Negativity and aggression are commonly seen in early education programs, and in every day life. Early educators must realize how important they are in influencing behavior. Teaching children active calming and to understand their own range of emotions is one small step in building a healthy self-esteem. Below are empowering tips to help understand and end aggression and negativity in both adults and children.
It's all about attitude
Every child and adult has experiences as they go through life. Experiences are then stored in the lower/back part of the brain where they sit, just waiting to be released as a behavior. When adrenal glands kick in, your brain down shifts and data stored comes out. How do you control these negative experiences? It’s simple, it’s all about attitude. Maintaining a positive attitude when situations hit you keeps your brain in the executive state, preventing you from saying or doing things that are aggressive and negative. Keep this simple formula handy through out the day…
Incident + Attitude = Outcome
Maintaining a positive attitude also makes you healthier, more successful, and more likable,
There are three important rules when working with an aggressive or negative person.
Rule #1 It’s not about you! “You’re making me angry”, “Look what you’re making me do”, “You make me so sad when you misbehave” These are all common responses to negativity and aggression. When you say these things, you are giving away your power. You are letting the aggressor know that they have control over you. You must unhook yourself and not take attacks personal. The aggressor is trying to get your attention because they have a need not being met.
Rule #2 Spend time with the aggressor
Relationships are the key to success when working with negativity. Relationships are the first survival skill learned by humans. Five minutes of focused, one-on-one time with someone reduces power struggles by 50%. When spending time with the aggressor, do not talk about the issues at hand. Spend quality time building a positive relationship. Focus on the desired behavior, rather than the negative behavior. Remember, the aggressor will try to bring you down. Your positive attitude must be stronger than their negativity.
Rule #3 Empower the Victim
Anytime you have an aggressive act, always take care of the victim first, aggressor second. Most aggressors act out to get attention. They have to learn the appropriate way to get what they want. Once the victim receives first aid, empower the victim to express how they feel and that they do not like the behavior. The aggressor needs to hear from the victim, not from a person who did not feel the hurt.
Tips on Aggression and Negativity
No person can make you angry without your permission
Don’t get emotionally hijacked. You are in control. When people or situations try to make you angry, you must not allow it. Your positive mood is stronger than any person or situation.
The motivation to be positive comes from being in a relationship
People are born to be pleasers. The need for relationship is essential to development. Relationships build trust, respect and love. When people are in a positive relationship with each other, the willingness to cooperate is greater than defiance.
You are either calling for love or showing love
In every relationship, communication has a giver and a receiver. Or in other words, you are either calling or asking for love, or giving or showing love. Don’t look at behavior as disrespectful. Look at behavior as a calling. You can make a difference in every negative situation.
Every aggressive act is a call for help
Aggressors needs three things: Boundaries, nurturing and quality time. When you experience a negative act, you must first empower yourself verbally. Letting the aggressor know what they can and cannot do to you. Show empathy for their actions. Recognize that they are needing something that is missing in their life. Be there for the aggressor. Don’t lecture or preach, simple be in their presence.
There are no “bad” people
There are no “good” people. There are simply people. People who have a need that is not being met. Avoid stereotyping and labeling adults and children who are calling for love.
People can only meet the needs of other people when their own needs have been met
Sometimes we expect children and adults to automatically “know” what is right and wrong. When individuals do not have the skills needed, traditional consequences do not work. Work with aggressors on life skills needed to cooperate, love and care. People will commit aggressive acts so that others will feel what they feel. We all have unmet needs. Recognize that the aggressor also has unmet needs. Be there for that person rather than pushing them away.
All aggression stems from the perceived experience of excessive pain.
We all have our own version of reality. Our experiences create the reality we live in. Showing and understanding empathy will help you put yourself in other people’s shoes. Pain is not only physical, but also emotional. There is no “cookie cutter” approach to human development. Every individual develops different needs that may or may not have been met.
Aggressive acts are normally seen through actions. But to understand aggressive acts, one must understand the factor that creates the pain. Triggers that immediately create high emotions sits inside all of us. Even most aggressors do not know or understand their triggers.
Rather than treat people as if they are different and need a label, we should understand the love and nurturing needed by this person. They may be different than you, and their needs may be different. We should not judge someone who has unmet needs or needs that do not match your own.
Be part of the solution. Not part of the problem.
Before completing your online worksheet for 2 training hours, be prepared to answer the following questions:
Describe a time when you were emotionally hijacked. Looking back now, how could you have handled this situation, and this person differently by not letting your emotions control your behaviors.
Being accountable as a role model is important for early educators. Think about a situation or child in your classroom that I + A = O will be helpful in future situations. How will this change the situation or child in future incidents?
We have all been guilty of “labeling” or “stereotyping” a child or adult based on their behavior. After reading the information in this training, and understanding that there is a unmet need present, how will you view a particular person you have “labeled” different in the future?
Think about the children in your classroom. Give example of how some of your children call for love and how some children show love.