Conversation Between “S” of the Home and Sarah Measures
Sarah spoke to S on Friday about the two ten-year-old twin brothers. Recently the boys have been acting up more at school, but not at home. Behavior issues include: not listening, swearing, disrespect of other children. Although the boys are in different classes, the behavior seemed to begin with one boy, F. and spread to K. At home they continue to do their homework quite well and are able to complete it independently, once they get started. When asked about these behaviors the boys tend to become defensive and say that other people instigate it.
Both boys are skilled and passionate about soccer. They have trained and played in a local team at the park for the past year. K wanted to switch to the school team, but logistically this was not possible for the home. They also like to play computer games. They are less interested than other children in the home in other activities such as going to the park or skating.
There is a correlation between the timing of these behaviors and children beginning to leave the home. Two girls, M and N, are scheduled to leave in a month. The boys are particularly close to N, a slightly older girl. The boys are unlikely to leave the home themselves because their placement was the result of court action. When asked about the increase of visiting days to twice instead of once a month the boys appeared neutral.
S and Sarah discussed talking with them about their feeling around the changes going on in the home, and the departure of their friends. In addition to the emotional loss this embodies, they may also be feeling anxious about their own futures. This may also be discussed within a small group of children.
S plans to talk further to the boys’ two teachers concerning:
a) Their existing strengths, interests and connections and how to foster them.
b) Possible reasons why the twins may be more troubled than usual at the moment.
S might then follow this conversation by offering the teachers contact and brainstorming opportunities with me by e-mail or phone. (The boys have two teachers, one English speaking, the other Spanish speaking. This is likely to be useful to the English speaker.)
An intervention, might begin by understanding the root of their feelings, the reasons for their actions, and then helping them to understand their feelings and replace their negative behavior with more positive, self affirming actions. Eventually, after gathering more information about causes and supporting success we could discuss some positive behavioral strategies.