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Working with Aggressive Children

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Take time to put children to bed with calming routines. Story time. Back rubbing ... Avoid blocking exits or areas of travel. Appear relaxed and calm. Slouch ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Working with Aggressive Children


1
Working with Aggressive Children
  • Lilly Landikusic LMFT, Founder and Director,
    EMPOWERMENT COUNSELING SERVICES
  • Talon Greeff MMHC, Director of Residential Care,
    UTAH YOUTH VILLAGE

This training and additional resources can be
found at www.utahparenting.org
2
Overview
  • Introduction
  • Stories
  • Dynamics of aggression
  • Youth issues
  • Pre-blowup
  • Home environment
  • Setup youth for success
  • Avoiding power struggles
  • During the blow-up
  • Steps for calming
  • Things you should do
  • Post-blowup
  • Writing assignments
  • Other Behavioral Techniques
  • Conclusion

3
Introduction
  • Cody, 8 year-old boy, attacked sister and mother
  • Charlie, 15 year-old girl, verbally abusing
    parents and siblings, threats, constantly pushing
    limits using anger
  • State mental hospital teen who was severely
    developmentally delayed

940
4
Dynamics of Aggression
  • Research demonstrates that adjudicated youth feel
    they have little or no control over their lives
  • Often feel they cannot make any decisions
  • Many youth have been moved on a whim
  • They are frustrated and angry at the system
  • They blame their parents, case managers, foster
    parents, school teachers, judges and anyone else
    they believe is responsible for their unhappiness
  • Research also shows that they feel there are two
    ways they can take control of their lives
    passive resistance or physical aggression

5
Other Dynamics of Aggression
  • They may have seen aggression modeled by their
    family members and mimic it
  • They may have experimented with aggression as a
    behavior and continue to use it
  • They may have a physiological problem and it may
    be more difficult for them to manage emotions
  • Progress in this area requires a longer
    viewimmediate consequences often do not provide
    immediate change

945
6
Youth Issues
  • Poor communicators, tend to be less verbal
  • Lower than average intellectual functioning
  • Have anger issues
  • Difficulty with change
  • Difficulty with relationships or attachment

We can help any youth with aggression even those
who are severely lower functioning
7
Pre-Blowup
  • Home setup
  • Systems to share power
  • Use family meetings to setup rules and give
    feedback
  • Use a manager system for youth leadership in the
    home
  • Weekly family activities
  • They are not earned, everyone gets to participate
    equally
  • Purpose is to build relationships by having fun
    together
  • Weekly one on one time with an adult
  • Have fun, demonstrate a sense of humor

8
Pre-Blowup
  • Home setup
  • Adequate sleep for youth or child
  • Reasonable, enforced bedtimes
  • Medication as necessary
  • Take time to put children to bed with calming
    routines
  • Story time
  • Back rubbing
  • Melatonin has been used with success
  • Home routines and rhythm
  • Develop an accepted schedule
  • Relaxed, home rhythm, allow small disturbances

950
9
Pre-Blowup
  • Setup youth or child for success
  • Assess medication
  • Observe child or youth
  • Determine baseline and record on calendar
  • Document youth behavior on kitchen calendar
  • Give clear, short instructions when a child is
    frustrated or upset
  • Put your irreplaceable things away or in storage,
    help you stay calm

10
Pre-Blowup
  • Be clear in how you will handle aggressive
    behavior
  • Have a clear plan worked out with your spouse and
    case worker
  • Be able to describe it to the youth or child
  • Clear rewards and consequences for taking a
    time-out or for refusing to take a time-out
  • Suggestion Shorten time-out if taken immediately
  • Suggestion Assign a chore for refusing to take a
    time-out
  • Suggestion Take away privileges for refusing to
    complete a chore

