You Can’t Make Me!
Pro-Active Strategies for Positive Behavior Change in Children
by James Ball
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Pub Date 06 Sep 2019 | Archive Date 15 Nov 2019
Average rating from 3 members
As I work with children, You Can't Make Me! sounded like an intriguing read and unlike any other similar books I've read. Sometimes children's behaviour can become challenging, particularly with all the things teachers can and can't do these days when children's behaviour gets out of hand and so a positive behaviour strategy sounded appealing and I'm glad I've had the chance to read more about it in this book.
I remember being told at a profession development meeting a few years ago that the best way to improve communication and behaviour in children is to always use positive language rather than negative. Rather than no standing on the table, could you put your feet on the floor. This was never explained any further and no questions were asked as it seemed simple enough but the next day when we tried to do this with the children it was a lot harder than it seemed. As a child hit another child with a toy spade, we tried to find a positive but had very little time to do so with the other child being hurt and so gave up on finding positives pretty quickly. This book however has given me more of an insight in how we can teach children through posititives and help change the behaviours of the children and the expectations and behaviours that we have that might influence the child's behaviours.
I found this book very easy to read with the style of writing and I liked how it seemed more like advice from a friend than a lecture. This book never claims to know the exact formula for behaviour management and always mentions how each child is different and I really like this about the book as it in know way seems to be talking down on you like some books seem to. It never feels like the book knows better, it is just strategies that have worked for them and should help all children with a bit of adaption and persistence.
The book is split into three main parts with somebody extras at the end. The first part, Why Does My Child Do That? is great to get a better understanding of what behaviour is and why we react the way we do. It breaks the subject down into easy to understand ways but also gives a good amount of detail which I'm sure most people around children will find relatable. I think it's brilliant how the chapter also focuses on the importance of the right words as I think it is something we often overlook and think is unimportant or easily forgotten but that is far from the truth. The positive strategies in this section are also fantastic with lots of different choices that there should be one to fit to the child or the situation and they are explained in a good amount of detail making them more meaningful and easy to put into place whether on there own or as part of a behaviour plan.
The second part of the book, The Six Functions of Behaviour Explained, is great to put any knowledge from the prior chapter into practice by using the behaviour plan and strategies in a real life example (one for each of the functions). This is a really interesting way to see how parents and children may react to a situation and how they could to improve the behaviour. I like how we got to see it from the child's and parents perspective as sometimes adults will forget to think about what the child I should feeling or thinking, especially if adults are in a hurry. The six functions are very well explained and in a huge amount of detail and gives something to reference to for a bit of guidance if a similar situation with a child should occur. At times I thought they were a bit too detailed but they were definitely helpful at seeing the process of the behaviour and how a different strategy from adults can make a big difference.
The third part, Final Thoughts, has a great section on ASD which I found interesting. I have had experience with a few ASD children in a mainstream school but never really looked into how best to support them generally, I have only had advice from the parents. This was a really interesting chapter to learn a bit more about ASD and how they might need a little extra support and how.
In addition to the above the book also contains a glossary of words which is great to check back on if you've forgotten a definition although most are described very well as reading through. A behaviour plan worksheet which takes some of the pressure off of coming up with a plan a story it's all ready to write down and fill in and it shows it's really not as compicated as it first seems. Finally there is a crisis plan which is very handy to have although something I'd hope wouldn't need to be used very often, it's better to plan just in case though!
I have really enjoyed reading this book and have found it to have some fantastic advice and guidance in helping with children's behaviour management. I'm so pleased to have read it and think it's a book everyone around children should read for a more positive approach to behaviour management and communication with children generally!