Blog

Understanding the Mistaken Goal of Revenge

If you feel hurt or find yourself saying, “I can’t believe he/she just did that,” this is your clue that the student's mistaken goal of the misbehavior is revenge. When people feel hurt, they hurt back (often without even realizing what they are doing). For the mistaken goal of Revenge, the student’s belief is “I don’t belong, and that hurts, so I’ll get even by hurting others.” The coded message that provides clues for encouragement is “I’m hurting. Validate my feelings.”

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Avoiding Power Struggles in the Classroom

One of the most difficult classroom management challenges is avoiding power struggles. Remember, it takes two to engage in a power struggle. The Mistaken Goal Chart shows us that your feelings are the best clue to students’ mistaken goal. If you feel challenged or find yourself thinking something like “he/she is not going to win this”, we encourage you to stop, take a deep breath, and consider the student’s coded message.

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Understanding the Mistaken Goal of Undue Attention

Everyone wants attention. It’s part of human nature. Adler and Dreikurs long ago pointed out the fundamental human need to feel belonging and connection. The problem arises in classrooms when students seek attention in negative ways because of their mistaken beliefs about how to gain a sense of belonging.

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Become a Mistaken Goal Detective

Solving the mystery of "why" your students "misbehave" can be fun and beneficial. Once you break the code, you will have more information on how to encourage behavior change.

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Validate Feelings Teacher Tool

As a classroom teacher and school counselor I found that listening and validating feelings helped me learn all kinds of really helpful information that proved crucial in supporting students. Students open up and share when they know you care. By listening and validating feelings I learned what my students were thinking and feeling, and this helped me understand better how to help.

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VALIDATE FEELINGS - A Positive Discipline Tool Card

Billy is sad because his friend doesn’t want to play with him. Susan is angry because she doesn’t want to pick up her toys. Tammie hates her baby brother and wants to hit him. Billy’s Mom tries to comfort him by saying, “Don’t feel sad, Billy. You have other friends, and I love you.” Susan’s Dad tries to squelch Susan’s anger by getting angry at her, “Don’t act like such a spoiled brat. Do you expect me to do everything? Can’t you be more responsible?” Tammie’s mother tries to deny Tammie’s feelings, “No you don’t hate your baby brother. You love him.”

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Take Time for Training

Many people are having fun applying the principles from the Positive Discipline Tool Cards. When they share their great examples, I ask for their permission to share with others. Following you will find some helpful and encouraging examples from Katie Clark.

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A Simple Strategy for Smoother Mornings and Evenings

Now that school has started, parents everywhere often struggle with making the big transition from long, relaxing summer days to hectic, rushed school days.

Many of the parents I work with say that either getting out the door in the morning or putting the kids to bed at night is their most stressful time. Whether it’s due to dawdling or outward defiance, it’s no wonder parents feel at a loss for what to do!

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Involve Students in Creating Class Guidelines

Imagine you are a student on the first day of school, and the teacher presents some pre-established rules for classroom behavior. Does this excite you, or do you listen with boredom?

Now imagine you are a student on the first day of school, and the teacher says, "I need the help of everyone to create guidelines for behavior in our classroom that are respectful and encouraging for everyone. Let's brainstorm for ideas?"

What are you thinking and feeling now?

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