11
Pre-Blowup
  • Practice necessary skills or behaviors daily
  • Practice negative consequences, like time-out
  • The youth should quickly do the time-out
  • Practice controlling emotions
  • Deep breathing
  • Counting
  • Thinking about consequences
  • Steps to practicing skills with youth
  • Avoid power struggles by giving choices
  • Prepares child and parent for aggressive
    situations

955
12
Steps for Practicing with Youth
  • Describe the behavior you are teaching
  • Give a reason using an if/then statement
  • Demonstrate the behavior for the child
  • Have the child engage in the behavior and
    practice three times
  • Reward

13
Avoiding Power Struggles
  • Based in giving and explaining choices
  • For example, if a youth says you cant make them
    clean their room. Your response would be, I
    understand its not fun to clean your room and
    you have a choice. You can choose not to clean
    your room keeping you from watching TV or you can
    clean your room and watch TV sooner. Its up to
    you
  • Let the youth know they have the choice and
    emphasize its up to them. We cannot literally
    force anyone to do anything. We wouldnt want to
    do that because then learning doesnt take place.

1000
14
Steps to Avoiding Power Struggles
  • Youth says, I wont…You cant make me… No..,
  • Empathy statement, I would be more fun to watch
    TV
  • Explain that youth has a choice, You have a
    choice.
  • Explain the negative choice and its consequence,
    You can choose to not do your chore now and lose
    TV

15
Steps to Avoiding Power Struggles
  • Explain the positive choice and its consequence,
    Or you can get right on the chore and watch TV
    when you are done.
  • If necessary, give youth time and return to see
    what the choice is, You need to get started in
    the next five minutes.
  • If the youth makes the positive choice then
    praise and reward. If not, then impose a
    negative consequence such as turning off the TV.

1005
16
Things to Remember
  • Do not walk on eggshells or let child/youth train
    you to accommodate their behavior
  • You will do the work, either now or later
  • Have low tolerances with small consequences, if
    you consequate interrupting, name calling and
    yelling then you will deal with less physical
    aggression
  • Negotiating is ok, as long as it is not bribe or
    blackmail
  • Bribe is a reward which comes before the behavior

17
During the Blowup
  • Stay about 10 feet away from the youth
  • De-escalation begins with delivery of a
    consequence
  • Youth may tantrum to avoid a consequence
  • Deliver one consequence, additional chores or
    lose privileges for a day
  • Dont pile consequences on or think that
    delivering a consequence will result in
    compliance
  • Steps for calming down youth

1010
18
Steps for Calming the Youth
  • Express empathy or praise
  • Describe behavior you need them to stop
  • Yelling
  • Swearing
  • Stomping around
  • Describe what you want them to do
  • Short instructions
  • Pleasant voice
  • Dont expect compliance but praise approximations
  • Repeat first three steps until youth calm down
  • Allow time for them to calm down

19
During the Blowup
  • Only discuss the childs behavior, not the issue
    or situation that began the blow-up
  • Ignore any baiting
  • Youre nicer to the other kids
  • You are so unfair
  • You dont know what its like nowadays
  • Monitor your own behavior
  • Remove any audience
  • Explain how youth can resolve the situation

1015
20
During the Blow-up
  • Know when to restrain
  • Hurting self or others
  • Severe property damage
  • Know how to restrain
  • Dont restrain if you cannot, will make situation
    worse
  • Add charges to youth
  • Plan for support
  • It is your job to manage your youth in your home
  • Lean on resources for necessary help

21
During the Blow-up
  • Know when to call the police
  • Teenager assaults parent
  • You need to put the knife down in 5 seconds or I
    will have to call the police
  • Youth needs to learn that familial violence is
    unacceptable
  • Inhibits parents ability to deliver and enforce
    consequences
  • Severe property damage
  • Take youth property as consequence, youth cannot
    be allowed to damage home to get property back
  • Damage the youth cannot fix, repair or make
    restitution
  • Severe potential harm or damage
  • Stealing a car
  • Taking a weapon

