TIPS FOR PREVENTING AND DEFUSING AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR
AND CRISIS SITUATIONS
This is the Chinese Kanji (symbol) for "crisis".
It is a combination of the symbols for "danger" and "opportunity".
In a crisis situation, we should avoid the danger, and seize the opportunity.
A CONFLICT SITUATION
1. I ASSESS THE SITUATION AS I APPROACH:
|Think about what questions you would ask yourself as you approach the conflict. Then click here to see some suggestions.|
2. I DECIDE WHETHER
TO SEND FOR ASSISTANCE, AND IN ORDER TO PROTECT MYSELF AND OTHERS, I:
-turn the stones of rings inward (to avoid scratching others)
-tuck in necklaces and ties (to prevent grabbing of them)
-remove dangling ear rings (to avoid them being pulled through the ear lobe...but be careful
..for some fighters this action is a fight preparation activity. If they witness you doing this
behavior, they may assume that you are preparing to fight them.)
3. I STAY OPEN-MINDED,
INTENDING TO DEFUSE THE SITUATION WITH:
-dignity left intact for all
4A. IF POSSIBLE,
I REMOVE THE AUDIENCE & ONE COMBATANT
(Even if you are unable to do so, for legal purposes it is important to give the
verbal commands for the students to leave and/or cease and desist.)
4B. IF THEY ARE
STILL COMBATIVE, I:
-Keep drawing attention to myself, distracting them from their adversary by:
-Yelling to them to listen to me
-Using prepared odd actions or comments ("I've got a tattoo of Elvis on my butt!"
"The President needs his green socks.")
-Gradually increase limits on adversarial behavior
-They can use any words, but must keep voice volume down
-Keep voices down AND no curse words
-Low voices, no cursing, AND no insults
5. I TELL
THEM WHY ITS BETTER TO RESOLVE VERBALLY &:
-Tell them while I can't stop them from conflict later, I'd like them to give me a quick
opportunity to try to defuse things now
-Restate expectations for a positive outcome
-Remain persistent, and stay focused on a peaceful ending
6. I HELP THE YOUNGSTER(S) TO MANAGE HIS/HER/THEIR EMOTIONS:
I OPEN THE DISCUSSION, I DO NOT:
-Tell the student(s) to "Calm down."
|Why wouldn't you tell someone to "Calm down."?? Think about it. Then click here.|
LET THE YOUNGSTER "VENT" WHILE I:
-giving eye contact
-nodding in recognition of what's said (showing we're listening, not necessarily agreeing)
-using short verbal acknowledgments ("Uh-huh", "Hmm", "Whew")
-Write down or repeat what is said (if this action is OK with the youngster...it shows that
we see the importance of the situation...but could be perceived as documenting the case
-Ask the pupil to explain vague/confusing complaints
-Exhaust the youngster's list of complaints (Let him/her talk out all the issues and emotions)
-Show or repeat the list to the student. Ask if it's complete.
HELP THE STUDENT DEVISE POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS BY:
-Writing down or repeating suggestions
-Providing a dignified way out of situation:
-"I have to check the parking lot (or store room, hallway). Would you like to walk
along with me?"
-"It looks like you might not be feeling too well. May I feel your forehead? It's a little
warm. Would you like to lie down in the nurse's office?"
-"Lets go talk somewhere private. There are too many people around here."
WHEN I'M THE FOCUS OF ANGER
1. I REMAIN CALM (even if I'm shaking in my boots).
2A. I DON'T ARGUE, ACCUSE, OR
TELL TO "CALM DOWN"
(These actions just add fuel to the fire)
2B. INSTEAD, I:
-Act assertively (but not aggressively)
-I look for:
-points of agreement
-remembrances of happier times
-I ignore verbal abuse or politely (but firmly) stand up for myself with
-"I messages" (see the link on Dr. Mac's home page for more information)
-expressions of concern about words/actions
-Acknowledge the validity of the concerns
-Clarify his/her feelings (Identify the feelings you believe are involved)
-"You seem really concerned about this issue."
-" I can see that you're really upset with Fran."
-Offer to talk (now or later)
3. IF THE YOUNGSTER IS YELLING,
I SAY: "It's easier for me to listen when
people talk more softly and slowly."
4. I HELP THE YOUNGSTER
STAY OPEN to negotiation, counseling, and positive
resolution of the issue by saying something like: "I can see you feel strongly about
this. Help me to understand what happened."
