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mikbone

Misbehaving Children

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“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”  -  Socrates

 

Well, not really Socrates, but still...

https://www.google.com/amp/s/quoteinvestigator.com/2010/05/01/misbehave/amp/

You get what I’m saying.  And really it’s not just children.  It is adults too.

So last week I worked probably 80+ hours.  And after a full day of surgery I go to the other hospital in town to see another consult.  A guy that needs a below knee amputation due to personal neglect, diabetes, obesity, etc...

Anyways, I get to the room and he is sleeping with his head at the foot of the bed.  I can barely arouse him and after eventually shaking him awake his first words are, “And where have you been all day?”

I almost lost my freakin mind.  I don’t let my children disrespect me or my wife so I have a problem letting some punk off the street do it.

 

Then this week the Sunday School President asked if we would mind leaving our 14-15 class to take on the 16-17 year old class because there are 3 problem children that the current teacher can’t handle...

 

I don’t mind taking on the disciplinary kids but the current group actually listen and want to learn.

 

Edited by mikbone

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17 hours ago, mikbone said:

Well, not really Socrates, but still...

I tend to think it was Cleveland Amory.

He was famed for declaring that the best solution to the problem of bad children was to not have them.  And he did not.

Edited by Mores

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18 hours ago, mikbone said:

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”  -  Socrates

 

Well, not really Socrates, but still...

https://www.google.com/amp/s/quoteinvestigator.com/2010/05/01/misbehave/amp/

You get what I’m saying.  And really it’s not just children.  It is adults too.

So last week I worked probably 80+ hours.  And after a full day of surgery I go to the other hospital in town to see another consult.  A guy that needs a below knee amputation due to personal neglect, diabetes, obesity, etc...

Anyways, I get to the room and he is sleeping with his head at the foot of the bed.  I can barely arouse him and after eventually shaking him awake his first words are, “And where have you been all day?”

I almost lost my freakin mind.  I don’t let my children disrespect me or my wife so I have a problem letting some punk off the street do it.

 

Then this week the Sunday School President asked if we would mind leaving our 14-15 class to take on the 16-17 year old class because there are 3 problem children that the current teacher can’t handle...

 

I don’t mind taking on the disciplinary kids but the current group actually listen and want to learn.

 

Okay - I will make a confession.  In my youth it thought it my responsibility to convince my teachers to resign.  Not so long ago talking to my brother (a genius with a photographic memory) he thought the same himself - likely I got it from him.  This carried over into college.  Especially when the professor had written his own text that was required for the class and costs more than other text books covering the curriculum.  I spend far too much time finding any mistakes and bring up the mistakes in class with the intent of embarrassing the professor.  

Some years ago, my wife and I were asked to take over a primary class that had gone through 3 teachers in 4 months.  In about 3 seconds in the class I knew exactly what the problem was.  It was a kid just like me.  Although we are no longer in the same ward we are in the same stake.  We enjoy catching up at every stake conference.  The last time I talked to my young friend he told me of his mission call.

Sometimes (not always) kids that cause problems just want to be heard and recognized - sometimes for valid reasons and they have worthwhile things to be considered.  Sometimes (as a disciple of Christ) we need to listen to our students (subordinates and lessor Saints) and not always have an agenda to teach.  My wife is the best at listening - I am still learning and fully emphasize with milkbone.   I believe this is idea to listen and apply is the main message of Moroni chapter 10.

 

The Traveler

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4 hours ago, Traveler said:

Okay - I will make a confession.  In my youth it thought it my responsibility to convince my teachers to resign.  Not so long ago talking to my brother (a genius with a photographic memory) he thought the same himself - likely I got it from him.  This carried over into college.  Especially when the professor had written his own text that was required for the class and costs more than other text books covering the curriculum.  I spend far too much time finding any mistakes and bring up the mistakes in class with the intent of embarrassing the professor.  

Some years ago, my wife and I were asked to take over a primary class that had gone through 3 teachers in 4 months.  In about 3 seconds in the class I knew exactly what the problem was.  It was a kid just like me.  Although we are no longer in the same ward we are in the same stake.  We enjoy catching up at every stake conference.  The last time I talked to my young friend he told me of his mission call.