1020
22
Things you Should Do
  • Track youth who are aggressive
  • Avoid blocking exits or areas of travel
  • Appear relaxed and calm
  • Slouch
  • Lean against a wall
  • Break eye contact
  • Remain about 10 feet awayno closer!
  • Rememberyou are in charge and in control
  • It is a matter of time
  • You dont need to convince them you are in charge

23
Post Blow-up
  • Wait a significant time, usually several hours or
    until the next day, and have the youth practice
    what they should do instead of blowing up
  • It should be a neutral time that is convenient
    for you and the youth
  • Keep the practice short and resist lecturing
  • The youth should practice three times
  • Have a reward for practicing that is used
    quickly. Reduce the consequence, candy bar, extra
    time out of bed

1025
24
Post-blowup
  • Apply consequence that is reasonable, not
    punishing
  • Suggestion youth lose privileges for half a day,
    lose privileges for a full day
  • Do a combination of consequences like a major
    chore, several role-plays and written assignments
  • Teach with the consequenceteach a skill that
    will help the youth avoid blowing up in the future

25
Writing Assignments and Other Techniques
  • Have youth fill out worksheet on SODAS
  • Complete Aggression Log or calming down worksheet
  • Practice emotional regulation techniques
  • Counting to ten
  • Thinking about consequences
  • Thinking about what you want
  • Thinking about something pleasant
  • Thought-stopping/Taking a minute
  • Time self out
  • Put pleasant things in your room
  • Sing positive song to yourself
  • Develop a positive saying to repeat to yourself

1030
26
SODAS
  • SITUATION One sentence describing the situation
  • OPTIONS List at least three options available
  • DISADVANTAGES List at least three disadvantages
    for each option
  • ADVANTAGES List at least three advantages for
    each option
  • SOLUTION Pick one of the options

27
Calming Down Worktable
28
Other Behavioral Techniques
  • Differential reinforcement of incompatible
    behavior
  • Focus on teaching skills that make it impossible
    to do the negative behavior
  • You cannot yell if you are speaking in a normal
    voice
  • Differential reinforcement of other behavior
  • Focus on teaching and rewarding skills rather
    than providing a negative consequence for a
    behavior
  • Rewarding a youth for being sensitive to others
    needs makes it less likely you will need to
    provide a negative consequence for hitting

1035
29
Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible
Behavior
  • It is easy to get frustrated with problem
    behavior and apply a negative consequence
  • Focus instead on reinforcing positive behavior
  • It is a simple concept praise and reward
    behavior that is the opposite of the behavior you
    dont want to see
  • The trick is to reward the good behavior that
    prevents them from doing the bad behavior
  • You cannot yell if you are using a normal voice,
    so praise a normal voice
  • You cannot be hitting if you are touching softly,
    so praise touching softly
  • Singing instead of yelling
  • Complimenting others instead of complaining
  • Praise and reward a strength that makes it
    impossible for the youth or child to do the
    problem behavior

30
Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior
  • Identify the problem behavior
  • Identify the skill or behavior that the youth
    have or you would like them to have
  • You can use shaping and chaining to build on a
    strength
  • Reinforce the behavior or skill you want to have
    rather than the problem behavior
  • Breathing deeply
  • Complimenting
  • Any of the emotional self-regulation techniques

1040
31
Conclusion
  • Working with aggressive youth and children can be
    frustrating
  • Have a long-term view and track the progress so
    you can see it
  • Modeling patience, polite asking and sensitivity
    to others helps youth learn more quickly
  • Everyone can learn and change

This training and additional resources can be
found at www.utahparenting.org
32
Contact Information
  • Presenters
  • Talon Greeff MMHC, Director of Residential Care,
    UTAH YOUTH VILLAGE
  • (801) 272-9980
  • Lilly Landikusic LMFT, Founder and Director,
    EMPOWERMENT COUNSELING SERVICES
  • (801) 604-1134
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