Did you know that most of the behavior strategies you use with kids also work with adults? Behavior is behavior – and whether a person is five or fifty-five, I believe we all do the best we are able given the skills at our disposal. So whichever side of Spring Break you are on, remember…
- Use fewer words when working with individuals who are upset. In times of high stress words often fuel the fire and trigger strong reactions. So attend less to words and more to the emotional state of the person with whom you are speaking.
- Watch timing when addressing concerns. Individuals who are angry are not usually open to feedback. Additionally, conflict is intensified when there is an audience. So discuss concerns when all involved are calm and able to talk rationally and respond accordingly, remembering that private discussions are preferable to public ones.
- Empathize. This goes a long way with frustrated individuals. It is hard to argue with someone who is listening and validating our concerns. Empathy does not mean we necessarily agree with a stance; it simply means we are looking for common ground to better understand.
- Stay positive. When individuals are venting or complaining, look for the silver lining. When we refuse to let others bring us down, we increase the chance our outlook and attitude will spread.
I feel certain you will have ample opportunities to practice these strategies with a variety of individuals in a variety of settings between now and the end of the school year. So when you have rough days, remain hopeful. All too soon summer will arrive, relieving the spring fever that is currently overtaking us all.