Violent Children

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Violent Children

  • Rebecca Lau

    Everyone seems to have an opinion when it comes to child behavior and I would really appreciate it if only people who had professional experience working with kids responded.

    I just started working in a public elementary school at their before school day care. I don’t teach anything. I mainly supervise the kids at the day care, walk them to the cafeteria for breakfast, and then walk them to their classroom. It’s in a nice area in San Francisco. I have one student that is just really bad and violent. Just today, he choked another kid for cutting in front of him in line when we were walking to the cafeteria. Then I heard him threaten to punch another kid “in the face and the eye.” Then he started a fight with another student but the other one grabbed his arms so they were just locked in that position. The kid is only 5 years old! I really didn’t know what to do so I just split them up and let it go. I only work there for two hours a day and everything that happened occurred within 20 minutes.

    So my question is, what would you do in this situation? Why do you think some kids are so violent? Is there another explanation beyond experiencing violence at home?

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  • Zain D

    A great question, and one I’ve often thought about.
    There could be many reasons why an individual chooses to resolve conflicts violently (beyond the obvious reason of “experiencing violence at home”). Whatever the case, the individual has learned that violence is the most effective way of achieving the desired end.

    Reprogramming – if you’ll pardon the term – such an individual is no easy task, especially when the behaviour has been reinforced for a prolonged period.

    From my limited experience working with children and what I’ve read/watched I believe it all comes down to having positive role models, either at home or at school. Granted, without support from home, it can be very difficult to see sustained change in person since whatever is learned through interactions with positive people can be undone as soon as the child walks through his/her front door.

    In your limited capacity at the school all I would recommend doing is diffusing the immediate situation (as you did) and then reporting it to the child’s classroom teacher. There is not much else to be done from there.

    The high school at which I teach has a few behaviourally challenged students and, in general, the ones that improve the most are the ones with supportive caregivers at home. Unfortunately, until parents start owning up to their responsibility to raise healthy and emotionally stable children, the State will always have an excuse to interfere in home life.

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    starrychloe

    3 stage progression:

    http://www.mentalhealth.com/home/dx/oppositionaldefiant.html

    http://www.mentalhealth.com/home/dx/conduct.html

    http://www.mentalhealth.com/home/dx/antisocialpersonality.html

     

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    Andrew Sokol

    I think it’s not only that parents are abusive, but it’s also that parents are neglectful. Violence among kids is much more prevalent in poor/black neighborhoods. Many of these kids have parents who aren’t married and had kids in their late teens/early twenties. The parents often aren’t responsible enough to successfully manage the responsibility of raising a child.

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    Matthew John Hayden

    Children of unready / unwilling / uncaring parents have become a common breed in the UK on account of our social welfare system ( which I can attest to, having grown up in it ).

     

    As to how to deal with them? I’m with Zain. You basically try to perform damage limitation, make sure more qualified staff know what’s happening, and then wash you hands of it all, since it ain’t your responsibility to raise that kid properly.

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    Marsha Familaro Enright

    On top of all the motivations mentioned, some people have more volatile temperaments than others and need a lot of help to learn how to redirect their feelings, and there may be past relationship tension you’re not aware of.
    As far as what you can do, I highly recommend learning the methodology in How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk Here’s a brief summary, the it’s really worth getting the book, which has more explanation and great illustrations. http://www.mountvernon.k12.ia.us/uploads/2/6/5/2/26525259/how-to-talk-so-kids-will-listen.pdf

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