Training behaviour management skills in adults
Role of adults
- Directly teaching STOP THINK DO to children to improve their peer friendships
- Facilitating the problem solving process in child-child conflicts
- Using STOP THINK DO to manage children's misbehaviour in adult-child conflicts as presented in detail in 'Social Savvy'
STOP, look and listen first
- The hardest step is to stop the old habits
- Why should adults STOP first when there is a problem with a child?
- buy into too many things, giving attention for negative behaviour, thus reinforcing it
- respond implusively and emotionally, providing a poor model of self control
- react to the child personally with You-messages, rather than to the behaviour
- talk too much so the child switches off until your voice is raised to assault the ear drums
- make mistakes by guessing and assuming on the basis of past experience
- How do you STOP?
Step back, turn away, go to the toilet, put on earphones, anything to compose yourself
- Then look and listen, use your eyes and ears first to work out what is actually happening
- State the problem clearly to the child and express your feelings appropriately
"I feel.....because (problem)" and/or
reflect back the child's feelings "You seem to feel....because (problem)"
- The tone of voice is more important that the words used;
stay low,slow and robotic, the same for all children and all situations if possible
- This approach is less threatening and personal, and less likely to make the problem worse
THINK about options and consequences
- If the child does not adjust behaviour,
move to THINK about what options could be tried to solve the problem and the likely consequences of these options
- Be divergent and creative
- Don't have all the answers; give the child or the group responsibility for thinking as well
Choose the best option to DO
- Now be convergent and choose the option with the best likely consequences
- Don't 'pull the carpet out' when children have reached a reasonable decision or consensus themselves
- If the chosen option doesn't work, go back to STOP and THINK again about what to DO
- Or offer a choice to the child(ren) of seriously implementing the chosen option or experiencing the consequence of not doing the chosen one appropriately