How To Help Middle School Children With Behavior Issues
Children often have a good reason for behaving the way they do. Children’s brains are geared toward children’s issues. Adult brains are geared toward adult issues. Sometimes, adults just don’t understand children and children have a hard time understanding adults.
Behavior issues with 7-year-old children are different than teenage behavior issues. And these are different and distinct from preschool for behavior issues.
During childhood, the brain relies very significantly on the ability to move in a reasonably functional and age appropriate manner. Coordinating movement, any movement, sets up the brain for learning. Behavior issues can result when a child’s drive to master their environment through their own actions competes with the child’s actual ability to coordinate themselves to successfully navigate a tabletop game, such as Chutes and Ladders, a recess game such as tether ball, and a young child’s ability to coordinate safe movements in the home despite perils of drawers closing on fingers, stairs causing climbing problems, and hard surfaces to collide into.
Middle school students are becoming self-aware and socially aware of others around them. They are reaching a developmental milestone that allows their brain to consider themselves in light of the action of those around them. Younger students have not integrated this style of learning. At the same time, they are also developing teenage behavior issues that include overuse of the flight or fight response. Middle school children and teenage students both tend to have less patience for themselves and others.
Compassionate and assertive communication needs to be taught to this vital population. Middle school children with behavior issues and teenagers with behavior issues need to practice an assertiveness statement. Teach your child the following assertiveness statement: “When you… I feel… I would prefer…” For example, “When you grab my book. I feel hurried and mad. I would prefer that you tell me ‘it’s time to leave’.”