Teachers or parents will handle the situation to retain control of your classroom/home when and if he or she does do that particular thing. One needs to know his or her triggers to have a level playing field.
Ask yourself number of questions, such as, “Can I stay calm, cool and collected when a student curses me?” You may also find appendix A the self awareness interview helpful.
Monitor your self-control:
¨ Tune in to how you are communicating. Is your voice low and even? Do you make empathic statements? Are you being sarcastic or condescending?
¨ Are you letting yourself get drawn into an argument?
¨ Do you feel threatened?
¨ Is what the student is doing one of your “triggers”?
Gary Alderman (1998) has developed an excellent Self-awareness Inventory to help adults check their self-control (appendix A). It is recommend that one use it regularly to monitor his or her reactions.
For parents, what do you do when your child makes a major mistake. For instance is caught with drugs or becomes pregnant? Chapman (2000) has seven recommendations.
· Don’t blame yourself!
· Don’t preach.
· Don’t try to fix it or bail them out.
· Do give unconditional love.
· Do listen with empathy. (see the recommendations on listening above)
· Do give support.
· Do give guidance.
Thinking Feeling Behaving
Many at risk kids can’t distinguish feelings well. They feel only sad, glad, mad, or bad. They cannot articulate frustration, anxiety, or jealousy well. Their culture may not approve of these emotions.
The emotion may begin as frustration but escalate to anger by the time it is recognized. Anger is not a primary emotion! It is always based in something else. Since it is difficult for these kids to recognize emotions it is also difficult for them to draw causal connections between feelings.
Davis, Nelson and Gauger (2000) list several characteristics of youth without emotional intelligence; they are listed below. You may wish to use the Feelings Beneath Anger Checklist (appendix C) as an aid in determining what the underlying emotion is.
In addition, a colleague Dr. Carlton Allen, (Personal communication 2001) indicates that in his experience as a minister anger is usually a response to a real or perceived threat. The threat creates anxiety that is expressed in anger. If the academic work were too hard for you and you could not get out of the situation would you feel threatened?
Imagine being told that you had to major in the one class in college that gave you fits. This is the position of many children who are either slow learners or learning disabled.
Characteristics of Youth Without Emotional Intelligence
¨ They have little or no guilt about their behavior. They use fallacious reasoning such as rationalization, minimizing the conflict or assuming the role of victim.
¨ They lack feelings of compassion or empathy toward others.
¨ They are narcissistic or self-centered and rigidly proud.
¨ They believe aggression creates power and status.
These beliefs are maintained and/or enhanced by faulty patterns of reasoning.
Examples of faulty reasoning are:
Intentional exaggerations such as, “Don’t worry about grades you can play pro ball.”
¨ Special pleading, “The rules don’t apply to me.”
¨ Believing nonsense such as fortune telling, horoscopes etc.
¨ Ad Homonym arguments where you reject the argument because of the person, such as, ”I wouldn’t believe anything he said.”
¨ Appeal to ignorance in that if you can’t prove me wrong, I must be right.
¨ Mob and snob appeal where groups and the media define what is best.
¨ Genetic fallacy where you reject an argument based on a stereotype.
¨ The part for the whole where in you reason that since some people are doing it, therefore everyone is doing it. “My dad sleeps around so all men sleep around.”
¨ Irrelevant thesis, for instance, "Since more kids smoke pot, they should just let us do it."
¨ The red herring, diverting the topic to something else and trying to argue.
¨ Straw man trying to make the issue seem unimportant to ease the pressure, such as, “Why should I learn this? I am not going to college.”
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