A student blows up at a teacher, drops the F-bomb. The usual approach at Lincoln – and, safe to say, at most high schools in this country – is automatic suspension. Instead, Sporleder sits the kid down and says quietly: “Wow. Are you OK? This doesn’t sound like you. What’s going on?”
He gets even more specific: “You really looked stressed. On a scale of 1-10, where are you with your anger?” The kid was ready. Ready, man! For an anger blast to his face….”How could you do that?” “What’s wrong with you?”…and for the big boot out of school. But he was NOT ready for kindness.
The armor-plated defenses melt like ice under a blowtorch and the words pour out: “My dad’s an alcoholic. He’s promised me things my whole life and never keeps those promises.” The waterfall of words that go deep into his home life, which is no piece of breeze, end with this sentence: “I shouldn’t have blown up at the teacher.” Whoa.—
what a radical idea yo
Bam. Kids “misbehave” for actual, real, valid reasons. And have feelings.
To put it in parent/child terms, if you have a boy who throws a lot of tantrums, your problem isn’t the particular tantrum he is throwing right now, but the fact that he throws tantrums whenever he doesn’t get what he wants. When you bargain with the child, you ensure that he will continue the behavior in the future because it is effective. — Why Face-Saving Won’t Work (via wilwheaton)