Key Building Blocks

This post will outline the 3 key pro-active building blocks to incorporate to minimize challenging behaviour. Whether you work in a school setting, a recreation setting or with a community organization – you’ll want to include these building blocks into practice.

The first of the three building blocks is rapport. Rapport is the capacity to relate with, listen to, and engage with others. This is not “liking” someone. That is something else. With many staff I’ve worked with, they get thrown off if they do not like a child they’re working with. My feedback is to not worry about liking all kids. Our job however is to be interested and engaged with all children.

The second building block is boundaries. What are the rules and/or expectations about how we’re going to be together as a group? Whether as a family, as a class, or for an after-school program – how are things going to work? What sorts of behaviour (for example listening) – facilitate workability? What sorts of behaviour facilitate building connections? I recommend having 3 – 5 rules.

The final building block is flexibility. As Dr. Ross Greene (www.livesinthebalance.org) puts it, why would we treat all kids equally when they do not have the same needs?  There are times when being flexible in your expectations is right. It is these times when you remember that kids are working on different things and to expect all kids to be at the same place makes no sense. So you are flexible, and maybe require that a youth do 7 lay-ups instead of 10 because they’re working on engaging in the sport that they don’t like and are demonstrating some willingness to participate. You are aware that to insist on the 10 lay-ups at this time would mean an outburst. So for her sake and yours, you are flexible in your expectation this time.

Next week, I will go into detail concerning each of the above building blocks starting with rapport.