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Do the Opposite

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.
Amelia Earhart

Sue Watson, writing on the website,, offers nine strategies for dealing with children’s challenging behavior that educators can put into practice, or administrators can offer to staff, or college professors share with their students. Here are two of the strategies:

“Do the Opposite of What Is Expected

When a child or student misbehaves, they often anticipate the teacher's response. Teachers can do the unexpected when this happens. For instance, when teachers see children playing with matches or playing in an area that is outside of the boundaries, they expect teachers to say "Stop," or "Get back inside the boundaries now." However, teachers can try saying something like, "You kids look too smart to be playing there." This type of communication will surprise children and students and works frequently.

Find Something Positive

For students or children who regularly misbehave, it can be challenging to find something positive to say. Teachers need to work at this because the more positive attention students receive, the less apt they are to look for attention negatively. Teachers can go out of their way to find something positive to say to their chronic misbehaving students. These children often lack belief in their ability and teachers need to help them see that they are capable.”

9 Strategies to Handle Difficult Behaviors in Children,” by Sue Watson, February 25, 2019,

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