It's About Them

Young People … Our Greatest Resource

#48 of 60 Ways to Reach a Difficult and Defiant Child

#48 of 60 Ways to Reach a Difficult and Defiant Child

This piece is from the new e-book by psychologist Dr. James Sutton, 60 Ways to Reach a Difficult and Defiant Child. Information about this downloadable guide for counselors and support staff can be found at: www.DocSpeak.com/Ebooks/60waysebook.htm

…………………………………………………………….. 

48 

“Wow! I Get to Work on YOU?”

(Yeah; It’s Been a LONG Day.)

The “secret” to working with difficult and defiant youngsters is to take them out of their comfort zone. This means finding creative ways of being unpredictable.

Try role reversal as an intervention. Point them to your chair, then sit where they would sit. (I had a short couch in one of my offices. I’d flop down on it, as if I was too exhausted to do much else … which was sometimes true.)

“I’ve had a long and rigorous day,” you might say. “Why don’t you be my counselor today?”

Here’s your golden opportunity to show oppositional and defiant youngsters what’s it’s like to be on the receiving end of aggravation.

“Well, what do you want me to say?” the youngster might ask.

“Hey, you’re the counselor. I’d like for you to say that we could both go home early. but that would get you fired.”

“So what do I do if I’m supposed to be the counselor?”

“Okay, let’s suppose that my big brother just got shipped out to Iraq. My mother has told you that I am very worried about him … so worried I’m having nightmares. But I won’t talk about it to anyone! Get me to talk about it.”

“How do I do that?”

“Hey, you’re the counselor!”

That’s enough dialog. See where I’m going with it? Here’s a youngster who is beginning to find out that a counselor’s job isn’t that easy.

It’s actually possible to cover some quality ground in this mode because you’re not only the “kid” being counseled in this scenario, you’re actually giving him tips on how he could tap into the feelings of another person and attempt to help them. That’s a good skill, and it includes material you can use later.

Another benefit of occasional role reversal is that, whenever this youngster starts to be difficult with you in the future, you can kindly remind him of what it felt like to be on the other end of that defiant behavior.

Occasional role reversal can be a great break in the sceme of things and, as mentioned, it can actually be helpful to the purpose of counseling. If you try role reversal as an intervention strategy, you will find the youngster gets better and better at it.

…………………………………………………………………….

 

Advertisements

September 28, 2006 Posted by | Counselors, Difficult Child, Educators, Parents, Self-esteem | Leave a comment

Do You Have the Key?

Do You Have the Key?

 I was sifting through some of my past newsletters and this piece from a 1991 newsletter caught my attention. I thought it worth sharing.

James Sutton, Psychologist  www.docspeak.com

P.S. The “kid” in this article will be 33 this November.

…………………………………………

 I had borrowed a pair of handcuffs from the county sheriff with plans to use them in a lecture on alcoholism and codependency. They were sitting on my desk when my 17-year-old spotted them.

“Do you have a key for these, Dad?” he asked, as he picked them up.

“I do,” I replied, hitting the save key on the computer.

He immediately snapped the handcuff over both his wrists and cinched them down tight.

“Jamie!” I gasped. “Yeah, I have the key, but I never said I had it with me. What are you going to do if I tell you the key to those cuffs is in my office in San Antonio (45 miles away).”

The kid didn’t even flinch as he held out his hands. “Come on, Dad. You’d never let me snap these things on my wrists if you didn’t have the key with you,” he said confidently.

I dug into my pocket and gave him the key.

It’s refreshing to work with young people who are striving to be naturally spontaneous and are learning to take appropriate risks (although I’m no sure handcuffs qualify). As caring adults, we should always encourage this kind of growth. Young people constantly look to us to share their joys and process their failures. For them, we hold the key that shows them how to gain maximum benefit from their experiences, the good ones and the not-so-good ones.

Don’t forget to keep the key with you. You’ll never know when it will be needed.

