Handling the “Agitator”

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{taken from the book You Can Handle Them All}

I. BEHAVIOR: Specific attitudes and actions of this child at home and/or at school.

  1. Tries to cause trouble—and appears delighted with it.
  2. Gets others to do or say what he/she would not do or say.
  3. Uproots old controversies, cries “unjust,” incites hostilities, and causes as much trouble as possible.
  4. Tries to appear as an innocent bystander in any trouble he/she causes.
  5. May act upset, stir others to rebelliousness, and then walk away when the disturbance is about to take place.
  6. Usually gets other students into trouble more often than he/she gets into trouble. {Tweet this} Typically does not get openly and publicly involved, but operates from the sidelines.
  7. At home, hits, pushes, and trips siblings when out of parents’ sight—then says the brother or sister “started it” if problems result.
  8. Starts rumors to create turmoil.
  9. Plays other people against one another, including teacher against teacher, parent against parent, students against classmates.
  10. Often provokes physical confrontations between other people.
  11. Consistently acts immature and irresponsible.
  12. Tattles on others.
  13. Seeks attention from others.
  14. Appears to operate without loyalties, even to those regarded as friends.

II. EFFECTS: How behavior affects teachers, classmates, and parents in the school learning environment and the home family situation.

  1. Others are influenced to do or say what the agitator would not do or say himself/herself.
  2. Learning experience in the classroom is seriously disrupted because this student’s activities distract classmates and teacher alike from the work or discussion at hand.
  3. Social experience of students in the halls, cafeteria, etc., becomes negative.
  4. At times, others are led to admire this student’s sly and manipulative behavior. Therefore, he/she is a hero to some.
  5. Teacher can easily start to feel threatened and may fear losing control of the class.
  6. Classmates can begin to feel as if they might be able to get away with similar behavior.
  7. Class may be in a continual or almost continual uproar regarding some issue.
  8. Teacher influence and credibility may be reduced.
  9. Teacher may lose self-control.
  10. Teacher may feel inadequate. As a result, he/she can become tense and transmit this tension to the
    agitating student and other students.

III. ACTION:

    • Identify causes of misbehavior.

    • Pinpoint student needs being revealed.

    • Employ specific methods, procedures, and techniques at school and at home for getting the child to modify or change his/her behavior.

  1. Primary cause of misbehavior:
    • Power: The need for power is expressed by creating situations that demonstrate this student’s
      ability to be in control.
  2. Primary needs being revealed:
    • Hunger, Thirst, Rest: Lack of food and rest may be a form of abuse and should be investigated.
    • Sex/Sexuality: Because of past experiences, this person may find it very difficult to establish any positive relationships.
    • Escape from Pain: This student protects himself/herself by the use of power to cover his/her pain.
  3. Secondary needs being revealed:
    • Aggression: This student has a need to control and should be helped to find ways to assert
      himself/herself positively.
    • Inquisitiveness: This student may have a strong need to know what’s going on. He/she wants to know the why behind what we’re doing and what’s going on.
    • Power, Status: This student may be trying to achieve through agitation.
  4. Remember that the agitator’s biggest fear is exposure; basically he/she is a pretender as well as a coward. The agitator cannot accept the full and open responsibility of a leadership position, but needs others to fulfill his/her needs.

Free book excerpt with 17 more ACTIONS and 14 MISTAKES!

Handled this behavior in the past? Share your experience in the comment section below…

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