The popular view is that children who misbehave are just “testing limits”— a phrase often used as a justification for imposing more limits, or punishments. But perhaps such children are testing something else entirely: the unconditionality of our care for them. Perhaps they’re acting in unacceptable ways to see if we’ll stop accepting them. Thus, one teacher dealt with a particularly challenging child by sitting down with him and saying, “You know what[?] I really, really like you. You can keep doing all this stuff and it’s not going to change my mind. It seems to me that you are trying to get me to dislike you, but it’s not going to work. I’m not ever going to do that.” This teacher added: “It was soon after that, and I’m not saying immediately, that his disruptive behaviors started to decrease.”
Quote ID: 00192
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