……………………………………………………

September 26, 2006 Posted by | Difficult Child, Educators, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | Leave a comment

When You Enjoy What You Do, It’s Not Work

I was touched by this quote by the great painter, Pablo Picasso. His words make a lot of sense, and send us excellent counsel on how we should guide our children.

 James Sutton, Psychologist www.docspeak.com

…………………………………….

“My mother said to me, “If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general; if you become a monk you’ll end up as the pope.” Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso. Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life, a dichotomy in which you hate what you do so you can have pleasure in your spare time. Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time.” Pablo Picasso

September 25, 2006 Posted by | Educators, Inspirational, Parents | Leave a comment

INTENT: It Makes ALL the Difference

INTENT: It Makes All the Difference

They say that, in a court of law, the intent to commit a crime is a major issue. Sometimes the difference between murder and and an accident hinges on that simple little word: INTENT.

James Sutton, Psychologist www.docspeak.com

…………………………………………….. 

The heart is our garden, and along with each action there is an intention that is planted like a seed.
We can use a sharp knife to cut someone, and if our intention is to do harm, we will be a murderer.
We can perform an almost identical action, but if we are a surgeon, the intention is to heal and save a life.
The action is the same, yet depending on its purpose or intention, it can be either a terrible act or a compassionate act.
– Jack Kornfield

September 21, 2006 Posted by | Educators, Inspirational, Parents | Leave a comment

What is Success?

What is Success?

There is a lot of discussion regarding the elements of success. In the end, Emerson probably said it best.

 James Sutton, Psychologist www.docSpeak.com

……………………………….

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. Ralph Waldo Emerson

September 19, 2006 Posted by | Educators, Inspirational, Parents, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Three Precious Things: Gentleness, Frugality and Humility

I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility. They keep me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men. Lao-Tzu

September 16, 2006 Posted by | Educators, Inspirational, Parents, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Submission is not Cooperation; Thoughts on True Peace

“If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” Moshe Dayan

……………………………………

The great Israeli leader and military man, Moshe Dayan, was certainly on the right track when he made this statement many years ago. I think Israel Kalman, the bullying expert from New York, would agree with him. We (a collective, global  “we”) are often under a devastating impression that, if we can just overpower another person or another group enough, they will willingly follow us wherever we go. They follow because they have ropes around their necks.

The real question is: Will they follow when the oppression is removed?

At best, force and coercion are only temporary. True peace involves communication and free-will cooperation.  

………………………………… 

James Sutton, Psychologist 

September 15, 2006 Posted by | Inspirational | Leave a comment

The Worth of Our Lives

The Worth of Our Lives

Here’s an interesting piece that was sent to me. I thought others might enjoy it.

 James Sutton, Psychologist 

…………………………………..

 A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20.00 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?”
Hands started going up.
He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.
He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill.
He then asked, “Who still wants it?”
Still the hands were up in the air.
Well, he replied, “What if I do this?”
And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.
He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty.
“Now, who still wants it?”
Still the hands went into the air.
“My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.
“Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless.

“But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.
Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who DO LOVE you. The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by WHO WE ARE and WHOSE WE ARE.
“You are special- Don’t EVER forget it.”

September 14, 2006 Posted by | Inspirational | Leave a comment

Solving Problems

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”  Albert Einstein

September 11, 2006 Posted by | Inspirational | Leave a comment

Listen! God is Speaking

Listen! God is Speaking 

 My friend in Austin, Jim Gentil, sent this one to me in his ezine, “Positive Spiritual Living!” I though it was well worth sharing.

James Sutton, Psychologist

…………………………………….

The man whispered, “God, speak to me.”

And a meadowlark sang.

But he did not hear.

So the man yelled, “God, SPEAK to me!”

And the thunder and lightning rolled across the sky.

But he did not listen.

The man looked around and said, “God, let me SEE You.”

And a star shone brightly.

But he didn’t see.

And the man shouted, “Show me a miracle.”

And a new life was born.

But he didn’t notice.

So the man cried out in despair, “Touch me, God, and let me know You are HERE!”

