Abused children and acting out in the classroom

There is an issue at my school with a student around 8 years of age cursing in Chinese and hitting other students. The child is verbally and physically abused at home. We can’t continue like this.

I have read about abused children and saw that there were a few good ideas out there, including creating a “calm down” area in the classroom, having feeling cards the child can place on the desk to show how he or she is feeling and thus express him or herself less disruptively, being very predictable in class routines…has anyone here tried these, and does anyone have any suggestions for dealing with this poor little guy? Thanks! :rainbow:

I don’t believe there are any quick fixes.

You have to develop trust and understanding with the student, including the student understanding that you expect a certain amount of behavior and will get it. Nothing wrong with using a firm hand (figuratively, not literally), just be sure and use a gentle one afterwards and reassure the student that you disapprove of the behavior, not the student.

This is not an easy task, and it will take calm and measured steps in terms of discipline coupled with compassion and care. That, and probably a good deal of time.

I haven’t had much experience with this, but kudos to you for wanting to help him instead of looking for ways to have him thrown out of your classroom. Best of luck to you. Keep us posted.

It’s great you want to help the kid. Unfortunately, it will just be like banging your head against a brick wall. I was once in a similar situation. When I told the prinicpal the boy was exhibiting anti-social behaviour her response was, “Are you a doctor?”

I tried to bring it to the attention of the parents through rather vague statements in the communication book, hoping they would read between the lines. One day the CT told me the parents had read what I had written, were aware of the problem, and wanted me to be harder on the boy. :loco:

I sincerely hope you have better luck getting someone to take it seriously.

I had a student who would actually punch other kids in the face during class … and the Chinese teacher’s attempts to reign him in were completely ignored. At one point we wrote to his parents, and he came to school the next day with a huge purple bruise on the side of his face. Obviously that just made it worse.

By giving him very clearly defined boundaries, treating him with respect as an equal, and giving lots of positive reinforcement, he was eventually pretty well behaved in class, and the genuinely nice, bright side of him came out. As soon as he stepped out of the classroom though, it was straight back to bullying and abusing the other kids.

I think there’s a limit to how much effect we can have against the combined might of parents, school administration, and society here. The best we can do is let the kid know that he is welcome in the classroom, but his behaviour isn’t.