Title

“Stop That!” Crisis Management Skills for Educators Working With Troubled Children and Youth

First Presenter's Institution

SBP Consulting

Second Presenter's Institution

NA

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Ballroom E

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Mental & Physical Health

Relevance

This workshop ties into both the “HEART” and “HEALTH” themes. Staff who understand their own issues are able to stay calm when provoked and resist destructive power struggles, thus modeling critical social-emotional skills such as self-control, empathy, and communication. In addition, these staff build stronger, more effective relationships with challenging children and youth, allowing them to enhance the mental health of these children and youth.

Brief Program Description

At-risk children and youth frequently (and expertly) engage adults in fruitless power struggles when emotionally threatened. Inexperienced or unprepared staff may find themselves overreacting personally instead of responding professionally to such situations. This intriguing workshop for all staff explores the dynamics of conflict, identifying five common adult anger traps and offering specific strategies for staying professional during crisis.

Summary

Challenging youth behave in challenging ways, and sometimes, helping adults make problems worse. During critical moments, staff may react personally rather than professionally, acting out of indignation, stubbornness, anger or fear. One school study from NYC suggested that 40% of crises which led to suspension, expulsion, or physical intervention were actually escalated by staff.

How does this occur? To avoid embarrassment, shame, or frustration, many troubled children and youth find ways to engage helping adults in destructive power struggles. Well-prepared staff may be able to defuse these traps, but inexperienced or overwhelmed adults are often lured in to fruitless conflicts, desperate to re-establish control or make a meaningless point. In the end, embarrassed and frustrated youth leave us embarrassed and frustrated as well, sometimes lashing out at or giving up on the children we serve.

In this practical and interactive workshop, participants first brainstorm a number of challenging youth behaviors, describing their emotional reaction to each. We then explore the dynamics of Nicholas Long’s “Conflict Cycle,” a cognitive-behavioral model which illustrates how troubled children, when triggered by a stressful incident, act out in ways that draw adults into predictable conflicts. Next, we discuss five common anger traps into which any adult may fall, before closing with specific strategies for remaining calm and professional in crisis.

These concepts are skillfully presented in a practical, easy-to-understand manner, reinforced with entertaining video clips, humorous personal examples, and opportunities to apply skills and insights to one’s own experiences. Participants receive a useful handout, and electronic access to a valuable article summarizing the content, both of which they may freely share with colleagues.

Evidence

This workshop offers information and insights grounded in research by Drs. Nicholas Long (Conflict Cycle) and Larry Brendtro (Circle of Courage). The practical application of such theory is based on the presenter’s 25+ years of classroom instruction, research, training, and university teaching. In addition, schools and agencies using the author’s crisis intervention program (on which this workshop is based) have consistently reported a reduction in unusual incidents in the first year following implementation.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Steve Parese began his career as a wilderness counselor and special educator, working special needs youth in a variety of therapeutic, community, and correctional settings. Since leaving his teaching position at George Washington University in 1998, Steve has become a well known international speaker and author. He specializes in crisis intervention and crisis counseling for agencies serving at-risk youth, as well as workforce development for organizations serving challenging adults.

Keyword Descriptors

Adult anger, power struggles, self-defeating behavior, relationship-building, predictable crisis.

Presentation Year

2017

Start Date

3-7-2017 10:15 AM

End Date

3-7-2017 11:30 AM

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Mar 7th, 10:15 AM Mar 7th, 11:30 AM

“Stop That!” Crisis Management Skills for Educators Working With Troubled Children and Youth

Ballroom E

At-risk children and youth frequently (and expertly) engage adults in fruitless power struggles when emotionally threatened. Inexperienced or unprepared staff may find themselves overreacting personally instead of responding professionally to such situations. This intriguing workshop for all staff explores the dynamics of conflict, identifying five common adult anger traps and offering specific strategies for staying professional during crisis.