Helping Kids Behave Part Four 

 language was quality time. This father had spent an entire weekend with his son and had an important meeting when they came back. As he was leaving for the meeting the son asked if he had a minute. He was really asking do you really care about me.

Rather than becoming angry, the father told him he had to go to the meeting then but asked if they could get together when he came back and most important set a time for them to get together. It is vitally important that students know you care about them. Try learning to speak all five languages and then use them with your class, children, and or spouse for a week and compare your results. 

This also relates to where power is located in the home, school and the classroom. Johnson & Johnson (1994) describe five bases of power, reward, coercive, legitimate, referent, expert, and informational. Of the six bases the weakest are legitimate and coercive.

Therefore if your only source of power to run your classroom or home is because you are the boss and can punish them, you are in a relatively weak position. Not only that, but research on group interaction shows that while individuals will do what a coercive leader wants they will avoid interacting with that leader in the future.

Group effectiveness improves when the leader’s power is based on competence, expertise, and information. You need to build a power base anchored in the students’/child’s perception of you as someone who can give valued rewards, who has information they NEED and do not have, and most importantly,  as someone they admire and want to emulate. Caring helps build all three of these bases.

People usually want to be like people who care about them. Speaking a child’s love language is a reward.

And they come to know that you have knowledge that can help them control their behavior. As such you are empowering them. These are very powerful tools.

Gordon (1993) notes that leaders can increase their own power by sharing power with others. Some of the methods she recommends are very familiar to good teachers.

Give them empowering information. Provide emotional support. Offer words of encouragement. Serve as a role model. And facilitating mastery of a task.

These are strikingly similar to Chapman’s  acts of service, affirming words, quality time, and gifts. In the course of all that one might also pat the individual on the back, touch.

This does not mean one should let kids get away with a lot. As Davis, Nelson & Gauger, point out part of love is setting limits. Children feel safe when they know an adult is in control.

Kids also need to learn that their actions have consequences. Most law enforcement officres will not be psychologists, or counselors, or sociologists. GEMA (2000) points out that discipline must be firm (certain), fair, and consistent. That is

ALL teachers/parents must have the SAME CONSEQUENCES for the same behavior. Many children who already have problems do not have the resources to understand and accept that the standards in Mr. Jones’ room are radically different from Ms. Smith.

It is  recommend that departments and grades meet regularly, say once a week at first, to determine common discipline guidelines and that teachers meet across grades to discuss discipline at different grade levels.  Chapman (2000)  recommends that rules meet three criteria. They be few, fair and clear. Similarly he recommends that (Continued on next page / see below link)...

Helping Kids Behave Part Three
Helping Kids Behave Part Five
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