Difficult Children

13. Our Reactions are Funny Facial Expressions to Kids

jose-ibarra-297117I was inspired by a video clip of a father making funny faces to his baby and the baby was laughing hysterically.

This reminder me of a time when I did something similar with a three year old – where I would make these random silly faces and the boy would laugh hysterically. 

The faces I made where exaggerated expressions – emphasized expressions of surprise, fear, silliness. I would in the moment really use / push my face to intensely express myself and to provoke laughs.

From this, I had been looking at how we as adults probably do look ridiculous when we go into reactions – how what we experience inside is translated and seen on the outside through our facial expressions and body language.  Like for example anger – how we can pull our face down, our brow furrows, we go into a deep frown. If we freeze it it may actually look hilarious / funny, just as if we were in a state of extreme fear. How our eyes bulge out wide, our mouth drop open – it can look really funny to a child.

Perhaps when we go into these emotional experiences we do “look” funny because maybe what we are going through is silly / funny — For example getting angry at a spill on our shirt, or being stubborn and saying you know how to do something when you don’t. So little things like that can be silly if we really look at it — especially if they are small / futile things that really don’t matter. 

 

Recommended Resources:

DIP Lite – Free Self-Development Course

EQAFE.com – Self-Perfection Merchandise

School of Ultimate Living – Life Creation through Words

 

Additional Support:

Parenting – Perfecting the Human Race

Extraordinary Parenting: Leila Zamora Moreno

Teacher’s Journey to Life with Anna Brix Thomsen

Advertisements

11. If I tell the kids something they don’t want to do = I am mean

brandon-morgan-16639Belief: If I tell the kids something they don’t want to do = I am mean

Context: Telling the kids they have to clean up after themselves from the items/they took out for themselves, especially when it’s ”crunch time” and we need to be somewhere soon. From them there is resistance, temper tantrums, avoidances, and big ”no!”s I think/believe I am not a nice person (but mean) if I tell them to do something they don’t want to do. Yet these kids needs to be aware of our schedule, that at a certain time of day we have to clean up everything to move onto the next thing in our schedule effectively.

Additional note: Perhaps the kids don’t know or realize the responsibility, reasons/purpose as to why we need to clean up.  Even if they do realize/see, and still fight/resist cleaning up they have to do. These kids are placed in an environment by/through the parents and are given no choice about it. That means they also have to follow the rules of this environment, but if the rules are in alignment with what is best for all – then it’s a great training ground for them to practice living with others effectively.

Self-Forgiveness: 

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe that if I tell kids to do something they don’t want to do then I am mean

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe that when a kid doesn’t want to do something – such as cleaning up after themselves it means I am a mean teacher instead of realizing the child resisting the task has nothing to do with me but the relationship the child has formed toward the task and thus it is part of my responsibility to work with the child in having them release the resistance they have formed with/toward the task

I commit myself to find ways/means/methods to support children through resistances they have towards tasks, such as cleaning up after themselves so that they can find joy in everything they do

I forgive myself that I have NOT accepted and allowed myself to clarify with the children why we need to clean up – why it benefits all of us on an individual and collective level, illustrating through words or pictures the value and benefits of taking responsibility and putting back/cleaning up what you use has on a person in the long-run

I commit myself to educate, share and explain the benefits and importance of taking care of what we use and putting it away/cleaning it up properly

I commit myself to live the word CARE for my environment – caring for the items in my home and environment by taking care of them properly

I forgive myself that I have NOT accepted and allowed myself to find ways to make cleaning up fun for the children – such as putting on music, or making a game, or picking the jobs out of a hat, or having us live a word like ”Slowing Down” with cleaning where our movements are slow…using various ways and methods to be creative in the moment with what we do and not just stay limited in cleaning up/doing a task one way

I commit myself to make chores/errands in my life more enjoyable by listening to music, or finding some other creative method to enjoy what I’m doing more

I commit myself to make clean up time fun/enjoyable for the kids by putting on music, having us live a word, making a game out of it

I commit myself to educate the kids on why we need to clean up at a certain time, and what are the consequences if we don’t clean up at a certain time

Within this I realize just because kids don’t like something I say doesn’t mean I am a mean person or certain person but that there is a negative relationship they have towards the task/what I just said.  It’s also important I check in me to see if I have any resistance to doing tasks, and to make sure when there is resistance I sort it out or push through it, because if I allow resistance in me with doing tasks and don’t do them, how can I support children through it?

