Key points on “Behaviors that make us crazy”

Tantrums, running away/out, noncompliance, nagging, refusing to work/help, yelling/screaming, bullying, panic/anxiety reactions, lack of follow through, and not following directions make teachers, school staff, and parents crazy.  The following key points on how to deal with these behaviors was presented by Scott D. Walls, MA, LIPC, CCMHC  in an audio seminar.


  1. The quickest way to get someone to calm down is deep breathing… in through the nose and out through the mouth.


  1. Anxiety is a major player in working with kids with behavioral problems.  It is an unseen underlying factor.  For a student who is anxious, physical outlet is very important!  Exercise increases endorphins.  The “feel good outlet” is essential to all of us.  Anxiety and fear will always impact behavior.  It leads to fight, flight, or freeze reactions.


  1. There is always a reason for physical aggression: to get something, to avoid something, or to communicate something.  Assess what is the reason before trying to address it.


  1. When someone is in crisis… talk to them less.  We tend to talk more because we are also becoming escalated.  Think about what you would want someone to do if you were in a crisis.  A powerful affect is just using their name.  “Joe, I need you to look at me.  I want to help you.”


  1. Do not use the word chores, instead use “AOR” (Area of Responsibility).  It means something to the students.  “AOR’s” can include tasks such as watering plants, delivering attendance, feeding the fish, etc.  Special jobs = ENGAGEMENT in tasks.  We as educators are in charge, but they think they are.


  1. When you yell at someone to stop yelling… it never works.  Address the yelling by acknowledging you heard them.


  1. In order to change a behavior, you have to know what motivates


  1. We all have sensory issues, some simply have more than others.


  1. The power of a skilled observation: WHY are they off task?  What are they specifically doing instead of what they should be doing?


  • Consequence Maps: It is important that students are fully informed of the possible positive and negative consequences of their choices.  They need all the information up front in order to make an informed decision.  Consequence maps are a way to visually show students the connections between their choices and the consequences that may or will follow.


consequence map

Consequence Map for Go In After Recess



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