‘Many students who engage in this behavior- especially the active, verbal variety- exhibit desirable personal characteristics such as leadership potential, assertiveness, and independent thinking. By wanting to think for themselves and control their own lives, they exhibit the signs of what represents good mental health in adults.’
– Dr. Linda Albert, Author of Cooperative Discipline
The challenge of seeing a silver lining in the display of power behavior, at the moment of misbehavior, is the reality that the behavior is currently being perceived as defiance, obstinance, or insubordination, and as the recipient of the behavior, our emotional pressure gauge (hot) is not allowing us to see anything positive coming from this behavior.
In the face of power behavior, we are feeling disrespected, attacked, threatened, or disregarded. There is a surge of anger and frustration beginning to well up within us that makes us, at the moment of misbehavior, see anything but the desire for consequences for the behavior being displayed. In the heat of the moment the tendency is to be reactive, driven by emotion to respond in a manner that achieves some manner of justice for the offense demonstrated. Our reaction, in the moment, usually escalates the matter before it brings about resolution.
In order to ‘see’ the silver lining, I must take a step back, a deep breath, and regain calm in order to effectively separate the student from the misconduct. In that time, I can then strategize how to put the child in position to make consistent, positive choices that redirect them to use their ‘personal power’ in demonstrating a greater display of student self-efficacy that allows them to be a positive contributor within the classroom environment making use of their leadership potential, assertiveness, and independent thinking, first, for themselves and then towards how they interact and conduct themselves with me and the classroom.
The fine line between demanding and commanding respect from the power behavior student is navigated by my consistency in modeling the desired behaviors, even in the face of demonstrated power behavior, remaining calm, firm, and consistent, but allowing the student to grow in modeling the same behavior. I remind my students that I cannot expect respect from them if they cannot first have it for themselves. For the one who would argue that they have respect for self, I would remind them that if they did we would not be in conflict and then reinforce the desired behaviors that would convince me, without words, that they truly have respect for self.
The reality is I must undergo a process of change in helping my power behavior students succeed and achieve in my classroom, in the same manner I desire to see change in them. The more I am able to consider and acknowledge the ‘silver lining’ the greater my ability to ‘change’ in a manner that fosters ‘change’ within the student.
May God bless you and help you to see the silver lining of those who display power behavior within the classroom so you may have greater influence in motivating a greater demonstration of self-efficacy among power behavior students.