 

Additional Support:

Parenting – Perfecting the Human Race

Extraordinary Parenting: Leila Zamora Moreno

Teacher’s Journey to Life with Anna Brix Thomsen

10. Tantrummy Fits with Clean-Up Time

delfi-de-la-rua-157488I got the opportunity to run my own classroom downstairs where I work with 6-7 children for about 3 hours, 5 days a week. It may not seem like a lot of time with them, but for me it is. These moments are filled with spontaneous activity, new ideas, activities, discussions, learning – every day is new and unpredictable, so in a way I have to roll with it yet keep to a structure as best as I can.

Something interesting came up today, was from my fourth day working here I noticed the tendency of not wanting to bother to ask or request or tell the kids they need to clean up after themselves. I just didn’t want to – I was too damn scared. I was too scared for the idea and the reality of possibility facing their cries, their resistances, their temper tantrums, their ”no’s…” because I have encountered this, there are certain children who have developed the perfect tonality and expression and behavior to manipulate adults to get their way, and I’m one of those adults who have not been able to as of yet find a way to stand through the manipulation and temper tantrums. I have instead cowered to this fear and did the dirty work myself as I allowed me to clean up after them while they read, talked, drew pictures.

This is exactly how my mother treated me – she did everything for me, I didn’t do a lick of work and perhaps this is because my mom knew if she had me do chores and errands I would throw emotional tantrummy fits, manipulating to get my way. Funny how life works this way where I am now in my mother’s position acting just like her.

How do I change this?

  1. When I go back to the classroom I am going to hold a circle time right before we need to do our chores/clean up tasks and explain why we need to clean up, the importance of it, how it supports everyone, how it builds character, etc.
  2. Second is to work on my own fears of being manipulated by children / people – cause if I am being manipulated I am still brainwashed – only people who are not brainwashed do not get swayed in their minds with emotions and thoughts but know exactly who they are and what they stand for. This means I am still allowing my own thoughts and emotions to manipulate me instead of understanding why I so easily succumb to these specific thoughts/emotions.

 

Additional Support:

Parenting – Perfecting the Human Race

Extraordinary Parenting: Leila Zamora Moreno

Teacher’s Journey to Life with Anna Brix Thomsen

 

 

6. One Year in the Classroom

one year in the classroomIt’s been one year for me working as a teacher’s assistant in a bilingual kindergarten. When I first started, I was really thrown into the deep end — I had no prior experience to working all day with children 3-6 years old (the majority of my experience was with older children like 9+), and the assistant I replaced was well-liked by the children, so they were not so open to accepting me.

I was quite “weak” as a teacher’s assistant. For the first three months I did not know how to properly direct children, or lead children, or handle conflicts. I was quite scared of some of them, particularly the boys who did not like what I told them to do where I “kept at them” by not giving up on them, they would hit and kick me, call me names, from which I would take personally and retreat in myself. I was quite traumatized by the amount of pain I experienced with the aggressive behavior of the children, because I had never before. This then fueled a cycle of fear where whenever I would be near them and they needed to stop doing something, the courage I had was very small, fear override it, so my starting point was insecurity and the boys picked up on it, and they knew how to respond to that insecurity… so you can understand it was a tough ordeal for me.

