Positive Discipline at Home & School for Turning Disruptive Behavior Around
Do you have any suggestions for a child who may be seeking the attention of his classmates? He is being disruptive in class trying to get other children to pay attention to him. He is an only child and due to work, we don’t get many play dates with other children. He gets plenty of attention at home as well as time to play alone. At school he is constantly wanting someone to look at him or laugh at him or talk to him.
Attention Seeking = Connection Seeking
One guess is that your child really seeks connection with his classmates, but mistakenly thinks that attention is what he needs.
Several strategies will help him, but realize that it may take a while for him to learn new skills and especially to change his internal belief about what “friendship skills” to use with his classmates.
Here are Four Strategies Based on Positive Discipline To Turn Around Disruptive Behaviors
Opportunities for Responsibility
1. If the teacher does not offer a system of classroom jobs, I highly recommend this for all classrooms and all age levels. The Positive Discipline way of of using classroom jobs is that there is no reward or incentive for completing the classroom jobs.
This will give the child (and all of the classmates) a way to contribute to the life of the classroom and to feel significant by feeling capable rather than by being the center of attention. All of the jobs should be true jobs that are helpful and not jobs that are simply about status, so I don’t usually recommend “line leader” as a job, but rather jobs such as snack helper, supply manager, plant keeper (watering), etc.
Practice Makes It Possible
2. Teach this child new social skills/friendship skills such as asking questions to classmates about their interests or giving high fives to a classmate after they accomplish a task together, etc. An adult can role play these skills with the child about once a week.
Independence That Encourages Growth
3. Help this child feel more capable at home and at school by allowing him to do as much for himself as possible such as getting dressed, clearing his plate from the table, putting the plate in the dishwasher, etc. Sometimes parents and teacher pamper children in the name of love, but this doesn’t lead to an attitude of capability on the child’s part.
4. I would also suggest that his child needs more opportunities to interact with both adults and children in a one on one basis. Hopefully this will create more opportunities for genuine connection with others so he can learn and practice new skills and feel the positive feelings from connecting and interacting with others. Check out the tool of “Special Time” and put special time on the calendar so this child can learn to depend on this time with one or more parent.
New Tools For New Behaviors
My best guess is that this child really wants to connect with others and is using the only tools he has at the moment.
Help him learn new tools and also to change his idea about how to connect with others and what true connection looks like and feels like.
Remember that it will probably take a while for him to learn these new skills and change his beliefs about how to interact with others so be patient while he learns.
Sign up for Kelly’s newsletter
Latest posts by Kelly Pfeiffer ( see all)
- Positive Discipline for Disruptive Classroom Behavior - December 14, 2016
- Positive Discipline for Attention Seeking Behaviors - May 26, 2015