11.07.2019 in Education

Dealing with Problematic Children Essay

Handling problematic children to help mould their behavior into reputable persons in the society can be quite challenging. At various developmental stages, children are bound to become more rebellious. Parents have the task of ensuring that children grow to keep up with societal norms but due to the limited hours that they spend with their children, this task is more often shifted to the teachers and the educational system that these kids are subjected to (Brint, 1994). As children gain more freedom, peer pressure and influence is depicted in them and this affects their general behavior. The American Educational System has come up with some concepts to help regulate and curb problematic children. The concepts that are reflected in the American Educational System in handling children with problematic behaviors has conspicuous differences when compared with the concepts applied in the Puerto Rican Educational system. This paper seeks to analyze these differences with while putting special emphasis on children with problematic behaviors.

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The American educational system suggests application of praise in handling problematic children. According to Cohen (2007), praise is a valuable shaper considering the fact that children will always want to please their adults. Both teachers and parents can use this concept in helping mould these children. Praising them by acknowledging what good they have done helps motivate them to keep on doing the good things and to be more obedient for them to continue being praised (Cohen, 2007). Such praises can include “good girl you’ve done a wonderful job!” According to Cohen, this concept involves three simple things: trapping the act, acknowledging the act and letting the child know that you have real acknowledged it. He continues to assert that if a teacher keeps praising every other move that the parent child makes, the child gets addicted to praises and ends up wondering why the teacher is so desperate to praise him and he feels god to himself. This way he avoids making mistakes because wants the praises to be part of his lifestyle. Praises are bound to work well in problematic children if a teacher or parent has a specific goal he wants to achieve.

The Puerto Rican education system advocates for praises too but it insists on genuine praises (The General Nature of the New Education: Purto Rico, 1999). It asserts that if praise is bound to lose its punch when it acknowledges some behavior that is negative and unusual. Acknowledgement that is dispassionate praise shapes the child into doing something praise himself rather than doing something for approval. According to research when the child is praised for wrong reasons, the child is bound to see through this and start questioning himself the reasons as to this (The General Nature of the New Education: Purto Rico, 1999). The Puerto Rico education system recommends use of compliments to praise problematic children.

Complements help the child realize how important he is to the society and to what extent the society recognizes his positive attributes this influences him to change his behavior in order to attract more attention (Brint, 1994). This helps change the psychology of children with little self-worth who tend to think that they are good for nothing. It helps them gain more self motivation and encourages them to be bold enough to change their behavior and acknowledge mistakes. The educational system in Puerto encourages teachers to acknowledge problematic children by showing them that they are doing exactly what is expected of them whenever they do well or indicate some crucial change in behavior.

The American educational system also reflects on selective ignoring where by teachers do not have to punish children for small childish mistakes which cannot culminate into a big problem when left unattended to (Reuben, 2008). Such responsibilities include mistakes that are bound to correct themselves as the child matures. This educational system implies the fact that ignoring such mistakes helps the child respect the limits of a teacher’s job description and he corrects the mistakes by himself at times. Ignoring such little undesirable mistakes works best if the teacher already acknowledges the good ones. The Puerto Rican advocates for an education system in which engages coercive discipline regardless of the whether the mistake is small or big. According to this educational system, the child is disciplined to help him mature from his childish behaviors (The General Nature of the New Education: Purto Rico, 1999).


The American education system implies the fact that teachers should help problematic children learn the choices of their consequences. This is reflected in the syllabus which spells out that teachers should have interactive session with students to help counsel them These counseling programs encompasses the student being helped out of the problematic behavior by clearly stipulating what sought of risks that behavior is bound to land him into (Reuben, 2008). Counseling programs also help change the child‘s perception about particular ideas such as it is not good to do some things and the advantages that can accompany good behavior. This educational system also recommend referring problematic children into rehabilitation schools where these children are further counseled and Live under the guidance of counseling professionals until their behaviors improve (Bogue, 2000). In these centers, children are also given some minor punishments to signify that their behavior is against societal norms. Children taken to rehabilitations are shown some significant improvement in their characters within a short time because most children don’t like being alienated from the society. They therefore prefer following instructions in order to regain their freedom.

The Puerto Raco educational system encourages application of logical consequences to correct behavior (Brint, 1994). This involves parent teacher-made consequences that are mainly tailored to have a lasting experience on the child. While doing this, teachers should balance both positive and negative consequences. Such tailored consequences cause some psychological punishment to the kid that is harsher compared to the real canning of the child. Such a child would not like to go through the same experience again (Robinson, 2001).

