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Angry Children
Old 01-15-2010, 05:46 PM
 
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Where in the world has all the angry children come from?? I can not get over the anger issues many of my students have daily. Not to add the smallest things that sets them off into a complete violent melt down. I feel like someone is always having a fit and throwing things. And the fact that expelling them out of school for weeks at a time isn't working, scares me. This is elementary school... I do not want to stick around this district to see what happens when these angry children go to high school. If they can't handle the daily frustrations and exceptions of elementary school, how are they going to deal with Life???

I have truly been understanding and I have tried EVERYTHING to help these kids. But by this point in the year, I am just about to the end of the road with patients. I'm need some need for venting AND support from my administration and the families (which is a lost cause).


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angry kids
Old 01-16-2010, 04:40 AM
 
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Just my 2 cents....Some angry children result from abuse, violence, angry parents, being bullied years after years, racism, feeling like they have no control over their lives, believing negative self thoughts, low self esteem and tremendous challenges beyond their control.

These children are the ones that need the most support.
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Here Comes the Future
Old 01-16-2010, 04:59 AM
 
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Don't you feel that a common style of parenting today is to look for excuses rather than holding children accountable for their temper tantrums? Part of growing up is learning to control your emotions. People have always had problems. Many have learned to survive despite the challenges life hands them.

I was in the grocery store last year. The young man bagging my groceries got angry when the manager called over the intercom system for more bagger to come to the front. It was totally irrational, but he threw down the bag in his hand, yelled something, and stomped out the front door. At first I wanted to laugh, but then I realized this was an example of the children we are raising today.
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Old 01-16-2010, 05:34 AM
 
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I teach in NYC and I noticed a big difference in my kids the first few years after 9/11. Some kids were angry and rigid, others highly anxious. Overall they coped as best as they could, but look at what they have to live through - terrorist attacks, wars, climate change, and economic crises. Even the very little ones are exposed to increased stress, though they may not be directly exposed to it. The older ones, of course, come in with all kinds of misinformation (and unfortunately, real information) that they are worried and frustrated about. They are exposed to very graphic images and descriptions, on an ongoing basis, through the media they are consuming.

I don't think it has much to do with parenting. I've worked with too many twins and sibling pairs in which one child is well-adjusted and happy, while the other has emotional problems. Same household, same parenting, same environment. I also have adult friends and colleagues who came from very dysfunctional backgrounds, in which the parenting was truly terrible, yet they are functioning better than many who had "ideal" childhoods.

Many of the children I work with do need help controlling their emotions, but let's be honest, adults aren't always so good at that either.
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Old 01-16-2010, 08:16 AM
 
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Do you have any suggestions to help these students? I have one student this year that has a very difficult time controlling his emotions (anger). Since birth this child has been exposed to murders, rapes, gang activities, drugs, and so on. But when he is calm, he actually has hopes and dreams for his future. I have tried so very hard to assist him in focusing on handling his emotions in a more acceptable way. We have daily discussions about the day's activities and how to handle things appropriately, he visits with the counselor a couple times a week, I try to communicate with his family several times weekly (sometimes that is just not possible because they don't answer the phone). He has a reward system which worked in the beginning but he just doesn't care about it anymore. Rewards don't seems to be encouraging him and consequences do not work with this student. His response to consequences is violently expressing himself in more dangerous ways.

Recently nothing seems to be working. Does anyone have any other suggestions?


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Angry children
Old 01-16-2010, 08:36 AM
 
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I am sure there are various reasons for it. One is some parents are doing too much for their children, another is parents not doing anything and leaving them to do it themselves. No balance for the child. I teach first grade. I do see a generation of children who have been raised on technology and TV. Even though there are guidelines on DVDs and video games parents allow children to see stuff I don't even watch.

Many of my first graders have never been told "No." I am better at not saying "no" but saying this is how we do things here in our classroom or in the cafeteria or at school. Redirecting

At times I feel like I am teaching preschoolers when it comes to behavior with the students who do have tempers and meltdowns.

