If we focus on a child's misbehaviour we will want to talk about how they:
- persisting on challenging or tedious tasks
- considering a range of solutions to a problem
- expressing concerns, needs, or thoughts in words
- managing emotional response to frustration so as to think rationally
- shifting from an original idea, plan or solution
- appreciating how his behaviour is affecting other people
Can you see how focusing on lagging skills, rather than misbehaviours, gives us more valuable information for working with children like Harry?
Focus too much on the child's misbehaviours and we will never discover the unsolved problems that are truly plaguing the child.
Ultimately, I don't really care about what challenging children do when they are challenging -- I would rather spend my limited time, effort and resources focusing on when challenging children are challenging. Under what circumstances are the demands of their world calling on their lagging skills?
The next time you have a meeting about a challenging child, set a 5 minute time limit at the beginning and allow everyone to talk about the child's misbehaviour, and then for the rest of the meeting, talk about the child's lagging skills and unsolved problems.