How to Deal With a Kid Who Hits Other Students

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I teach in a PK-K Montessori room. What do you do for children who are hitting/hurting others or saying and doing unkind things on a consistent basis? Parents are involved in this, we’ve had meetings, the student has been assessed, etc… but it just keeps happening to the point that other parents complain about their child, worrying about this student picking on them or hurting them. We go through the steps of helping the student who is hurting to use their words and say, “Don’t hit me,” or “That makes me feel bad,” and then the child who’s hitting will have a chance to say something like, “Are you okay?” and “What can I do to help you feel better/fix your heart?” and so on. This child has gotten really good at these exchanges, but the behavior still gets worse. So now we’ve started suspending him, which has also made the behavior worse. -Lee Ann, Eugene, Oregon

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How to Use an Effective Alternative to Time-Out

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I use Time-Out with my kids: when they do something bad, I put them in their room. When I have a chance, I go and tell them what they did wrong so that they know and then I tell them to knock it off. Then they can come back. Basically, it used to work, and now it doesn’t. I have my 11-year-old in her room practically all the time now. No idea what to change or do differently. -Austin, Lexington, Kentucky

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How to Deal With an Abusive Adult

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I have heard you speak and you mentioned that the skills that you teach work on adults too. This question involves a child but mostly is needed for an adult. My boyfriend and I have a six-year old girl and we all live together. Very often he is verbally abusive, to me and my daughter. Especially lately, he has really started to belittle, berate, humiliate and threaten us for no reason. Let me be clear that my daughter is in no way a behavior problem. He picks fights with both of us and intimidates us. How do I set limits with him so I can protect my daughter? -Tayla, Dayton, Ohio

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How to Know if Your Strategies are Working

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I follow you online and I went to your conference last summer, and it has changed my life. I have been able to be calm and much more strict with my seven-year-old. I am skeptical about something, though. Whenever I tell my son to feel free to be with the family as long as he can be pleasant, and then he isn’t pleasant and has to go to his room, and I tell him he can come back when he can be pleasant (just like you taught me), he will sometimes have a screaming, hysterical fit in his room. It happens less than it used to, but what am I doing wrong when he does this? -Karen, Centerville

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How to Have a Calm Response

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I just gave birth six months ago and I have a three-year-old. Since the new baby came, my three-year-old has become very aggressive and reacts with anger towards me and others. I have already been given the advice to make time for just spending time with my three-year old. That has been somewhat effective. I am dealing with a bit of post-partum depression and sometimes have a hard time not reacting with anger myself. How do I teach my three-year old to not react with aggression, especially since I am having trouble with it myself? -Alexandra, Cincinnati, Ohio

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How to Survive the End of the School Year

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I teach fourth grade. I have three weeks of school left. I am going to lose my mind. I would estimate that I spend at least half of my time with kids correcting them, lecturing them, or telling them what to do. I’m not getting much teaching done. My students are going to end the year behind where they are supposed to be since I can’t really teach effectively. That ship has sailed. I just need to know something simple that I can do so that I CAN SURVIVE THE NEXT THREE WEEKS! -Jenna, Los Angeles, California

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How to Deal With Students Who Don’t Seem to Care About Their Grades

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am struggling with high school students who don’t care about their grades. I have never had so many students who get “F”s on their tests and then laugh about it. They flat-out tell me that they don’t care. I tell my students about how they won’t get into college if they don’t learn the material, and how they won’t be able to get a job without a college degree, etc. What do I do if my students refuse to do any studying at home because they don’t care? -Eunice, Middletown, New Jersey

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