Whereupon God reached down and touched the man.

But he brushed away the butterfly and walked on.

Message: Don’t miss out on a blessing just because it isn’t packaged the way you expect.

………………………………………………

September 9, 2006 Posted by | Inspirational, Special Occasions | Leave a comment

Question 5 of 5: Evaluating a Youngster’s Self-Esteem

There are five questions that pertain to the evaluation of a child or adolescent’s self-esteem. It is probable that a child with low self-esteem will have difficulty in more than one area addressed by these five questions.

These questions come from a downloadable guide for parents, grandparents and teachers entitled, “Improving a Youngster’s Self-Esteem.” For more information about this informative guide, go to: http://www.docspeak.com/Ebooks/esteem.htm

James Sutton, Child and Adolescent Psychologist

……………………………..

Question 5 of 5: Evaluating a Youngster’s Self-Esteem

HOW DOES SHE HANDLE RELATIONSHIPS, BOTH WITH PEERS AND WITH ADULTS?

Does she seem to have a number of meaningful friendships that have lasted, friendships into which she is invested? Does she speak easily and comfortably with adults?

At the other extreme we find youngsters who seem socially isolated and withdrawn. They might possibly say things like, “No one likes me!” They might even make friends easily, but have difficulty keeping them.

This youngster might either be uncomfortable with adults or spend all of their time with just one friend or one adults (such as a favorite teacher). Although this might appear to be a very positive relationship, the deeper message could be avoidance of other relationships. This can become a real problem, espeically if that one intense relationship falls apart. And generally, if the relationship is one-sided in its intensity, it will eventually fall apart.

There are underlying issues in such an unfortunate scenario. One is fear, fear of closeness and fear of being socially exposed. (Which is to say a fear that others, when they move in close, will not like what they see.) For an adolescent, a stage of growth where peers are such an important part of psychosocial development, just the thought of being “exposed” is quite disturbing. One way of dealing with this problem is to never, but never, let anyone get too close. But, just like the problem of risl, not letting anyone get close is also self-defeating.

………………………………………  

September 5, 2006 Posted by | Difficult Child, Educators, Parents, Self-esteem | Leave a comment

Question 4 of 5: Evaluating a Youngster’s Self-Esteem

There are five questions that pertain to the evaluation of a child or adolescent’s self-esteem. It is probable that a child with low self-esteem will have difficult in more than one area addressed by these five questions.

These questions come from a downloadable guide for parents, grandparents and teachers entitled, “Improving a Youngster’s Self-Esteem.” For more information about this informative guide, go to: http://www.docspeak.com/Ebooks/esteem.htm

James Sutton, Child and Adolescent Psychologist

……………………………..

Question 4 of 5: Evaluating a Youngster’s Self-Esteem

 

IS HE WILLING TO TAKE APPROPRIATE RISKS?

 

LIfe involves risk. The very hope of progress, just about any kind of progress, demands that we take risks. Not fool-hearty risks, of course, but age and situation-appropriate risks.

Examples of risks include sports and other areas of competition, the sort of classes a high school student signs up for, seeking an after-school job, and the big one for a guy … asking a girl out for a date. Life requires risk all the time.

The bottom line of risk-taking is always the same: fear of failure. If that fear is strong enough, one will not risk. But there’s a paradoxical quality to it. Since one cannot experience success UNLESS he takes a risk, a paralyzing fear of ultimately creates … failure.

We might consider here a pattern of an opposite effect, a fear of success. The whole notion of success doesn not fit well with a poor self-image or a low self-esteem. Many youngsters will strive for a consistency of a poor self-image rather than a successful life-style. That seems to run contrary to the laws of personhood, but in three decades of working with young people, I have seen it happen over and over again.

NEXT: Question 5 of 5: Evaluating a Youngster’s Self-Esteem

………………………………………….

September 2, 2006 Posted by | Difficult Child, Educators, Parents, Self-esteem, Uncategorized | Leave a comment