The “Difficult” Student: Unconditional Positive Regard

When a student is causing trouble it is very important to focus on the good that they do and to keep a log of it and to actively praise them if you are holding them accountable and the situation has gotten so bad that you must record the bad (i.e. if they are routinely posing a threat to self and/or others). This builds rapport with parents based on genuine shared admiration and respect for the child as a human being and also gives space for the child to improve rather than to only get worse.

Psychologists talk about “unconditional positive regard.”

The idea of unconditional positive regard is what people sometimes refer to as hating the sin and not the sinner. It has to do with remembering the fullness of the humanity of every person. We can protect ourselves and our other students by documenting altercations and establishing a history – but imagine if people saw this as a means to helping the child rather than just building a history to remove them from the classroom.
I specialize in rehabilitating kids who are causing trouble and unconditional positive regard is important. Kids are like sunflowers and they turn toward the sun of approval. If we are watering their bad habits and negative sides then they will forget the intrinsic goodness that keeps kids joyful. They will lose hope. Their behavior will most likely become worse.

I have known adults who have been so difficult as children but who now are the most amazing, loving and gentle and nurturing people, all because the adults in their lives worked together and didn’t give up on them.

Published by Seahurst Wellness and Education Center

I’m a skill-building, proficiency-obsessed tutor and consultant who puts relationships first. I am also a certificated teacher with over a decade of classroom experience. Everything I do is geared to facilitate students’ familial and scholarly wellness and their sense of meaningful contribution to society..

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