I have as student this year who is just the opposite of meltdowns and temper tantrums -- she quietly opposes whatever she chooses not to do. She has little emotion and will not cry or react. She refuses to do. But when she wants to talk or do she does.

Funny-- we had a meeting a couple weeks ago and our principal tells us that everything is about achievement and not about anything else. Not about the child's behaviors, whether they are feed or clothed, family issues etc... It's all about achievement. I know I am more effective as a teacher if I can meet the some of child's needs. Achievement only is the principals motto. it's all about test scores.... i wonder what'll happen this year when one of these kids has a meltdown during testing....

sorry I guess I was venting and not helping..
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Old 01-16-2010, 08:56 AM
 
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Thanks for the suggestions about not saying "no" but to redirect them to "this is what we do here at school."

And thanks for your little vent too!! I enjoyed hearing about your principal's CRAZY motto. Does your principal have classroom experience with young children? We can't achieve anything in the classroom until the students are "under-control" and their needs are met. There are many times throughout my days that I just can NOT teach because I am following a student who is running out of the classroom in a complete temper tantrum to assure his/her safety. Or my class is not learning anything because a classmate is throwing everything imaginable around the room as he/she is yelling at the top of their lungs. (I'm speaking of 4th and 5th graders).

I'm sorry to hear that your principal is not seeing the "whole picture" of how a classroom runs successfully!! I am very lucky to have a principal who is completely understanding and encouraging to the students and teachers.

Thanks again!!
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Putting on a show and trying to intimidate
Old 01-16-2010, 08:59 AM
 
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Due to the nature of my job, I am in many different classrooms during the day and over the years. I think that these kids who frequently have major tantrums in class are putting on a show for their peers and trying to embarrass and intimidate their teachers. I can think of several who yell, scream, cry, and kick over the trash can as they storm from the room. Are they doing this because something horrible happened? Never that I have observed. Every single time showtime has occurred because the student has been told to stop a misbehavior and start an appropriate behavior.

I've been teaching students about anger and ways to calm themselves when they are angry, and to think about different levels of emotions. I also use behavior plans for those students who need help learning to control their emotions. Check out some of the 5 point scales.

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Old 01-16-2010, 09:05 AM
 
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My dear Principal has no children but a dog and she only taught music at the high school and middle school level. UGHHHH!!! I don't even want to go down this road about my principal.

Have a great weekend and think not of school..
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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blueheron - could you direct us to this
Quote:
I've been teaching students about anger and ways to calm themselves when they are angry, and to think about different levels of emotions. I also use behavior plans for those students who need learning to control their emotions. Check out some of the 5 point scales.
I don't have a problem at all looking things up for myself, just not sure where to begin on what you're talking about and it sounds very interesting to me.

TIA


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Old 01-16-2010, 01:17 PM
 
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Quote:
we had a meeting a couple weeks ago and our principal tells us that everything is about achievement and not about anything else. Not about the child's behaviors, whether they are feed or clothed, family issues etc... It's all about achievement. I know I am more effective as a teacher if I can meet the some of child's needs. Achievement only is the principals motto. it's all about test scor
That's sickening.
My ex-principal was the same way.
It seems that this attitude is more common
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Here is information about the 5-point Scale
Old 01-16-2010, 01:37 PM
 
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The Incredible 5-Point Scale
Assisting Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders in Understanding Social Interaction and Controlling Their Emotional Responses
by Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis

Two special education teachers introduce a simple strategy to help students with autism spectrum disorders understand social encounters and control their emotional and behavioral reactions. By depicting social concepts, emotions, and behaviors on a graphic, 5-point numerical scale--that is, by translating abstract information into a visible, numerical format that's easier for students with autism or Asperger's to grasp--this strategy teaches emotional and behavioral control. Whether the problem is inappropriate touching, obsessions, yelling, hitting, or making hurtful statements to classmates, this clearly illustrated book shows how to define the problem in increments on a 5-point scale and, just as important, suggests alternative, positive behaviors at each point on the scale. Paperbound, 73 pp.

