Educating a child is a huge undertaking, and it involves many more facets than meet the eye. Consider this:
If a child doesn’t know how to read, we… TEACH.
If a child doesn’t know how to drive, we… TEACH.
If a child doesn’t know how to do a technique, we… TEACH.
If a child doesn’t know how to behave, we… punish? ignore? …teach?
Should the last one really be so challenging to answer? It’s not. When a child doesn’t know how to behave, we TEACH. Every day the child has a huge amount of life and learning to absorb, as teachers and mentors we must make that task as positive and engaging as possible. A challenge is just that, a challenge; math, behavior, language, manners, etc. Whatever the specific challenge a child faces, or whatever challenge an adult faces in working with a child, choose the positive approach. Resolve it by teaching and guiding the child to the knowledge and skills they need for success.
How? Let’s start with a fundamental principle to which we, as creators of Life Champions, adhere: If you have a positive relationship with a child, that child will give you his or her best. If that child is not meeting your expectations, it is because he or she needs to be taught the skills necessary for success. Education teaches children how to succeed, one skill at a time.
Let’s go back to our re-framing exercise in Positive Behavior Perspectives, and think about this one step at a time. The example was “a disrespectful child who constantly interrupts.” We positively re-framed to “the child hasn’t learned how to take turns in conversation,” and asked “how can I teach him or her that skill?” Well, what skill is the child missing? Do they know about eye-contact? Do they know how to listen? Do they have the necessary impulse control? Do they understand that everyone has a job (listening/understanding/speaking) during conversation? There are a lot of skills that go into a conversation! Once you’ve identified the skills a child is missing, you can really start to make amazing positive changes in the education of that child!