Sometimes (not always) kids that cause problems just want to be heard and recognized - sometimes for valid reasons and they have worthwhile things to be considered.  Sometimes (as a disciple of Christ) we need to listen to our students (subordinates and lessor Saints) and not always have an agenda to teach.  My wife is the best at listening - I am still learning and fully emphasize with milkbone.   I believe this is idea to listen and apply is the main message of Moroni chapter 10.

 

The Traveler

I’m a twin.  And we were hellions to our primary teachers.  But if either of our parents ever heard word that we had disrespected any adult, there would be severe repercussions. 

And I totally agree with you.  I love to teach and I don’t believe in problem kids (but I have seen way too many problem parents).  

I have had 3 ward callings in the past 6-7 months.  

1)  Gospel Doctrine - which was great, taught a whole 2 lessons.

2)  Sunday School councilor - dream calling, but I skipped out on one bishopric meeting - in order to take the family to see President Nelson at a neighboring stake (I notified the ward clerk first...)

3)  This new calling with the 14-15 year olds.  Both the wife and I were set apart for the calling with beautiful blessings.  And we have taught them 3 times.  Great kids, all engaged, participate and thankful for the class.  And surprisingly none of our own kids are in the class... 

So last Sunday, right after Sacrament meeting, the SS President approaches the wife and I in a hushed tone and presents us with the situation.  There are 3 ‘sharks’ in the 16-17 year old class and the current teacher can't handle them - the SS Pres has to sit in on the class often, and he agrees that they are problem kids (one of our children are in the class but he is respectful).  Anyway they have ‘tried everything and nothing works’ and the parents of the sharks won’t help - of course these parents have prominent callings in the ward...

I related that because I am commonly absent (summer trauma season with call keeps me from Sunday services 2x a month), I didn’t feel comfortable abandoning my wife to the sharks, or abandoning the 14-15 year olds who we have already connected with.

 

A minuscule part of me almost felt bad for the interaction.  Missbone thanked me after we returned home.

 

What ever happened to Manhood training?

Edited by mikbone

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Children do misbehave because they do not receive rewards when they are good. Try giving the children some rewards for them to realize that being a good child will lead to rewards. :)

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40 minutes ago, Franz123 said:

Children do misbehave because they do not receive rewards when they are good. Try giving the children some rewards for them to realize that being a good child will lead to rewards. :)

Yeah, I’m pretty familiar with classical conditioning.

 

Its the misbehaving parents that causes the irritation and puzzlement.

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5 hours ago, mikbone said:

So last Sunday, right after Sacrament meeting, the SS President approaches the wife and I in a hushed tone and presents us with the situation.  There are 3 ‘sharks’ in the 16-17 year old class and the current teacher can't handle them - the SS Pres has to sit in on the class often, and he agrees that they are problem kids (one of our children are in the class but he is respectful).  Anyway they have ‘tried everything and nothing works’ and the parents of the sharks won’t help - of course these parents have prominent callings in the ward...

I related that because I am commonly absent (summer trauma season with call keeps me from Sunday services 2x a month), I didn’t feel comfortable abandoning my wife to the sharks, or abandoning the 14-15 year olds who we have already connected with.

A minuscule part of me almost felt bad for the interaction.  Missbone thanked me after we returned home.

What ever happened to Manhood training?

What ever happened to parents cleaning up their children's mess? What kind of parent hears about his child's misbehavior and says, "Not my problem"? What is wrong with these people?

Maybe it's a California thing. That's probably it.

Edited by Vort

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9 hours ago, mikbone said:

Yeah, I’m pretty familiar with classical conditioning.

 

Its the misbehaving parents that causes the irritation and puzzlement.

I was the roving substitute teacher for awhile. We had a mixed gender class of teenagers that no one wanted to teach so teachers would not show up or would try to get out of the calling. One of the teenagers, young lady, had a very obvious disability. Possibly in reaction to this disability, her parents let her be as nasty as she wanted to be. She liked being nasty. I was asked to teach her Sunday School class when I arrived at sacrament. No warning as to the issues with the class.

