Amen, couldn't agree more. Thought I'd post the revised addition that I gave to all the adults in the program.
Are children driving you crazy, here are some helpful hints
Consequences, when used properly can be very effective. I recommend you read the book by Stephen Glenn "Raising a Self-Reliant Child in a Self Indulgent World". This is a wonderful book and you may even find the 10-week seminar based on this book, go to www.capablepeople.com. It helps you understand the perceptions of a child, and once you can understand them, you can be so much more effective in guiding these children to behaving better. This may be worth passing on to the parents, too. Here are some of the things I learned.
First: Keep it simple. The consequence should never be more than just a simple way of correcting the problem, i.e...If two children continue to comment to each other, separate them, ask (sometimes simple hand jesters can work to not interrupt the class) if they would like to sit right by you...or...if one can't stop speaking ask if that child would like to read the Bible passages for this lesson...or...as they are making a mess remind them that they will have to clean that up.
Second: Careful what you wish for. Idle threats will only proof you are not serious and you won’t do anything about the misbehaving, giving a child more reason to misbehave, and don’t threaten something that you will regret. i.e…“if you don’t behave we will sit out in the hall for the rest of the hour” who is being punished here.
Third: Never let them see you sweat. Once you show any signs of anger or frustration the child will feel a great sense of power. I always have a half smile on my face when the child is driving me crazy, just to confuse them.
Forth: R E S P E C T. They may be driving you crazy, because all they may want is to be heard. A luxury they may not get at home. Your patients and listening ears must grow 20 times bigger so they feel heard, who cares if you have to interrupt the class to respond to them, THEY DO, as long as you get back on focus fast.
Fifth: Humor is the spice of life. Let them see you joke a little, life is a gift from God, enjoy it, let them know you enjoy it…or do you really want them as miserable as you are? Which will only make things more miserable.
Sixth: Grease your shoulders. I know we don’t think that we are holding a grudge, but we are not in a child’s mind. If I had to correct a behavior problem, I make it a point to get friendly and connect with that child the next 1-3 times I see them, knocking down any chip they may think I have on my shoulders.
Seventh: Go the Distance. Ask questions to get them to understand the problem. If they need to be removed, hand jester to Tommy and quietly lead him out of the room. Ask "Tommy why do you think I brought you out here?" if Tommy doesn't know "Okay we'll just wait until you figure it out" give it a minute or two before hinting about the problem. Once Tommy admits to problem ask, "Is that is the way you should behave" if Tommy doesn't know "Okay we'll just wait until you figure it out" Once Tommy answer say, "Now if I allow you to go back in the room how will you behave?" then "Now Tommy what should I do if you misbehave again today?" Come to an agreement. Notice how the word YOU is used.
Eighth: Take it to the Lord in Prayer. When you need to remove the child end in a prayer, start the prayer and ask the child to end it, “We should pray before going back into the classroom so God can help us too. I’ll start the prayer and when I (i.e. touch your shoulder, squeeze your hand or say your name) you finish the prayer. If the child can only say amen at least he has committed to the prayer.
You will see a change in a child if you are consistent, kind, and really want to make a difference in their life.
Disclaimer: This will not solve all your problems, but if you what to know what always keeps that half smile on my face, I just remember that I don’t have to take that child home with me.