5. I KEEP STATING:
-my belief in the youngster's ability to resolve the situation without violence
-my expectations for a successful outcome in which all parties leave with their dignity
and reputation intact.
IF ALL IS GOING WRONG & I FEAR ATTACK:
1. I MOVE TOWARD AN EXIT OR OPEN WINDOW
2. I TAKE A NON-OBVIOUS PROTECTIVE
-body turned sideways to protect vital organs
-hand held up near neck/face in a manner that appears to be gesturing, not a
defensive action (even though you are preparing to intercept a punch if thrown)
-feet spread apart for stability
3. I STALL FOR TIME (while
expressing my belief in the youngster's ability to resolve
the issue in a non-aggressive way)
4. I POINT OUT ADVANTAGES TO
DEFUSING THE SITUATION
IF THE YOUNGSTER IS ABOUT TO ATTACK ME!
1. I INTERRUPT HIS/HER APPARENT
PLAN OF ACTION
-"NO! STOP!" & tell why:
-"I'm bad for your reputation. People will think less of you if you beat up someone:
-with a bad back/knee/heart."
-as old as me."
-as small as me
-"You'll end up in jail, and that's not how you should be spending your teenage years."
2. OR...I DISTRACT him/her
-If s/he has "Heard this joke?" (always have one ready..."A horse walks into the guidance
counselor's office. The counselor asks: "Hey, why the long face?"Get It? Long
face!?) When the kid says "That's stupid", agree and say that arguing and threatening
is not very smart either and that you want to help him/her make a smart decision.
-About local professional/school team that s/he likes to follow
-About his/her hobbies/recreation
IF I'M ATTACKED
1. I defend myself
2. I consider pressing charges. American/Canadian (and probably other) citizens have the
right to take an assailant to court...even a student labeled as "emotionally disturbed"
AFTER A YOUNGSTER HAS BEEN VIOLENT
s/he has "cooled down") 1. I DEBRIEF HIM/HER:
-"Why were you willing to:
-"What was your purpose in that situation?"
-"How else could you have attained that goal?"
2. I ASSIST IN THE "FUNCTIONAL BEHAVIOR ASSESSMENT":
-Where and when did it happen?
-Who was present?
-What event(s) preceded the action?
-What behavioral signals did the youngster show before the outburst?
-What actions were taken to prevent the crisis & were they effective?
-What factors influenced/supported this behavior?
|Click here for the link on how to conduct a functional behavior assessment|
-Absence of effective school
-Absence of a school action plan
-Lack of staff training in:
-recognizing and defusing escalating situations
-relating with kids in a positive, non-bossy/non-wimpy manner
3. I HELP THE IEP/SCHOOL-BASED
- IDENTIFY BEHAVIORAL IDIOSYNCRASIES & PATTERNS
-DEVISE A PLAN FOR DEALING WITH THEM:
-I teach better ways via instruction in:
-We devise a plan to help the youngster
attain desired goals while avoiding conflict
-I engage him/her in role playing of the plan
-I instigate spontaneous "tests" of the youngster's ability to use the new actions
-I continue the program until the appropriate actions are "automatic"
-I involve others in supporting the youngster
-favorite teachers/para professionals/teacher aides
-school social worker
4. I WORK TO STRENGTHEN MY (and
others') BONDS WITH THE
YOUNGSTER (and all kids)
It was after the Napoleonic wars that Johann Pestolozzi suggested that the highest pedagogical skill was to be able to confront unacceptable behavior while at the same time building positive bonds with the offender.
1. For younger kids, say: "There is no hitting in our room. You have to leave." Send him/her to time out. Upon return ask: "What is our rule?" (Use words or get a teacher. No hitting)
2. If you catch kids in mid-argument, tell them to talk it out and come up with a solution. They are to tell you what the solution is.
|Click here for a description of how one teacher used the tips on this page to handle aggression in a student|
I noticed a distraught/upset student (who I knew well from last year) as s/he ran into the bathroom.
I approached the rest room doorway and entered. The two of us were the only ones in the lavatory.
S/he yelled "Stay away from me or you'll be eating tile" (I'd be thrown down to the floor). This student has a reputation for being explosive and sometimes violent, but the two of us have had a friendly and cordial relationship (with some periodic strife).
At that point I realized that a few other
students were gathering outside the doorway to watch what was happening
(the door was propped open with a wooden wedge).
what you thought about or actually did before entering the bathroom, and
what you did in this situation to defuse the emotionally charged pupil.