As students entered the class, she would make spiteful remarks. I realized later that she insulted the poor and the less popular. I asked her to leave the class. The class was shocked but we went on with the lesson fine. I talked to the Sunday School president about the cruel young woman. He was keen to help until I told him the name of the young woman. As soon as he heard who was the problem, he backed away from me in horror, saying ‘Oh No!”. Her parents are both pillars of the church. I called both parents individually. They were both angry with me. I just said that the young woman had been rude to other students. The mother was very very angry with me. The father listed the operations that his daughter had recently had. I made no comment. The young woman left a strangled apology on my voice mail. She then spent the rest of my tenure with my class hiding in the bathroom. She shortly afterwards went inactive.

The parents now speak to me again but they avoided me for awhile.

I think that the church has a duty of care to class participants. We should offer a psychologically safe place within reasonable boundaries. Thus, we preach in such a way as to sooth the weary but to motivate the comfortable. This approach is reasonable in a religious setting. Everyone and particularly the youth, should find church classes to be a place where they are valued as children of God despite how the world sees them. To obtain a safe place, I will remove those who are disruptive. I will immediately eject those who are cruel. This is my approach but I am the only teacher who ever ejected this young woman from class or made any type of objection to her behaviour. Yes I asked around and there were quite a few exteachers to talk to!

I may be the reason for the loss of this young woman. 

I had a younger brother who died at 17. He had many very difficult health problems. He was a monster at home but my mother would never allow him to act-out outside the home for the practical reason that we needed the good will of the various authority figures. It was very clear that my brother’s behaviour was drastically different between home and elsewhere. 

I guess that sometimes, especially in front of a class and particularly if you have no assistance that you have to choose between the many or the one. I teach as part of my work related duties and I make clear that some behaviours are unacceptable and will result in ejection from class. I do this on day one of class. 

So if your wife has the benefit of your presence, for a lesson or two, you could try something like this:

Try to find out what specific behaviours are the problem.  Calling out insults in class? 

You and wife, could have a class in which class members begin by working individually to make a list of unacceptable behaviours ( to avoid Group Think.  This is part of the Nominal Group Method). I would start this class by discussing the nature of Jesus. I would steer the conversation to the times that Jesus was kind to those who were socially unacceptable eg woman with issue of blood. Think about that in a hot climate! I would stress that at church we are kind to everyone as was Jesus and stress the value of each child of God. I would begin the class by saying the every voice is respected and all are expected to show respect for each other. This approach should help set the tone. 

So back to Nominal Group Method, you then lead a class discussion as to acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Each individual makes their own list. The lists are then shared with the class. While the class is working individually you wander round and help individuals and, to ensure that the baviors that you object to, are listed by some indiduals as their own points. Make a joint class list, discuss why each behavior should be banned or controlled. Do that consensus building thing where you all agree how aweful each behavior is. Shocking! Discuss what happens for transgression and rewards for compliance.

Reward: Spirit will help you in your life. How did you feel last time you felt th Spirit? How has the Spirit help you in the past? 

So students suggest rules. You write them down. If disruptive behavior is the problem, try to be very specific about the behaviours. Talking over someone in class? Making fart sounds with armpit? What exactly is the behaviour.

if anyone disrupts the class during this proceduere. Walk up to them and make that statement. ‘You are disrupting the class. Please leave.’ Be polite but firm. Don’t apologize. Text their parents, bishop, Sunday school Pres. In text, state behavior if possible. If you don’t know the behavior, just say disruptive. Don’t apologize.

A useful  penalty in my view is that the student must leave the class, go find their parent and attend classes with the parent for a week or so until the student apologizes to you and agrees to change their behavior. I would not shame the student before their peers because we all need to save face. We want the disruptive student to return and rejoin the class so don’t set a high bar, like apologizing to the class, as the price of readmission.

I suggest getting the cellphone number for all parents and I mean- both - parents, as well as the bishop and the Sunday school president so that you can text if you are ejecting a student. If you think that the parents don’t care, text them anyway and cc bishop and Sunday school president. I you don’t hear back from parents call them.

After the class has set the rules, email rules to parents. List penalties that you as a class have set.

