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MissAgnes MissAgnes is offline
 
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Negative self-talk
Old 01-27-2020, 10:20 AM
 
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I have a kid who is awful with negative self-talk. If I correct him in any way, he'll say "That's because I'm stupid." It is CONSTANT. I ask him to stop talking, he says, "OK, I'll never talk again because I'm stupid."
Now, he's made progress, because he is no longer hitting himself when he gets an answer wrong, or saying he wants to kill himself.
Parents are totally aware, and though they see they same thing, they won't get him counseling because "He won't go."
I don't know what else to do with him, and it's wearing me down.


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Old 01-27-2020, 10:50 AM
 
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It must be painful to be him. Imagine having someone (yourself!) continually saying such horrible things.

I have never, at least to my knowledge, had a student that severe. I have, however, had a few students who would say out loud things such as, "I'm so stupid." I would reply, "I don't believe that's true. And I wouldn't allow anyone else to say things like that about you--so I won't allow you to do it either." The student would generally look at me, the light would dawn, and they could more on to learning whatever was giving them trouble.

I doubt that it would be that easy for your student to make such a mind shift, since the negative belief seems to be entrenched. But perhaps that sort of approach, over time, might help. Even if he doesn't believe in himself, knowing that someone else does could be a small glimpse of hope.
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:36 PM
 
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How sad for that child. I wonder if some positive affirmations would help at all. Not connected to anything specific, just checking in with him each day and saying quick and simple like "you are helpful and smart". If he says something negative I'd either ignore it or bounce back with a positive.


The counseling thing is totally on the parents, though. You might not be able to make him talk, but you sure can make him go.
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Negative self talk
Old 01-27-2020, 06:37 PM
 
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One phrase I learned from Love and Logic:

Student: Iím so stupid
Teacher: itís a good thing I donít believe that.

It does help.
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Old 01-27-2020, 09:12 PM
 
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Maybe I am a negative Nancy... but could it be for attention? Or a way of essentially back talking? I have had kids say things like they were stupid or take about their inability to behave. It was usually when corrected. When I looked into it I found previous teachers (and often family at home) would back off on them, lower expectations, ignore off task behaviors, etc. to avoid these outbursts. I've also had students who had a lot going on who would say things like this as a way to get adult or peer attention. Honestly, you see this in adults sometimes too. They say they are ugly, dumb, whatever as a way of seeking affirmations.


It also could be a legitimate self esteem thing for sure. I've just found kids who have felt like that aren't usually quite as vocal about it. Could you have a problem solving meeting for him? No matter what is causing these outbursts he may need more support than he is getting. Is there someone he could talk to/work with at school to work through this? Is he struggling academically/socially?


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Yay for progress!
Old 01-28-2020, 02:52 AM
 
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I'm curious about the age of the child... and must agree with the possibility LillyBabe has suggested. Not only is it an attention-seeking behavior, it also could be getting him off the hook, so to speak. In that sense, it could be more about victimhood and not having responsibility. If he convinces you he's stupid, you'll stop correcting him and he's not accountable for his work.

It could also be a habit.

Be all that as it may, I'd try to change his thinking instead of (or more accurately, in addition to) his behavior. When he does or produces something, I'd ask him what he thinks of it (the work) and use directional questioning to "make" him find value in it. In a sense, he'll be proving to himself that he's maybe not so stupid.

Another possibility that might seem subtle. Encourage him to say "I feel stupid" instead of "I am stupid." Feelings come and go--they are not our identity. Changing our language can change the way we think! I've had some success challenging kids with this. "You're not sick. You feel sick." I saw one of the kids moping down the hall the other day... when I asked her how she was, she stayed slumped and said, "I don't feel good." Then she stood up straight, forced a smile and said, "But I'll feel better! I'm Allie!"
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Old 01-28-2020, 03:38 AM
 
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Do you know what home life is like? I also wonder if it could be attention seeking, but maybe not in the way we usually think of it, but more so like he legitimately needs more attention in his life, and he doesn't know how to get it. Either way, the suggestions of the previous posters sound great, and are far better worded that what I would be able to come up with!

How sad that his parents won't get him counseling. I wonder if you could continue to press? Maybe get the guidance counselor involved recommending it? You may have already tried this.

Maybe the whole class, she he's not singled out plus it could benefit everyone, could do some sort of project writing about positive attributes they see in themselves, and why (i.e. I am responsible because I help clean up the school or I am compassionate because I helped out my mom when she was sick etc).
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4th grade
Old 01-28-2020, 09:36 AM
 
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I failed to mention that he is diagnosed with austism. I am familiar with the family. I had his older sister a few years ago. She is also autistic, and was a challenge of her own (though she's still one of my favorites).

I think some of it is self-esteem, some is attention-seeking, some is avoidance. He started the year lot of work avoidance behaviors, many of which he has given up because I just won't tolerate it. I've had several kids like that, and I tell them at the beginning of the year that while those behaviors may have worked in the past, I don't put up with them, and I expect them to work.

Thank you for all of the helpful suggestions. I will definitely put them to work. He is a really neat kid, and I really like him. I just hate to hear him talk like this.
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