Thursday, 31 March 2011

Aggression

Owen has been finding it hard to cope with the more chaotic homeschool groups. He can be quite aggressive which results in the other children (understandably) staying away from him. I was discussing this with one of my friends who is not an unschooler but seems to have a respectful attitude to children. She managed to summarise the strategies that we both use to support our kids. I wanted to record her strategy on my blog:

  1. Clear, consistent message that being angry is OK, but hitting out, breaking something or hurting himself is not, and will never help him or us solve his immediate problem.


  2. Keep reminding him to try and recognise the feelings of when he's about to lose it so that he can remove himself from a situation before it's too late or tell an adult/uninvolved friend what's happening and how he's feeling


  3. Keep reminding him that, if he does lose it, he should try to remember to leave the situation immediately, even if it feels weird to do so. He might then go and find a cushion or something else to hit with all this strength if he can't cool down.


  4. Try to follow instinct when we feel that we're seeing early signs of him losing it, and distract or remove him in as low-impact a way as possible.


  5. Be willing to back down if we've got to an impasse with him - but try to remember to pick up the theme of the disagreement later on, when we've cooled down and are enjoying being with each other again.


  6. Try to remember that we're going to get it wrong sometimes, and end up making a situation worse rather than better, but it's not a disaster when we do.


  7. Know that I will lose my temper sometimes (and sometimes often), and that's not a disaster either.


  8. Love-bombing. At the worst times, we find this the only way that any of us can get through. We keep showing him that we love him even when he's in a fury and might seem to deserve discipline.


  9. Discipline is through consequences rather than punishment, laid down as far in advance as possible, manageable by him and set in a positive rather than negative framework.

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