Speaker: Nancy Rappaport, M.D.

Episode 44: A Misbehaving Child is a Discouraged Child

Episode 44: A Misbehaving Child is a Discouraged Child

A recent headline read, “Demonic child on flight” that described a passenger who filmed his horrific experience while traveling with a screaming 3-year-old on a long flight from Germany to the USA. The video stirred up a Facebook controversy where many empathized with the mother while the rest blamed her for failing to control the child. Misbehavior implies the intention to misbehave. Dealing with a screaming 3-year-old on an 8-hour international flight or handling a student with challenging behaviors is a daunting task. While most would be tempted to punish the child or write off unsettled students, an adult with a positive and supporting approach can steer them onto the path for success.

Children’s experiences of challenges and failures in regulating themselves is inevitable but their ill-fitted behaviors are less likely to induce empathy. In their book, Children: The Challenge, Rudolf Dreikurs and Vicki Soltz poignantly say, “A Misbehaving child is a discouraged child”, inviting us to let go of the conventional wisdom.  On today’s podcast, Dr. Nancy Rappaport returns to discuss a framework to help implement successful behavioral plans to help redirect anxious, oppositional, or withdrawn children so that educators can re-imagine the possibilities for their struggling students.

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Episode 43: Hold Back the Slap

Episode 43: Hold Back the Slap

Recently, during a baptism ceremony, an 89-year old French priest lost his cool and slapped a 2-year old toddler in the face, who wouldn’t stop crying. The whole incident was caught on camera and went viral as one can imagine. The priest later said. “It was something between a caress and a little slap. I was trying to calm him down, I didn’t really know what to do.” Somewhere, the switch in the priest’s brain flipped where he felt compelled to react with anger towards a baby, which he certainly knew was wrong. Nothing about this story feels good but it poignantly illustrates the challenge in gifting children with nurturing care as they struggle with their own emotions.

What’s most evident in a person is their behavior and not their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, or even their true potential. Teaching children whose behaviors do not exude eagerness, commitment, or love for learning can be problematic for teachers and students alike. On today’s podcast, the associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and celebrated co-author of the book, the Behavior Code, Dr. Nancy Rappaport will discuss the challenge that, if not careful, by zooming in too much on their behaviors we could potentially sideline the child’s struggle and get distracted by the challenge they pose.

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