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Tips on how to stay calm with a child when they are hitting the self destruct button

(16 Posts)
cluelessinstyle Sat 12-Oct-19 16:50:59

I work in a school as a TA, year 4. I love my job.

This year in my class we have 5 very vulnerable children, all of whom need high emotional support. No problems there. But one, who is suicidal is being very hard at the moment. He is constantly being hard work all day, there is literally nothing we cann praise him for. Hitting, stealing, snatching, breaking things, pointing/laughing, lying. You name it. So how do I keep my cool with him and give him the support he needs? He is very good at winding up the other vulnerable children so they end up in tears with it all. I just want to be able to support him, but don't know how. Help

OP’s posts: |
IamHyouweegobshite Sat 12-Oct-19 20:33:09

I feel your pain, I'm in Y5 and in a very similar position. Remember, as cheesy as it sounds, all behaviour is communication. Does your school have any therapies, play or art, is he interested in sport at all? Can you deflect situations? Choose your battles, some need to be dealt with, some can be like water off a ducks back. The suicidal aspect is a big worry, what help is in place for the child? Have cahms or early help got involved?

cluelessinstyle Sat 12-Oct-19 21:57:59

It only came to light about the suicidal thoughts last week, so school is brilliantly supporting the whole family at the moment. It's just so hard. Some of my other children are currently at risk of being taken from their families, so really don't need.more hassle at school from other children. And then there's just the rest of the class.to help as well. Picking battles is wise words, but when he is physically and emotionally hurting others you can't ignore it. Sadly he won't accept cuddles either (I work in an area of high depravity and cuddles are deemed ok to give as they don't get them at home)

OP’s posts: |
rbdigital Sun 13-Oct-19 07:40:42

Cuddles were free last time I checked and cuddling a child isn’t appropriate.

parrotonmyshoulder Sun 13-Oct-19 08:27:56

‘cuddling a child isn’t appropriate.‘

What does this mean?

Are you trained in physical support techniques in your school?

TrafalgarSquare Sun 13-Oct-19 08:34:12

High depravity???
If a child doesn't get cuddles at home they may well feel uncomfortable at being given them at school. I know I would have done.

slipperywhensparticus Sun 13-Oct-19 08:39:15

My son does this when he is stressed at home the only thing that soothes him is deep tissue pressure there are some hand pressing techniques I'm being taught by occupational therapy next week? Can you ask someone like that or Google?

CuckooCuckooClock Sun 13-Oct-19 08:39:54

I think op meant deprivation not depravity (i hope)

MargotLovedTom1 Sun 13-Oct-19 08:42:33

I think OP means high deprivation. High depravity would be something quite different! Do you get support from your class teacher, and SMT?

MargotLovedTom1 Sun 13-Oct-19 08:43:32

SLT rather.

rbdigital Sun 13-Oct-19 08:45:19

Cuddling isn’t appropriate.

I am not saying a teacher or TA must never hug a child but this is year 4, not nursery, and cuddle as a verb suggests to me a very intimate action which isn’t appropriate for school.

Deprived areas with high levels of poverty doesn’t = parents don’t love their children.

slipperywhensparticus Sun 13-Oct-19 08:58:44

The school my children attend get hugged and cuddled if needed up to year six if needed age isnt a factor

doxxed Sun 13-Oct-19 09:00:08

How about doing that hug, wave, handshake, high five thing as they all come in? Would he help by handing out worksheets or something like that? Day 1 get an easygoing child to do it so he has good behaviour to mirror, literally any easy small task possible, just so you can say well done or thank him. It sounds like his self esteem is rock bottom.

MamasAndPapas Sun 13-Oct-19 09:35:39

I feel your pain. It is so hard emotional and exhausting too.

rbdigital Sun 13-Oct-19 10:19:34

There is a difference between a hug, although it is recommended this is given to the side of a child not face to face, and a cuddle, which is prolonged and intimate. Cuddle is holding someone close for a period of time.

I’m not shifting any ulterior motives onto the OP there and maybe it’s just a linguistic thing. But I think cuddling children in a professional setting is unwise and safeguarding agrees with me.

Littlebluebird123 Mon 14-Oct-19 22:31:47

There are a few things you can try. But overall there should be some sort of agreed plan of action - have you discussed with the teacher?

When he is verbally or physically abusive he should be removed. The children shouldn't have to put up with that. But that needs to be part of an agreed plan.

Reward chart - split the day into manageable sections and if he behaves appropriately he gets a sticker. The reward I use for mine is that each section is worth 2 minutes and they add up so that at the end of the day he has a period of time doing an activity of his choice ie drawing, playing a game with a friend, laptop etc. (This is done during the time I'm reading to the whole class.)

Ignoring the rudeness can work, and then jumping to respond when he's appropriate. (Although sometimes ignoring leads to a fast escalation of behaviour, so, depends smile .)

Giving small step instructions and praising compliance. IE the teacher says to get ready for maths, you ask him to get out a pencil - brilliant, now your ruler - great etc etc. Means you're able to 'catch' the good.

In terms of calming down techniques - sensory circuits are good. Some are active (jumping jacks, hopping etc) and some are about pressure (hands tightly pressed together, firm self hug etc), so it depends on what is helpful for him.

Distraction can minimise the escalation to extreme behaviours. Can you spot any triggers?
Sometimes taking them for a walk to the office, handing out books or collecting sheets or whatever can be used to distract.

I have one who is on an isolation table as he can be so violent towards the others but if he has been calm and able to work independently he is allowed to participate in group work. (As long as he maintains the correct attitude.) It gives him an added incentive to participate appropriately in other lessons as he does want the interaction with other children.

I'm not sure if you've been clumsy with your words about 'cuddling' but I would consider it inappropriate. The general rule I use is to be led by the child. So if the child requests a hug or starts the hug then ok. And you do need to be careful with how it is given, ie side hug is more appropriate.

Everyone is different and so although to you giving a hug is a sign of comfort, I personally would hate it and it would make me more uncomfortable, so if he doesn't want this you need to leave it.

I hope you're able to find some things which work. smile

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