Four Goals of Misbehavior
Dreikur's Four Goals of Misbehavior is a valuable tool for understanding a child's behavior.
If the child's behavior:
- Annoys you, the goal is attention. Ignore it.
- Angers you, the goal is power. Rely upon set rules and consequences to remove yourself from the struggle.
- Hurts you, the goal is revenge. State your feelings and discuss mutual concerns.
- Makes you despair, the goal is to display inadequacy. Find a way to encourage and empower your child.
Your assessment is correct if your response reduces the behavior.
- If you ignored the student and he continues to misbehave, perhaps his goal was not attention but power.
- If cracking down with consequences has no effect, he may be out for revenge.
- If a heart-to-heart discussion fails to move him, his goal may be a display of inadequacy.
- If encouragement doesn't brighten the child, the goal was not to elicit your support. Check out Power or Revenge.
There is far more to the entire concept, but this is the essence. Understanding the child's goal, however, is not enough. You must also be able to address the unmet need that prompted the goal.
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