students, but that relationship-based approaches always fail with the violent students who act out the most. Even worse, attempting to use relationship-based approaches with this population doesn't just fail big-time, but these tactics generate other problems.

Here is just one example of the serious fallout that occurs when counter-indicated methods are used: Relationship-building sends an unintended message to the seriously misbehaved student, who interprets the trust-building efforts to mean that the adult "doesn't have a clue who they're dealing with so I can do what I want and get away with anything." Just as no one single text book would work with all students, one single style of behavior management interventions will not work with all students.

When educators use one-size-fits-all methods with severely misbehaved students, they will find "nothing works." You may have already have discovered that nothing seems to work to rein in your most unmanageable students. Now, you know why.

I'm Ruth Herman Wells, M.S., the Director and Trainer for Youth Change
Workshops. This issue has must-have, tested, documented, established,
more effective strategies for unmanageable students. These behavior
management strategies will work better than the counter-indicated
approaches you are using now. These methods are taken from my new
online class, Control the Uncontrollable Student (click). These methods
are also offered in my live workshops, and on-site trainings. We have
special treat for the readers of this magazine: If you would like to take
the $39 Control the Uncontrollable Student online class FREE, see the
easy directions below.

online classGet Control Uncontrollable Students online class without charge.
Take 2 steps by 4-5-12:

(1) Post a link to our website ( online on
your website, blog, Facebook page, or similar place. (2) Click here to email us the link to the page where you posted. We'll send you the link to the online class by return email. It's that easy.


The Top 5 Truths About Unmanageable Students
That Educators Need to Know Now

1. Learn Targeted Methods for Conduct Disorders

Mental health professionals have identified that some extremely
misbehaved youngsters are wired a bit differently than the majority of
students. They tend to be boys, and make up about 11-14% of the
population. Mental health clinicians have the ability to determine if a
youngster has a problem called "conduct disorder," a mental health
diagnostic category that describes children and teens who have no
conscience, no remorse, no empathy, and no real relationship capacity.

Advanced research in the 1990s and into the 2000s has clearly shown
that the brains of these youngsters are different, that the place where
relationship capacity should "reside" in the brain is not "lit." That is why
relationship approaches will never work. Every educator must know
about this youngster since conventional approaches always fail with this
type of student. Targeted methods must be substituted instead. You'll
need more than the quick info included here so read more on our
website here or view our online class as described above.

2. Learn the Operating System of Conduct Disorders

Most students are relationship-based creatures, and relationship-based
approaches like character ed can be tried. Character ed is so popular
right now in the world of education. Sadly, popularity doesn't correlate
with effectiveness or even worthiness. Relationship-based methods like
character ed can never succeed with youngsters who have conduct
disorder as this disorder means that these students lack empathy. It
also means that their "operating system" is different than most other
students. Instead of having an operating system that is based on
relationships, youngsters with conduct disorder care about one thing: I-Me-
I-Me. Character ed methods don't address that. That's why you
have to learn and use methods designed especially to work around that
difference. What works? Read Step 3 below.

3. Learn Targeted Behavior Control Methods

Students with conduct disorder only care about what happens to them.
That's why all interventions with them must revolve around that
dynamic. If you look at the sites that have expertise with the most
acting-out students, places like juvenile corrections, for example, they
tend to use a specific style of interventions. These sites tend to be very
regimented, very strict, and to respond very quickly and strongly to
misconduct. They developed this style of intervention because it worked.
If relationship methods had worked, they would be using those instead,
but those techniques failed, so they switched to what worked better.
You need to switch too. With other types of students, use relationship
methods if they work for you, but stop expecting them to ever help
conduct disordered kids behave better.

4. Avoid the Predictable Pitfalls

Students with conduct disorder are often very savvy. They can read us
like open comic books and easily manipulate us. There are many
predictable mistakes that caring adults can make over and over again
unless taught to do otherwise. What is one of the most common pitfalls
that will get you played? These youngsters may discern that you are a
good-hearted person, so they may manipulate you by getting you to
believe that you have shown them the error of their ways. Because of
that, be careful about automatically believing when the extremely
misbehaved child suddenly expresses remorse or sheds copious tears.
Instead, discern if there will be any benefit from expressing remorse.
For example, if apologizing gets the sanctions for misbehavior lessened,
then you want to be careful about believing that the remorse is

Students with conduct disorders are very manipulative. Even
though it may be uncomfortable for some of us to acknowledge, it's part
of what they often do. All of us need to accept that premise in order to
be effective working with these youngsters. When you are repeatedly
vulnerably to the pitfalls, the student can easily manipulate and control
you and your classroom.

5. The Whole Team Must Know How to Control Conduct Disorders

The best way to manage unmanageable students is for every member
of your team to learn the do's and don'ts. That includes the school
secretary, and the bus driver who has to turn his back to even the
most aggressive students. When the whole staff understands how to use
different tools with these students, misbehavior can be more easily
curtailed. Sadly, the reverse is true: When the whole staff does not
know how to use targeted tools, then it becomes party time for your
most acting-out students, who are savvy enough to save their worst
behavior for the staff who are least likely to be able to manage them.

You need to have every link in the chain be strong. Your success with
conduct disordered students will be only as good as your weakest link,
so thoroughly educate everyone who is expected to be able manage
even the most unmanageable students.


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About Ruth Herman Wells

Author/Trainer Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. is the director of Youth Change Professional Development Workshops. In 2011, Ruth was rated as a Top 10 U.S. K-12 educational and motivational speaker by Speakerwiki and Speakermix. She is the author of several book series, a columnist, adjunct professor for two universities, and a popular keynote speaker and workshop presenter. Ruth's dozens of books includes Temper and Tantrum Tamers and Turn On the Turned-Off Student.