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Behavior: are you rewarding tantrums?

Date: December 20th, 2016
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: Emotional looks like this: Do I have a good sense of self concept? Do I have coping skills? Can I self regulate? Do people run interference for me constantly, and not allow me to ride it out?

Do you let me tantrum for two hours in the hallway? I’m flat out in the hall, and I refuse to move.

Guess what? I’m not going to pick up a student whose doing that. I’m not going to call my crisis team.

As a matter of fact, I’m going to look for other people that maybe have time in their schedule. I’m going to say, “Hey. Can you bring your laptop out here and can you do some sitting here?” They’ll sit out there with their laptop, and they’re working.

If the kid engages in a conversation with them, they say nothing. They just keep working. All they do is say to the child, “Oh yeah. Your classroom’s in there. Your classroom’s over there.”

I’ve ridden out two hours worth of flat drag out in the hallway, just by tag teaming with my colleagues to do what I call the “eye babysitting.” You got to keep this kid in eyesight. I can’t leave him out in the hall by himself. I am not, however, going to physically pick this kid up.

After a while that kid begins to learn that nobody talks to them while they’re on the floor. People come out and do their own work and don’t give them the time of day. They don’t really get any interaction unless they pick themselves up and go to class, where they’re supposed to be. It was a whole lot more fun, however, when the adults were standing over them counting, and when two people came and escorted them, and then another person came down the hallway and tried to coax them along, or engage in getting them to move. That was a lot more fun than just sitting there.

In the beginning, that’s really hard to do. I’m not going to tell you it’s not. It’s hard to ride out a two hour tantrum, but it’s one of the best things you can do.