It's About Them

Young People … Our Greatest Resource

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

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

This piece is from the new e-book (and soon-to-be-available paperback) 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

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“You Want MY Help?”

(Of course, I do.)

I believe it was Dr. Joyce Brothers who once said, “The quickest way to develope a relationship with someone is to ask them for a small favor.” She would emphasize the word “small” as being important. Small favors are not ingratiating, nor do they require repayment. (A person in our checkout line at the grocery store will give us three cents when we’re short on change, with no expectation of being repaid. A loan of $30.00, however, would be a different story.)

Here’s how it works. Let’s say you greet the youngster at the door and share a quick introduction. (So far, so good; no pain yet.) Then you say you need to make a couple of notes, and ask her if she would put a small stack of books into a box for you while you wrap up.

It’s a simple task, and my guess is she’ll jump right into it because putting books into a box is a diversion, a pleasant shift from what she was expecting. But it’s also a distraction, a distraction from pain.

If you walk the child to your office, consider raking a dozen books or so off your bookshelf onto the floor as you leave to get her. Upon walking into your office you could say, “Oh my goodness, these books fell off that shelf. Would you help me put them back?” I’ve also asked students to help me clear a corner of my desk so we could work, or even move the furniture around in the office so we could be more “comfortable.”

In addition to such a move or gesture being a distraction from the negative, the child is exercising compliance for you (that’s worth noting), and it provides an opportunity for you to express your appreciation to her. That’s something this child might not have heard from an adult for some time. It’s not a bad start, if you can make it work.

I often used a spin on this idea working with children and adolescents at a group home. I would ask them if they would help me bring in a couple of boxes from my car. I figured a youngster would do most anything other than to be anxious and uncomfortable in my office for the first time.

On days when I used this strategy, I parked my vehicle half a block away. I would make it a point to have two identical boxed in the trunk, one for me and one for the child. I had a chance to visit with the youngster as we slowly strolled back to my office with the boxes. This helped to settle the child and, of course, I praised his willingness to help me.

My next client would help me carry a couple of boxes to my car. (On those days, the boxes got quite a workout.)

 Learn more about 60 Ways to Reach a Difficult and Defiant Child

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October 28, 2006 Posted by | Counselors, Difficult Child, Self-esteem | 1 Comment

Do It Anyway

Mother Teresa cast a powerful light over humanity in her lifetime. She was truly remarkable, and was mostly remarkable because of her humility and willing service. From that simple platform she had the ear of the world. What a blessing we had her with us, if only for a short while.

Take a moment as you read this post to reflect on a statement she shared with us.

James Sutton, Educator/Psychologist, www.docspeak.com

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People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you’ve got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.        —Mother Teresa

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October 25, 2006 Posted by | Counselors, Educators, Inspirational, Parents | 5 Comments

On Doing What is Right

As I post this blog, I am in Casper, Wyoming, admiring the snow on the hills around the city. Beautiful.

I thought I best make a post so folks will know I am still doing this site. Here’s a good thought from Paul Williams about the value of doing the right thing. I could go on and on about it, but the right thing in just about all situations is fairly obvious. The question becomes: “Do we want to do it, especially when it costs up something.”

James Sutton, Psychologlist, www.docspeak.com

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“Nothing is more important than  doing what is right. That is so absurdly obvious that most people pay no attention to it. Most people seem to think that what is obvious is
beneath them. They pass up truth in favor of something more
intellectually stimulating.” — Paul Williams from Das Energi

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October 19, 2006 Posted by | Counselors, Educators, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | 1 Comment

The Respect of Silence

The Respect of Silence 

 “In the midst of sorrow, sickness, and death, or misfortune of any kind, and in the presence of the notable and great silence was the mark of respect. More powerful than words was silence with the Lakota.” Standing Bear, Ogallala Lakota

October 14, 2006 Posted by | Inspirational, Self-esteem | 2 Comments

On Risk Taking (and Michelangelo)

On Risk Taking (and Michelangelo)

 I’m in Reno as I make this posting. A pretty good place to talk about risk taking. These two quotes, both involving the great Michelangelo (one about him; one by him), shed some light on the necessity at times to take healthy risk.

 James Sutton, Psychologist www.docspeak.com

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 If no one every took risks, Michelangelo

would have painted on the Sistine floor.

–Neil Simon

 

The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too

high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.

–Michelangelo

October 10, 2006 Posted by | Counselors, Educators, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | 1 Comment

Every Child is a Passionate Learner

Every Child is a Passisonate Learner

 I came across this quote by Robert Fried the other day. As an educator and a mental health professional, I do agree with him. We much teach our children in such a way that the natural desire to learn is supported and enhanced. When I see my grandson excited about going to school and all that it involves, I say a little prayer of thanks for the teachers in his young life.

James Sutton, Educator/Psychologist www.docspeak.com

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“Every child is a passionate learner. Children come into the world with a desire to learn that is natural as the desire to eat and move and be loved, their hunger for knowledge, for skills, for the feeling of mastery as strong as any other appetite. They learn an amazing variety of things in the years before they enter school, including, miraculously how to talk in their native language. …. Something happens to a child when learning is replaced by schooling.” Robert Fried

October 4, 2006 Posted by | Counselors, Educators, Inspirational, Parents | 2 Comments

Working Effectively with the Difficult, Defiant and Noncompliant Student

Working Effectively with the Difficult, Defiant and Noncompliant Student

Here’s something I cover in my training for educators; it’s something to think about as we work with difficult students. For more information about this program, go to http://www.docspeak.com/Programs/DDNstdnt.htm

James Sutton, Educator/Psychologist www.docspeak.com

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(from page 70 of the program handbook) 

The process of achieving more compliance from this student in the classroom will not make all his problems go away. (Although I’m clear on the fact that teachers are not therapists, they are often the best therapist the child has. Think about that!) How we address these questions (after a bit of soual searching) could make a difference on into the future … with this youngster and others.

1. Do I really understand that this youngster’s behavior is rarely about me? What does that mean?

2. Does this student see me as a resource or an obstacle?

3. Although I can’t change the world for an unhappy child, can I bring a ray of sunshine into my part of it?

4. Have I provided the opportunity and the ear to really listen to this youngster?

5. What can I do today to become even better at working with students like this one? 

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October 2, 2006 Posted by | Counselors, Difficult Child, Educators, Inspirational | 2 Comments