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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

When Kids Get Angry at You

One unfortunate reality of teaching and parenting is that sometimes children will get angry with you.

I remember way back when one of my sons was in the classroom next door to me. I could hear him getting redirected once in a while and I would open the door a jar and give him the look that said, "Do what the teacher says!" I knew that my son could be a handful, and despite his many wonderful qualities, he often pushed the boundaries especially as a young child.

The same thing happens as a teacher. Recently I had to make a tough call on the playground. A child was not following a safe expectation and he had to be redirected. He was not happy, and frankly, neither was I. I really don't like the "redirecting" part of the job, but I know it's an important part of guiding young people both in school and at home.

It's important that we always treat students with respect, and it's important to talk to them with kindness when you have to redirect, or after the fact, in order to make expectations clear and explicit. In most cases, I try to avoid redirection by creating lessons and a learning environment that invites positive action, engagement, motivation, and care. But it's inevitable that sometimes you're going to have to make a tough call, and that's when a child, at home or at school, will not be happy with you.

Typically once the dissatisfaction has relaxed, the child is back to his/her usual activity and the relationship is back on track. No one likes it when children get angry with you, but sometimes it happens, and what's important is that we take the time to talk to the child with respect to explain why the difficult decision was made.