Google+ bakers and astronauts: "Problem Behavior"

12 October 2009

"Problem Behavior"

I have really been thinking about this "problem behavior" that is the topic of so much conversation. I posted yesterday about it, and decided to delete it. Rereading it, I have been very closed minded about the behavior, the stereotypes, and the conceptions (and misconceptions) that people seem to have.

The only important thing to note from what I deleted was that I got a phone call from a parent last Friday saying that her daughter told her that Y choked her. Neither my assistant or I saw this, so I wasn't able to determine the circumstances or anything. I had to take her word. Because Y had been aggressive towards her in the past, I emailed Y's mom and told her about the situation.

Her reaction, on Monday morning, was to say that they talked about it over the weekend. She said that Y is a "good boy", he is not aggressive, but he can be impulsive. She said he probably did it out of frustration.

I did not get into a long conversation with her - we have a parent teacher conference on Thursday and there is more time then. I felt a little frustrated when she left this morning, but I felt myself observing Y with different eyes. Why do we hear something crash to the ground and immediately look for him? Why do we hear someone cry and immediately look for him? Because if you watch him work and play, he can be very engaged, kind to his friends, and careful with his body. If he wants something, he'll grab it, yes. But isn't that behavior that we all showed at some point in our early childhood?

There was a really nice post Leaves & Branches, Trunk & Roots in response to the first post I wrote about Y, after my director came to me about bullying behaviors.

I feel like this is evolving. I feel very invested in his well being (I should, I'm his teacher), but this particular situation is really capturing my attention. For the first time in my career, I am approaching the situation from a positive perspective rather than a negative one. It's not about solving problems, I don't think. It's about celebrating the positive, understanding the child, and figuring out what works and why. It's not about time outs and scolding and making him apologize.
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