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Grunt

Activity Days - Out of Control

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As I've mentioned earlier, my wife and I have been activity day leaders since January.  I've tried everything to keep these classes under control.  I have kids from ages 7-11 in the class and 99% of them are awesome.  There are several that are just out of control. I mean absolutely nuts.  They scream for no reason, run around the classroom, don't listen to me or their parents, and generally just disrupt the class.  The other kids are noticeably not happy with the situation.  I've tried distraction.  I've tried reasoning.  I've tried being stern.  I think they just can't help it, for whatever reason.   I'm assuming we're going to be called into the new program as well, so I'm looking for ideas.  

Duct tape is the only thing that comes to mind.  

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The only thing I've seen work, is to love them.  Deeply and honestly and transparently and genuinely.   

We had one of these wild children living in our home for about a year once.  Broken home, another home breaking around her, other issues.  Wild child did all that stuff you mention - didn't fit in, ran around, yelling and screaming.  We did our absolute level best to love her whenever we could.  Mom had her head screwed on straight, and also did much good.   Fast forward 10 years, and girl is attending the UofU, seems happy as a clam, takes the worlds cutest college chick selfie.  But dang - I never had a 7 yr old try her hardest to pinch flesh off of me or beat me bloody.  Poor girl.

When it comes to dealing with someone else's child, I think it's appropriate to work out clear enforceable boundaries with bishop and parents.  "This child is welcome here unless she x/y/z.   If she won't stop x/y/z, then she must leave the activity."   

Draw the x/y/z lines carefully.  Like "hurt other children" or "yell over people trying to talk" or "breaking things".  Find ways for wild child to be appropriately wild, and encourage and compliment that form of wildness.

And love em.  "control" as a focus will drive you insane, and you'll end up using that duct tape, things will get worse, someone will call the cops, etc.  

Edited by NeuroTypical

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32 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

So this isn’t Sunday lessons; it’s the midweek meetings? 

And, what are their parents doing there?

The parents aren't there.  Those are just my observations from outside the meeting.

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11 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

The only thing I've seen work, is to love them.  Deeply and honestly and transparently and genuinely.   

We had one of these wild children living in our home for about a year once.  Broken home, another home breaking around her, other issues.  Wild child did all that stuff you mention - didn't fit in, ran around, yelling and screaming.  We did our absolute level best to love her whenever we could.  Mom had her head screwed on straight, and also did much good.   Fast forward 10 years, and girl is attending the UofU, seems happy as a clam, takes the worlds cutest college chick selfie.  But dang - I never had a 7 yr old try her hardest to pinch flesh off of me or beat me bloody.  Poor girl.

When it comes to dealing with someone else's child, I think it's appropriate to work out clear enforceable boundaries with bishop and parents.  "This child is welcome here unless she x/y/z.   If she won't stop x/y/z, then she must leave the activity."   

Draw the x/y/z lines carefully.  Like "hurt other children" or "yell over people trying to talk" or "breaking things".  Find ways for wild child to be appropriately wild, and encourage and compliment that form of wildness.

And love em.  "control" as a focus will drive you insane, and you'll end up using that duct tape, things will get worse, someone will call the cops, etc.  

Thanks.  I think my largest concern is it affects the other children.  I can handle it.  I'm not a "lose your mind" type of person.  It just really bothers me to see the other kids wanting to listen, wanting to participate, but they can't.

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That is a hard situation.  In addition to continuing in patience (which sounds like you're doing), try to get to know the kids, what they like to do, play, read, watch...  Try to build some type of relationship with them. 

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39 minutes ago, Grunt said:

Thanks.  I think my largest concern is it affects the other children.  I can handle it.  I'm not a "lose your mind" type of person.  It just really bothers me to see the other kids wanting to listen, wanting to participate, but they can't.

I have one in Cubs...

I don't know if this will work for Activity Days, but I've actually changed Den Meeting lessons to account for the one Cub that is off the rails.  So, we have a class on pocket knives.  There's NO WAY I can trust the one Cub anywhere close to a pocket knife.  So, I changed the Den Meeting to carving soap using plastic knives with the option of using a pocket knife if you have your parent in the room.

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On 11/15/2019 at 8:37 AM, Grunt said:

Duct tape is the only thing that comes to mind.  

While duct tape is not a bad idea it may do irreparable harm to he Psyche of the kid.

If you have kids that are that out of control you need to start kicking them out. It is not fair to the other kids who want to learn and participate.  You need to have a frank (difficult) discussion with the parents about the behavior of their kid. You will probably get push back on this because some parents like to stick their heads in the sand. Bottom line if they won't behave in a normal manner they are not welcome. 

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You/your wife:

~ Make sure you're planning activities with variety in mind (out of their seats part of the time; games, etc)

~ Have wiggle activities before starting (ie hokey pokey, dance routine things on youtube, etc)

~ If you have treats, only have them at the end and for those who acted appropriately

~ Work with their different natures and needs as best you can (ie some are social, some need connection, some need physical outlets, some need intellectual stimulation)

The kids:

~ If there's a ring leader, take them aside and get them to be part of your team. If they have a 'special assignment' it might do the trick to turn things around.

~ You might need to have a chat with all of them. Reminding them that:

      - they wouldn't get away with this behavior at school so why doesn't church/the Lord's house get the same (or better) respect

      - these activities are a privilege, not a right

      - they are wanted here but if they can't behave/disrupt things for the others/choose not to participate, they will be given chores (ie scrub the crayon marks off tables and chairs - have a stack in the room and some cleaner and towels so they know you're serious)

The leaders/parents:

~ Need to be aware of what's going on

~ May need to take turns attending

~ Need to be told to make sure their kids are climbing trees/running around *outside* for at least 30 minutes every day, especially before activities

~ Need to be told to limit sugar and screen time

~ Need to be reminded that you/your wife are volunteers!

Hope some of this helps and that things improve soon.

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