"...an amazing strategy to help children with autism to understand and control their emotional responses."
Tony Attwood, Ph.D.
Author, Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals


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AAP-3 $25.50 The Incredible 5-Point Scale

You can order it at the Creative Therapy Store online. You can easily make your own scales. Think of a thermometer divided into 5 sections of different colors--white-blue-yellow-orange-red. White is the calmest and red is exploding. During calm times and as part of social skills, you can have the students contribute their ideas about what are appropriate actions at each stage. This also works for students without autism. For example, I was the victim of a general education student's rage the other day because I would not let him get up to throw away a piece of paper while the teacher was teaching. Earlier I questioned why this student was not doing his assignment as the page was blank--was he confused--did he need help. I was very mild and heaping on the benefits of the doubt. The class rule is no getting up when the teacher is in the front of the room. The student deliberately created a crumpled piece of paper to throw away by ripping a piece of paper out of his notebook. The student went into the screaming crying rage about how I was bugging him and needed to stay away from him and he stormed from the classroom. It was mortifying, but there was no way that I was going to let him get away with that behavior. He continued screaming and crying about how he was going to call his dad in the hall. Once the student realized that I wasn't backing off or giving him any undeserved space, I showed him my poster of the 5-point scale. I questioned him about whether is made any sense to be in the red exploding zone over being told to wait to throw away trash, and asked what he might do if something really bad happened. I got an apology in a sincere voice for embarrassing me and being so rude.
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Old 01-16-2010, 03:37 PM
 
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I highly recommend Ross Greene's "The Explosive Child".

I also really like the idea of the 5-point scale. I've used something similar that was a graphic of a thermometer, so that children could learn to recognize when their emotional temperature was rising and do something adaptive to cope.

I've found that it's important to support the other children in a class when there is a child struggling with angry outbursts. Other children can be frightened or confused by this, and end up shunning or baiting the angry child, with disastrous consequences. I've also seen situations when a formerly angry child has really worked on his/her behavior and is doing much better, but continues to be treated by peers and staff like s/he's still ready to explode at any moment or is just "faking it" until the opportunity comes to revert back to the "real" self.
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My two cents
Old 01-17-2010, 09:22 PM
 
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I would give my two cents. I know may be saying it is easier than doing it, but anyways...here it is-
I think these children need lots of love and trusting relationship with you. If you can, start over like the beginning of the year, spend time in building relationship with them. Show you love them, care for them, trust them. Dont judge or blame or get angry...(hard, I know). Use positive teacher language, take care of everything you say to them ...it should help them to build their self esteem. Involve them in activities like read alouds which are based on human relations and emotions. Notice what they are doing good and show them how much it makes you proud of them. Build a strong connection with them and then start the normal academic routines.
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Old 01-18-2010, 07:01 AM
 
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I had a child last year who had severe unidentified anger issues. He would hit, kick, scratch, bite...just for the fun of it. He was an extremelly intellegent boy who would verbalize how he took pleasure in hurting others. When his behavior was corrected, he flew off the handle. Destroyed my classroom, hurt other children and fellow teachers. He sent one girl to the hospital with a concussion. He bit me in the face. He verbally threatened to kill me, and my unborn child on a daily basis. He was six years old. No amount positive reinforcement, comminicating of feelings, hugs, "feelings" stories or role playing worked with this guy. Admin suggested this, and once they were hurt by this child, the whole game changed. The child was moved to another school per mom's request (it was us, not him. That old broken recored) I'm not saying that these techniques shouldn't be tried. But I totally sympathize with the OP. Get your admin involved as much as possible. Document. Take pictures of your room and any injuries you or others may sustain. I also love what dramacentral said about supporting other children...they suffer the most when all your attention is on one or two children.
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Old 01-18-2010, 07:13 AM
 
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Blueheron - Thank you so much for the great information on the 5 point scale. Especially the part where it does work with children who are not autistic. I have come face to face with a young man this year who no longer is in my classroom but continues to exhibit very angry behavior whenever he even just sees me.

I was wondering if you all knew there was one of those new groups just for really tough kids like we all are describing. It sounds like the people who have posted over there and the people who have posted on this thread could share a wealth of information.
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