23 Ways to Support Students Who Exhibit Self-Destructive Behavior

Are you looking for ways to support students who exhibit self-destructive behavior? If so, keep reading.

1. Give the learner a selection of optional learning activities to be performed (e.g., if a learning experience results in self-destructive behaviors, an optional learning experience can be substituted).

2. Teach the learner appropriate ways to deal with anxiety, frustration, and anger (e.g., move away from the stimulus, verbalize unhappiness, select another learning experience, etc.).

3. Teach the learner problem-solving skills: (a) find the problem, (b) find goals and objectives, (c) create strategies, (d) create a plan for action, and (e) carry out the plan.

4. Provide a consistent daily routine (schedule).

5. Refrain from discussions or prevent stimuli in their surroundings that remind the learner of unpleasant experiences/sensitive topics (e.g., divorce, death, unemployment, alcoholism, etc.).

6. Do not criticize. On occasions where correcting the learner, be honest yet compassionate. Never cause the learner to feel bad about themselves.

7. Intervene early and often when there is a problem to prevent more severe problems from happening.

8. Make sure the learner does not become involved in overstimulating learning activities.

9. Always treat the learner with the utmost respect. Talk objectively at all times.

10. Convey your feelings in a socially acceptable way.

11. Teach the learner to think before acting (e.g., they should ask themselves, “What is happening?” “What am I doing?” “What should I do?” “What will be best for me?”).

12. Let the learner voice their opinion in a situation to avoid becoming angry or upset.

13. Provide consistent expectations to lessen the likelihood of the learner hurting themselves.

14. Praise the learner for demonstrating appropriate behavior based on the duration of time the learner can be successful. As the learner shows success, slowly increase the amount of time required for reinforcement.

15. Praise those students in the classroom who engage in appropriate behaviors.

16. Create classroom rules: • Complete every assignment. • Remain in your seat. • Finish tasks. • Meet task expectations. • Raise your hand. Examine rules often. Praise students for following the rules.

17. Talk with the learner to explain(a) what the learner is doing wrong (e.g., hurting self) and (b) what the learner should be doing (e.g., talking about the situation, demonstrating self-control, problem-solving, etc.).

18. Praise the learner for engaging in appropriate behavior: (a) give the learner a concrete reward (e.g., privileges such as leading the line, handing out learning materials, 10 minutes of free time, etc.) or (b) give the learner an informal reward (e.g., praise, handshake, smile, etc.).

19. Consider using an adaptive behavior management app. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

20. Click here to learn about six bonus strategies for challenging problem behaviors and mastering classroom management.

21. Consider using a socio-emotional learning app. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

22. Consider using an emotional intelligence app. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

23. Consider using a school counseling app. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

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