Both the American Educational system and the Puerto Rican educational system stipulate use of rewards to encourage positive behavior in problematic children (Robinson, 2001). Research indicates that both children and adults ascribe to the pleasure principle, this implies the fact that behavior that goes unrewarded is stops while that which is rewarded continues (Mark, 2008). The systems assert that prizes are a way of enticing children into toward achieving the goals that teachers have made for them. The ultimate goal of such prizes is to achieve self-discipline in a child. A child is bound to exhibit some sort of behavior because she wants to or because she knows that teachers expect that sort of behavior. The systems also try to limit the fact that a child should not accept prizes every time she behaves well but prizes are for exceptional instances where the child meets a specific goal as assigned to him by his parents or teachers. These systems also encourage parents to use the rewarding concept at while at home to help motivate their kid. They point out that a child well taken care of from home is bound to maintain that good behavior even outside his homestead. The systems recommend that children be awarded using the things they fancy and like most. This encourages them to maintain behavior so that they can be recognized and rewarded again (Robinson, 2001).

According to Reuben (2008)granting privileges and setting limits are basic tools to discourage children away from bad behavior. He asserts that the best rewards are those that that come because of natural behavior. For instance, a child has not been willing to complete his homework, and he suddenly decides to make a U-turn and promises the teacher that he will never fail to finish his assignments. When he lives to his word, rewarding him encourages him to keep up with the good behavior. The American Educational system encourages construction of reward charts in schools (Robinson, 2001). These reward charts are meant to enable problematic children monitor their progress and as they work towards getting those rewards. The chart will be conspicuous as a testimony of the child’s improvement and good behavior for everyone to see. In most learning institutions, charts work well because they are more interactive and fun. They make the child forget he fact that he is being coerced to do something and start perceiving some tasks as responsibilities which should be accurately done. The system provides some guidelines as to construction of these charts. This include making involving these children in constructing them, making them very simple but fun for the kids to follow, making them more interactive, displaying them in places where they are easily visible and including both negative and positive entries (Robinson, 2001).

The Puerto Rican education system encourages application of reminders to help problematic children keep up with good behavior (The General Nature of the New Education: Purto Rico, 1999). According to Brint (1994),reminders act as hazy cues that help jog the memory of a busy child. Reminders are less likely to be met by refusal because the child already knows that he had a responsibility to do something. Written reminders more often work in rebellious children who don’t like to feel coerced or controlled. Once they see them and read them they immediately remember what they feel when being coerced to do something. This makes them do what they are supposed to do. As they continue obeying these written reminders, obedience becomes part of their daily routine (Reuben, 2008).

Negotiating with problematic children is another concept that is encouraged in the American educational system that is not present in the Puerto Rican educational system (Reuben, 2008). In negotiating, the child is given an opportunity to set for himself the type of punishment which he should get if repeats doing some sort of mistake. The American educational system represents negotiation as a win-win situation that benefits both the teacher and the student. In this concept, the teacher respects the child’s views. When the child keeps in mind that he set the punishment himself, he works so hard to proof the teacher wrong and show him that he can live up to his principles  (Bogue, 2000).

The Puerto Rican educational system encourages withdrawal of some privileges from the child’s daily routine (The General Nature of the New Education: Purto Rico, 1999). Kids will always want some help from their teachers and the society in which they live. Withdrawing some privileges such as going for a whole week without meat will help children realize their mistake and rectify them immediately in order to keep getting these privileges. Schools in Puerto Rican have developed pre-agreed behavior management strategy that students are well aware of and whenever they go against these terms, they know that some consequences are definitely going to be withdrawn. For instance with the increase school dropout in Purto Rican in 2009, the educational ministries encouraged withdrawal of some privileges from students which were to be effected by parents (Bogue, 2000). This included limiting them in terms of having fun, socializing with others and even on what they heat. In 2011, the country has reported an increased enrollment in schools. Well-tailored negative comments that act indirectly as a warning to the child’s behavior are also depicted in the American education system. Comments such as “you are repeating it again?” will warn the child in advance and hold him back from depicting some negative behavior. It also helps remind them when they are just about to do a mistake (Bogue, 2000).

As observed above, both systems have some element of dealing with problematic children. If well implemented, these concepts are can act to effectively help problematic children improve. Parents and teachers have a critical role to play in enhancing change in these children. Parents should not leave their roles to teachers; they ought to understand that they are pivotal to the child’s behavior development.

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