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Advice on managing no resilience/melt downs

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by alanuk, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. alanuk

    alanuk New commenter


    Seeking advice on strategies to manage a P6 (Y5) boy in my class. He joined last session and it's clear there are issues from his past and home but nothing obvious per say. He has very poor self-esteem and doesn't think he is good at anything, although in actual fact he is talented and has an excellent work ethic.

    My main issue is that he constantly tries to be competitive with others and can't cope when he loses. I don't think it is something he purposely tries to do, but just happens. Although it has calmed down now in class during written work, this is when I first noticed it when he seemed to be in a race to complete his work against others in his group. However, he can't take part in anything like a maths board game because if he perceives or is losing, he will either get upset, begin crying, spoil the game, cheat or accuse the other player of cheating and generally becomes one big headache because he becomes very irrational.

    I have build a fairly good relationship with him and he will often come up just to give me a cuddle or show me his work. The class like him, and the boys are very tolerant but at times are exhausted with him, as you can probably imagine, PE is a nightmare. He will go into meltdown if his team are losing or someone isn't passing to him. He cries, kicks walls or refuses to take part. At the moment I am taking him off to then sit with me until ready to go back in, but long term, any suggestions on how to tackle this and build up ways for him to manage and cope?
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Have you spoken to his parents? Perhaps he needs some counselling to understand that his self worth doesn't come from always winning and that he is loved for just being himself. Professional counselling might be the way forward.
  3. alanuk

    alanuk New commenter

    Hi, thanks for your reply. Parents I feel say what they know we want to hear but do admit at times things can be wild at home. I did refer for counselling but told rejected until something "significant" happens then they would assess. A sorry state of affairs.
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    Complex situation! Yes, I can imagine the chances of getting counselling are slim in the current environment.

    What about a mentor? Is there anyone in the school who would be willing/able to spend some 1:1 time with him discussing these issues, gently introducing some games between them and trying to help him identify the point at which his emotions build up and give him some strategies to take himself out of the situation so he can begin to manage it himself.

    Have you suggested that his parents come in to watch a PE lesson so they can get a more accurate idea of what is going on? Would the school be able to facilitate that? Perhaps you could discuss with him and them some sort of reward system for times when he is able to take part appropriately in a game. I guess it depends whether you think there is some deep rooted issue that is making his emotional responses so extreme or whether it is something that he just needs some coping strategies to get on top of. Without expertise, that is really difficult to determine! But in the situation, discussing strategies might be a start at least.

    Is he sporty? Until he ruins it that is! If so, perhaps you could arrange something with a local sports team where someone comes in to talk to the students (all would benefit/enjoy so you wouldn't be isolating him) about the psychology of sport, what it means to be competitive but reasonable, the emotions sports men/women go through when they win and lose and how they cope with it. Often local football clubs have decent outreach programmes and someone would be willing to visit the school.

    Or is he a reader? If so, finding appropriate novels/autobiographies that deal with some of these emotional ideas could help.

    It sounds like you're managing the behaviour really well but as you say, it's not a long term solution you investing so much time and him not learning to deal with the emotions himself.

    You mention self-esteem. Is this something you/someone in the school can explicitly focus on with him? Finding opportunities for him to do the right thing, take an important job, fulfill a role etc and then heap on the praise? I expect you are already doing this but perhaps someone like a TA could support you with this and try to communicate with the parents about this issue/strategy.

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