Ep. 50: Dr. Nancy Rappaport - A Misbehaving Child is a Discouraged Child


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Aug 13 2018 46 mins   1

A recent headline read, “Demonic child on flight” that described a passenger who filmed his horrific experience while traveling with a screaming 3-year-old on a long flight from Germany to the USA. The video stirred up a Facebook controversy where many empathized with the mother while the rest blamed her for failing to control the child. Misbehavior implies the intention to misbehave. Dealing with a screaming 3-year-old on an 8-hour international flight or handling a student with challenging behaviors is a daunting task. While most would be tempted to punish the child or write off unsettled students, an adult with a positive and supporting approach can steer them onto the path for success.

Children’s experiences of challenges and failures in regulating themselves is inevitable but their ill-fitted behaviors are less likely to induce empathy. In their book, Children: The Challenge, Rudolf Dreikurs and Vicki Soltz poignantly say, “A Misbehaving child is a discouraged child”, inviting us to let go of the conventional wisdom. On this episode, Dr. Nancy Rappaport returns to discuss a framework to help implement successful behavioral plans to help redirect anxious, oppositional, or withdrawn children so that educators can re-imagine the possibilities for their struggling students.

About Nancy Rappaport, MD
Dr. Rappaport received the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s Sidney Berman Award for the School-Based Study and Treatment of Learning Disorders and Mental Illness in 2012. She also received Cambridge Health Alliance’s Art of Healing Award in 2013 – an award given to one who “transcends boundaries, joyfully embraces humanity, and profoundly inspires the healing of body and spirit.” Rappaport is the author of the memoir In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother’s Suicide (Basic Books, September 2009), winner of the Boston Authors Club’s 2010 Julia Ward Howe Prize. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly called the book “Fearless … a stunning narrative of perspective, profound sadness and unrelenting hope.” She is also the author of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students (Harvard Education Press, April 2012), written with behavioral analyst Jessica Minahan.

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