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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Workshop: Behavior Management - Setting and Implementing Guidelines

When the behavior management training series was initially conceived, the idea was to develop three separate workshops - one focused on understanding the child, one on helping adults understand how their reactions affect behavior, and a third dedicated to understanding how the environment affects behavior. See more about those workshops here.

This workshop was developed after those. While those three focus on preventive measures, this workshop focuses on what to do when problems do arise. Specifically, in this workshop participants will:

Check out this video of the Power Point presentation from this workshop for an idea of what you can expect:

To have this delivered as an on-site workshop contact Toolbox Training.

Check out the workshops tab for a full list of titles.

The 6-Step Approach to Conflict Resolution

The 6-Step Approach to Conflict Resolution

Have you seen this 2011 commercial for Florida Orange Juice? Imagine if you could be forewarned at the beginning of the day what problems you were going to face – and that you’d be prepared to face those problems because you were equipped with your Florida Orange Juice.

This 6-step approach to conflict resolution is like having Florida Orange Juice. When you have these steps down, you’ll be prepared to face the problems that will be thrown your way during the day.

When a behavior situation arises which requires the adult to take action, work through these six steps and the conflict can be resolved much smoother.

  1. Approach calmly. If the adult yells at the child or is overly frustrated, the situation will only become worse.

  2. Acknowledge feelings. Allow youth to have their emotions. Let them know it is okay to be angry or frustrated.

  3. Gather information. Instead of assuming you know what the problem is, let the youth explain it to you in their own words.

  4. Restate the problem. After the youth has explained the problem, repeat back to them what you understand to have happened from what they’ve told you.

  5. Ask for solutions. Get the youth’s ideas on what should be done to resolve the problem.

  6. Follow-up with support. When you and the youth have agreed on a workable solution, give them a chance to implement it and then ask them afterwards how they felt about it.

Adapted from the Reframing Conflict (2011) workbook (pages 7, 11), which is part of the Youth Work Methods Series produced by the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, a division of the Forum for Youth Investment.

The Behavior Funnel

When working with youth, one of the most important responsibilities for adults is knowing how to respond to inappropriate behavior. The adult’s impulse might be to immediately call the child out, but if the adult filters the “problem” through a funnel, then the adult will not expend as much energy reacting to problems.

The first possibility is to ignore the problem completely. Pick your battles. Does the child need to be confronted? Is the child truly causing a problem by doing something dangerous? Are you going to make the problem worse by confronting the child? Is the child truly causing a problem?

If the problem can’t or shouldn’t be ignored, consider how you can address the child without even speaking. Can you indicate to them from across the room that you see what they’re doing? Will that get them to stop? Can you simply move closer to the child and lessen the likelihood that they’ll continue the problem? Maybe you can rest a gentle hand on the child’s shoulder and that will communicate the message.

What tools can you provide youth that will let them regulate problems themselves? Is there a designated area in your program or classroom where youth can go to cool off or be by themselves? Can you provide materials, such as sensory boxes, that will help youth soothe themselves? Do you have a space where youth can go to talk out problems with each other?

If you do need to have a conversation with a youth, do it as respectfully and privately as possible. Stay calm and talk in a quiet voice. If you call a child out in front of others, they may act out more. Let youth preserve their dignity.

If none of these interventions work or the child is continuously engaging in disruptive or risky behavior, it may be necessary for the site coordinator to have a conference with the parent. There may be a need to set up a specific plan of action for the child or establish expectations which allow the child to remain in the program.

This content is adapted from the Toolbox Training workshop Behavior Management: Setting and Implementing Guidelines. You can read more about it here.