Advice Blog

How to Train the Chronic Tantrum Thrower

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have a (generally) well behaved 4th grade class, but I have one student who has serious anger issues. He gets angry, especially when he has to do work. I can see it coming a mile away. I always tell him that he could do the work if he just tried. This has had no effect. When he doesn’t have a tantrum and just does it, he’s actually done before a lot of other kids, which I always tell him. He’s very smart. His parents have sent him to therapy because of his anger. It has not helped at all. In fact, things have gotten worse since the therapy started. How do I get him to not throw a fit and just do the work?

Amy, Kansas City, Missouri

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How to Create a Great Consequence When Your Kid is Acting Like a Real Jerk

Dear Kid Whisperer,

In the past, my son Tyler tended to be pretty peaceful, but as the summer has begun, he has started some kind of rivalry with our neighbor, Stephen. My son is six and Stephen is five. They argue so much that I won’t let my son play with Stephen anymore. So yesterday I heard screaming and I came outside to find my son standing at the edge of my yard screaming through our fence at Stephen. He was using a couple of four letter words that he had learned from his father. I yelled at him to come inside. He ignored me.

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How to Be Calm When Everything Kids Do Drives You Crazy

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am a nagging, mean teacher. At least that is how I feel most days. I arrive every day thinking to myself “OK, I’m going to be nice today”. I say it to myself during the morning, and it’s almost comical; literally two seconds later a kid does something and I either yell or talk through my gritted teeth or I’ll use sarcasm or some other useless idea. I know none of it works, but I just have these knee-jerk reactions. I’m in the middle of my first year of teaching and I’m starting to think that I have wasted the last five years of my life. Ugh, I want to stop reacting with anger, but how?

-Eva, Pittsburgh, PA

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How to Avoid Spanking and Remain Calm

Dear Kid Whisperer,
My husband and I are wondering about your opinion on spanking. Thanks!
-Amy, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Amy,

Spanking is such a touchy subject, for reasons too obvious to mention. The only opinions on spanking that really annoy me are the ones that say spanking should be used frequently and as a primary source of discipline and the ones that say (sanctimoniously) that one should never spank a child and that those who do spank are barbarians. The latter opinion I don’t have as much of a theoretical problem with as much as I have a problem with the usual tone of the argument.

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How to Get Your Students Quiet During Silent Sustained Reading

Dear Kid Whisperer,
I’m a first grade teacher and I have a question about small group time. Every year during reading group time (while I’m sitting with my small group) I have a hard time with voice control. I must admit that we do reading group time for an hour and so 30 minutes is independent work time, 15 minutes with me and 15 minutes on the computer. So sometimes I feel like I may be asking them to work silently for too long. However, what are some tips and tricks that can help them either work silently or at least quietly during this time so I’m not nagging them about this? Thanks!

– Natalie, Meridian, Idaho

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How to Make Your Student Nametags Last All Year Long

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have a kind of silly question. Your followers who are not teachers will probably think it’s really dumb. I teach 2nd Grade and every year I take a lot of time to get nice nametags and neatly adhere the nametags to their desks with clear contact paper. Invariably, three weeks into the school year, most of the nametags have been ripped up or picked at so much that it just looks terrible. In the past, I have replaced them, but that becomes time consuming. Plus, I know I don’t want the students to think they can ruin things and that I will clean up after them. Is there anything that I can do to stop them from destroying their nametags?

-DJ, Kansas City, Missouri

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How to Get Your Students Quiet So You Can Teach

Dear Kid Whisperer,
I am a third grade teacher. I have a lot of behavior issues in my class and I am looking forward to being done with the year. I feel like the most annoying issue that I have is simply that my students won’t be quiet when I have to teach. Specifically, when they are working, and I let them talk when they’re working, getting their attention and getting their eyes on me is rarely very successful. It makes me very angry and I feel helpless to do anything about it. I’ve tried screaming and yelling, I’ve tried taking away their recess. Nothing works. I am out of options. I know this year is down the drain, but I don’t want to deal with this another year. Any ideas?  -Kayla, Eugene, Oregon

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How to Get Kids to Stop Arguing With Each Other

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I teach 4th grade and my students are mostly well-behaved. I have a group of three students who sit next to each other who are constantly arguing about every little thing. We do a lot of cooperative learning and we play a lot of games. I feel like I spend half of my day refereeing their drama. Should I move them or what? Please advise. Peggy, Las Vegas NV

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How to Deliver a Consequence with a Belligerent Child

Dear Kid Whisperer,
My husband and I came from Yellow Springs to hear you speak at one of your most recent workshops and it was a great presentation: you’re funny, animated, and make a lot of sense. I’m writing because, as I start to learn more about Love and Logic, I am still left stumped by certain situations. Something happened to our nine-year-old son today at school, and rather than talk about it, he came home full of the most hurtful invectives ever (“f@#k you” was the most frequent one), and only stopped swearing at us (mom, dad and six-year-old sister) long enough to complain:

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