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Not All People Are Meant to Work With Kids Who Have Behaviors

Sometimes I forget just how specialized the field of behavior is. I like to tell myself that if we can just spread awareness, we can equip every adult in the world interact with behavioral children in healthier ways. While it’s true that we can help them do better, we can’t make every adult into a super efficient behavioral modification machine.

Some people just aren’t wired in the necessary way to work in this field. And that’s okay.

I know a woman who works in a school that’s specifically designed for behavioral teens, and she was recently cursed at by one of her students. Anyone who works in behavior for longer than five minutes knows that cursing is the most common behavior from kids in these programs. It’s the quickest assault with the fewest repercussions.

This woman, however, took the “attack” super personally and couldn’t get through the rest of the work day. To anyone who understands this world and kids from trauma, that seems a little surprising. Why go into this field if you can’t handle being cursed at by angry kids?

The problem is that many people don’t realize they’re not right for this field until they’re in the thick of it.

If your feelings get hurt easily, you might not be right for behavioral work.
If you are easily manipulated or taken advantage of, you might not be right for behavioral work.
If you need affirmation from people you’re helping, you might not be right for behavioral work.
If you need to see immediate results in your work to feel successful, you might not be right for behavioral work.
If you’re not able to keep a neutral voice tone when you’re upset, you might not be right for behavioral work.
If you get hung up on what people deserve rather than what they need, you might not be right for behavioral work.
If you have a hard time understanding opposing perspectives, you might not be right for behavioral work.
If you aren’t exceptionally patient, you might not be right for behavioral work.
If you aren’t good at reading other people’s emotions, you might not be right for behavioral work.
If you don’t care about other people’s emotions, you might not be right for behavioral work..
If you think spanking is the only way to get a child to behave appropriately, you might not be right for behavioral work.
If you’re a high maintenance person, you might not be right for behavioral work.
If you don’t know how to take care of yourself emotionally, you might not be right for behavioral work.
If your self worth comes from what people think of you, you might not be right for behavioral work.
If you don’t have a calming presence, you might not be right for behavioral work.
If you can’t see the good in every person you’ve ever met, you might not be right for behavioral work.

After spending a lot of time in this crazy world of behavior modification, those are the most significant problems I’ve seen in workers. I’ve even been guilty of some of these things myself, in spite of how much I love my work, but it was crucial for me to overcome them in order to keep going.

I’ve also learned that there are many different facets of behavior work and that not every person is able to work in every area. For example, I’m incredible at behavior modification with elementary-aged children, but I’m REALLY, REALLY bad at working with teenagers. There’s a shift in mentality that I just can’t comprehend, no matter how much I read about it.

Adolescents also require a different type of approach than what I naturally offer so I try to let others work with them while I stay with the younger kids. There’s no shame in knowing where your niche is (or isn’t).

More than anything, I’ve learned that the less healthy I am, the less able I am to help others heal. People who work in this field have to be able to stand on their own two feet, feeling confident in the work they do, even if every child they work with tells them how much they suck.

Not All People Are Meant to Work With Kids Who Have Behaviors


W. R. Cummings


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APA Reference
Cummings, W. (2019). Not All People Are Meant to Work With Kids Who Have Behaviors. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 12, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/childhood-behavioral/2019/10/not-all-people-are-meant-to-work-with-kids-who-have-behaviors/

 

Last updated: 23 Oct 2019
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