Web Based Resources
www.antibullying.net provides many techniques for handling and reducing bullying
www.bullying.co.uk provides a vast array of ideas and information regarding bullying
http://www.bullybeware.com/moreinfo.html Information on bullying and what can be done.
For a great number of articles on violence and it's prevention in our schools, log onto: www.ericfacility.net and type "aggression" into the search box.
United States Department of Educaton. (1998). Early warning, timely response: A guide to safe schools. Available free of charge from the U.S. Dept. of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202 or through the web site at http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/OSEP/earlywrn.html or http://cecp.air.org/guide or e-mail: David_Summers@ed.gov or telephone at 202/205-9043
United States Department of Education. (2000). Safeguarding our children: An action guide. Available free of charge from the U.S. Dept. of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202 or through the web site at http://www.ed.gov/orhttp://cecp.air.org/guideor order the guide through the web site for the Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice. Their web site link is posted on the home page of this site (www.BehaviorAdvisor.com) under the title "Other web sites".
Comedian Mike Pritchard presents funny, but informative and effective presentations to students about acceptance of others, opposing ridicule and violence, etc. Contact him or order his videos at http://www.livewiremedia.com/poc.html
For more information and links to many sites related to aggressive behavior, log onto the following sites:
Violence prevention: What every parent should know. (video) Available at www.researchpress.com
Violence prevention: What middle school teachers and students should know. (video) Available at www.researchpress.com
Molly Bang (19**). When Sophie Gets Angry - Really, Really Angry.
Allan Beane (19**). The bully free
classroom: over 100 tips and strategies for teachers K-8.
Available from Free Spirit Publishing at 1-800-735-7323.
Nancy Carlsson-Paige & Diane Levin
(1998). Before push comes to shove: Building conflict resolution
skills with children. Redleaf Press Call
1-800-370-2515 or log onto
Canter & Garrison (1999). Preventing conflict and violence in your classroom: Scared or prepared? Santa Monica, CA: Canter & Associates. Call 1-800-262-4347.
Allan Creighton (1992). Helping teens stop violence: A practical guide for counselors, educators, and parents. Hunter House, Inc. Call 1-800-370-2515 or log onto www.esrnational.org
Leona Eggert (19**). Anger management for youth: Stemming aggression and violence. (grades 9-12) From National Educational Service at 800/733-6786 or www.nesonline.com
Arnold Goldstein. Low-level aggression: First steps on the ladder to violence. Available at www.researchpress.com
Goldstein, Glick, & Gibbs. Aggression replacement training: A comprehensive intervention for aggressive youth. Available at www.researchpress.com
Arnold Goldstein, Berj Harootunian, & Jane Conoley. (1994). Student aggression: Prevention, management, and replacement training. New York: Guilford
Goldstein, Palumbo, Striepling, & Voutsinas. Break it up: A teacher's guide to managing student aggression. Available at www.researchpress.com
Goldstein, Palumbo, & Striepling. Break it up: Managing student fights. (video) Available at www.researchpress.com
Hammond & Gipson. Dealing with anger: A violence prevention program for African American youth. (video) Available at www.researchpress.com
Hammond & Gipson. PACT: Postive Adolescent Choices Training: A model for violence prevention groups with African American youth. (video) Available at www.researchpress.com
Terry Hyland & Jerry Davis. Angry kids, frustrated parents. Call 1-800-282-6657 or log onto www.boystown.org/btpress
Beverly Johns (1997). Techiques for managing a safe school. Denver: Love Publishing
Beverly Johns & Valerie Carr (1995).
for managing verbally and physically
aggressive students. Denver: Love Publishing.
Kathy Noll and Jay Carter (2000). Taking the bully by the horns(book and videos). Log onto: http://kathynoll.com
Deborah Prothrow-Stith (1987). Violence prevention curriculum for adolescents. Newton, MA: Education Development Center. Call 617-969-7100
Michael Sterba & Jerry Davis. Dangerous kids: Boys Town's approch for helping caregivers treat aggressive and violent youth.Call 1-800-282-6657 or log onto www.boystown.org/btpress
"The Child's Work, Child's Play" Company has a large number of resources for helping kids deal with bully's and aggressive kids. Call 1-800-962-1141 for a catalog
Videos for anger management and anti-bullying training for kids can be found at www.sunburstvm.com (800-4311934)
|Fetch Dr. Mac's Home Page|
Revised 11/09/04 (New links
Author: Tom McIntyre at www.BehaviorAdvisor.com