So in short, can your wife teach on her own? Yes, because disruptive students are ejected. I would let the Sunday school Pres know what you are planning, but I would make clear that if you take on this new responsibility that new procedures will exist. Stand your ground.

I would approach the new challenge with optimism and big smiles, fully expecting that new procedures will be associated with changes in behavior. I would ‘frankly forgive’ repeatedly. I would also cheerfully accept that some parents will dislike my methods. Who knows, you may be one of the few sensible adults that young person has the benefit of interacting with all week! Show them that sensible people take charge and make changes when changes are needed. 

Goid luck!

Edited by Sunday21

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29 minutes ago, Sunday21 said:

 Goid luck!

Thanks, currently we are staying in the 14-15 year old class.  

I’m pretty tired of leaving good kids to tackle the problem children.  And hearing things like, “All of your children are so well behaved - you are so lucky”  

Really?

I excel at discipline, Sharks don’t bother killer whales.

And I’m kinda irritated with the SS President even extending the calling.  I’m a straight shooter and questioned where the inspiration arouse from.  He stated that the Bishopric had discussed the problem...  I just appreciate callings coming thru the normal process.  I also mentioned that there should be 2 adults assigned to each class...

If the bishopric did extend us a new calling we would accept.  This just hasn’t happened yet.

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My kid is one of those "difficult" students.  His brain just flies 1000mph and he is not shy so the teacher would be trying to teach Noah's Ark and my son, even at 7 years old, would be, "ALL the animals?  Was the platypus there?  Do you know that the platypus is the only egg-laying mammal..." and then there's his best friend in class whose brain also flies 1000mph "Nuh uh uh!  The platypus is not the ONLY egg-laying mammal"... and an argument ensues on egg-laying mammals.  So the teacher brings the class back to topic and not even one minute later... "The WHOLE earth?...." "There's no HOLE in the earth..." "What do you call the San Andreas fault then?..." 

And there's the problem of him not being able to sit still for more than 5 minutes.

Anyway, we can't split the class because we only have like... 12 kids in the entire Primary.

So my husband sat in Primary for years.  My kid and his friend eventually learned to discipline their brains and their bodies by the time they became Deacons.  They were the most reverent Deacons passing sacrament.  

Some kids just need that extra "Strict Authority" to encourage them to discipline themselves.  But it would have been better if they learned to do that in Primary and not Youth Classes!

Edited by anatess2

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No success in life can compensate for failure in the home.  No matter how much a pillar or "successful" the parents are... if at that age the kids are "Sharks" as described.. then parents are in failure mode and need a serious wake up call.  If I was teaching that class I would tell the kids simply that their behavior is not acceptable and if it continues they would be removed from the class.  Then I would follow through.  And if I needed to remove them I would.

After such removal (or maybe even before) I would undoubtedly have some discussions with the Sunday School president, parents, and maybe even bishop.  My side would go something like this. "I am called to teach... not to discipline.  Discipline is the parents job.  When the child can sit without disrupting the class (or whatever the behavioral issue is) they are welcome to return."  I mean it is a really low bar for someone of that age.  And I would be willing to work with the Parents but I would not be taking over their responsibilities.

 

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3 minutes ago, estradling75 said:

No success in life can compensate for failure in the home.  No matter how much a pillar or "successful" the parents are... if at that age the kids are "Sharks" as described.. then parents are in failure mode and need a serious wake up call.  If I was teaching that class I would tell the kids simply that their behavior is not acceptable and if it continues they would be removed from the class.  Then I would follow through.  And if I needed to remove them I would.

After such removal (or maybe even before) I would undoubtedly have some discussions with the Sunday School president, parents, and maybe even bishop.  My side would go something like this. "I am called to teach... not to discipline.  Discipline is the parents job.  When the child can sit without disrupting the class (or whatever the behavioral issue is) they are welcome to return."  I mean it is a really low bar for someone of that age.  And I would be willing to work with the Parents but I would not be taking over their responsibilities.

 

I would talk to the Youth Presidencies and tell them to assign the "Shark's" parents to teach that class.

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16 hours ago, mikbone said:

I’m a twin.  And we were hellions to our primary teachers.  But if either of our parents ever heard word that we had disrespected any adult, there would be severe repercussions. 