Now, after a year of dealing with such situations, I rarely get hit at/kicked at, and if I do, I am much quicker in protecting myself and not taking it personally because I know more of the child’s background/mind and why they did that.  In a way, coming out of  all of this, I feel like I can handle anything, honestly.

This means that over time in the classroom, I grew more confident in myself, in knowing what works, knowing how things are run in the classroom, knowing the children more, and what I need to say to them, the more certain I became in how to direct them and things. This entire process took like a year, to get to where I’m at now with children, where if there is something wrong/off in the classroom, like a conflict is about to brew, or a child is not working on a material properly, I am more confident in myself on how to direct and say things. And it’s been cool to see the results of my process working with children where when I ask them of something that considers the rules of the classroom, or the environment, or the children, they do it, they (for the most part) listen to me, and if they don’t, I am more confident in being able to work with them to have them understand, or at times I let them go — it depends on the situation (in time to come I can share more specifics on how I work with children in the classroom).

I had many many many times wanted to quit and give up my job. The combination of working with children’s emotions and behaviors along with the physical labor I had to do and my own personal reactions, it was too much for me. But I knew deep down to not give up, to not quit. Yes, money was the main motivation to keep going, but I also knew that I would regret quitting because I genuinely enjoy the children and the classroom I’m in.

Now, since I am more stable working with them, a new process has opened up for me where I am trying to understand how I can work with the inner needs of children– especially the difficult ones, where I am observing their behavior and seeing within their behavior what they need that would support them in groundedness, stability and to take steps to their utmost potential. It’s been a fun process so far and am looking forward to sharing more with you on that.

Thanks for reading!

5. From Reacting to Understanding

children montessori reacting to understanding helping them fufill a needI had for a long time reacted to 4 year old V for his behavior and difficulty listening to teachers and children. He is different in that he cannot connect easily with the school materials and/or with other children by socializing.

What started happening was V began to give a lot of physical contact to the teachers and children, where he would randomly go up to a children and try to kiss them on the cheek, lips, or arm. Children would react to this, yelling or hitting him to go away, and so we as teachers started to teach V about space and asking before kissing children. This helped to an extent but then V continued with the physical attention without asking.

One day I looked deeper at the point, looking at human needs, and what this child’s behavior is showing me about needs he wants fulfilled. I saw V needed personal attention and physical touch as groundedness, which was what he was trying to do for himself by kissing and touching children, but it was bringing consequence to him.

Sunette from EQAFE.com showed me how V is an emotionally oriented child and does require personal attention because it is what he needs and by me supporting this need will support him with less consequences. One example to support him is sitting with him and reading a book for example, where we act out certain parts from the book (the character jumps so we physically jump) — making the together time a physical activity thing supporting him to stay grounded in the physical (so it’s not just all mental like reading and looking at pictures) but combining the mental, physical and potential education for him.

By supporting V to fulfill his need of attention, this can assist him to settle down within himself and not need so much attention from others, which then lessens consequences. Then additionally V now can move on to fulfill another need that will support him in reaching his utmost potential the more he develops/walks in life.

So for me, I have been shifting my focus to reacting to V to observing V — asking myself what does he NEED, what is his (problematic) behavior showing me that I can support himself with?

I got to apply this point of supporting him when V started to cause conflict between two boys. He kept poking them and being in their space when they were telling him to stop and go away. I used the opportunity to invite V to help me with laundry, since all the other children were busy. V came with me, and I showed him how the dryer works, and had him participate with me in taking the lint off of the lint catcher and putting clothes in the dryer.  We talked and I made sure he was engaged in the task. Once we were finished we went upstairs to look for something, then eventually we went back downstairs where V was more calmer and went to join children drawing.

So, this was a cool point to realize for myself, to shift focus from reacting to understanding – asking myself what does this child need, how can I support him…and find ways to get the child involved mentally and physically by fulfilling his need.  If we as adults practice and apply this consistently for our children, we support them in developing their self-stability, talents and self-awareness.

Thanks for reading.