Attitude is Important
Children can be a blast to hang out with. But anyone who spends a decent amount of time around little ones also knows that they can be a force to be reckoned with. Whenever I would babysit and experience a chaotic situation, I would run to my mom and vent to her, still a child myself. And she would just listen and say, "Pick and choose your battles." Even though this bit of advice has come back to haunt me ever since, I have discovered an adherence to it to be quite beneficial.
Even though it can be difficult to work with challenging children, I feel as though those type of children have been specifically placed on my heart. These are the type of children that seem to expel everything they have on the inside of them, the good and the bad. They don't hold anything back and I love them for that.
However, in the same way, this attribute of intensity can also cause much frustration. The majority of tension between teachers and students stems from a lack of understanding. The teacher has in mind what he or she wants all of the children to do. There always seems to be one or two children who do not want to participate in the well-planned project and therefore, attempt to disturb the entire classroom. I once heard someone at an early childhood conference wisely say, "If children are acting up, they are not out to get you. They are trying to tell you something." I've discovered this to be true on many occasions. It may feel as though the challenging child is deliberately trying to turn the day around for the worse. However, there are usually underlying reasons for why a child acts the way that he or she does. They are not looking for a fight but rather they are hungering to be heard.
Each Child is Unique
Just as it is with adults, you may never discover what type of stress the child is under at home. While it isn't right to assume that every challenging child has a challenging home life, it also isn't right to assume that everything is perfect at home either. Sometimes giving these children some space is all that they really need. But every child is different. I have worked with other children that only desired to have attention. When they saw that my full attention was on them, they became eager to share what was on their mind, and also much more willing to behave. Therefore, it's important to really know the children of your classroom. Each child was created uniquely and should be treated as such. Because most children tend to be vocal about how they feel, you can tell a child's "love language" by how they react to your own way of expressing love. We tend to give the love that we would like to recieve. For instance, I love when people tell me out loud that I am doing a good job. Therefore, I vocalize a lot of how I feel towards others through my words. Others might appreciate a hug far more than a kind word. It's amazing how the atmosphere of the room can change when you focus on loving children in the way that best serves them.