And I totally agree with you.  I love to teach and I don’t believe in problem kids (but I have seen way too many problem parents).  

I have had 3 ward callings in the past 6-7 months.  

1)  Gospel Doctrine - which was great, taught a whole 2 lessons.

2)  Sunday School councilor - dream calling, but I skipped out on one bishopric meeting - in order to take the family to see President Nelson at a neighboring stake (I notified the ward clerk first...)

3)  This new calling with the 14-15 year olds.  Both the wife and I were set apart for the calling with beautiful blessings.  And we have taught them 3 times.  Great kids, all engaged, participate and thankful for the class.  And surprisingly none of our own kids are in the class... 

So last Sunday, right after Sacrament meeting, the SS President approaches the wife and I in a hushed tone and presents us with the situation.  There are 3 ‘sharks’ in the 16-17 year old class and the current teacher can't handle them - the SS Pres has to sit in on the class often, and he agrees that they are problem kids (one of our children are in the class but he is respectful).  Anyway they have ‘tried everything and nothing works’ and the parents of the sharks won’t help - of course these parents have prominent callings in the ward...

I related that because I am commonly absent (summer trauma season with call keeps me from Sunday services 2x a month), I didn’t feel comfortable abandoning my wife to the sharks, or abandoning the 14-15 year olds who we have already connected with.

 

A minuscule part of me almost felt bad for the interaction.  Missbone thanked me after we returned home.

 

What ever happened to Manhood training?

All things considered - I like you and your attitude in this post.  When I served as Scoutmaster I often got  phone calls from parents.  Whenever a parent called I would stop them and say something like the following.   "If you are calling to tell me that your kid is a horrible influence on other kids and needs to be kicked out of scouts I will listen and perhaps we can work something out.  If you want to tell me some kid, other than yours needs help and understanding and really is not a bad kid - I will listen and perhaps we can work something out.  But if you want some other kid ought to be punished or your kid given extra considerations - you might just as well hang up now before I hang up on you.  Because I do not want to hear it."

One fine brother became somewhat unhappy and vowed to have me released.  I recommended that when he talked to the bishop that he tell the bishop he would happily take my place - but then I suggested that he may want to come on a couple of campouts first.  BTW he did take me up and come on a campout - he became a regular.

In case anyone else is reading (I am sure milkbone gets it) but kids (and often adults) love recognication.  In addition I have never met anyone that responds badly to incentives.  Water will not flow down hill without the incentive of gravity and will never go uphill on it own but must be forced.    In scouts the boys that showed up in full uniform, their shirts tucked in and looking sharp were rewarded (some parents thought it bribery) - sloopy (disrespectful) kids always got cleanup duties (most undesirable assignments) - last to eat and the first to be woken in the mornings (hopefully readers get the idea).   One thing I learned from the army - when someone responds poorly to discipline the entire group is punished.  It is amazing what peer pressure does.  My most famous quote and one my scouts still use themselves revolves around when things seem to go wrong"

Quote

There is no such thing as bad weather or bad luck - only bad equipment, bad preparation and bad attitude.

 

A little story - I was with my scouts at a premier scout camp in Yellowstone wilderness.  It was towards the end of a day and our camp was running like clockwork.  The tents were in perfect rows, bags rolled up and everything was neet; wood piles neatly stacked and so on - we had finished dinner and dishes were being completed (bear boxes set up and raised into the trees) and the boys were starting to organize some games with the adult leaders - I called my troop and patrol leaders and suggested we walk around some of the other camps and see what we could learn.  We walked through three other camps - one had not even started their dinner, one the leaders were yelling (cursing) at their boys and in the third there had been a food fight, one of the scouts was crying and there were no leaders in sight.  All of the camps were sloppy and all the tents were a mess.  I asked my boys, what they thought - What they said was interesting - they said these other kids were not having any fun.  It took 3 years to get so organized - but none of my boys would leave scouts to go on to explorers and varsity.  

Not all my boys became eagles and not all served missions - but to this day (over 30 years later) they all remember scouts as one of their best memories growing up.  Just last week one of my boys (that did not go on a mission and is still single and not real active - goes to church very occasionally) dropped by for a quick visit.

 

The Traveler

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