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The Rudest, Brattiest Child I Have Ever Met


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#1 JuicyJen_uk

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 18:41


I went to meet a seven year old girl who I will start teaching from next week. I spent about 30 mins with her, clapping a few rhythms talking about where to find C's etc and she was absolutely fine with this and I think she will progress quite quickly. Mum knew a bit on the piano and had already begun teaching her bits and bobs which she obviously retained and was confident about what she already knew.

However, this girl was loud, rude, and at times bounced off the walls! She frequently shouted at her mum when she wanted things, interrupting her mum screaming "I want this or I want that!" She frequently banged on the piano loudly with hands and arms, even when she was told to stop. Mum had no control whatsoever over her child. This child was straight off supernanny!

What on earth do I do?! unsure.gif
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#2 jenny

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 19:48

QUOTE(JuicyJen_uk @ Sep 12 2008, 07:41 PM) View Post


However, this girl was loud, rude, and at times bounced off the walls! She frequently shouted at her mum when she wanted things, interrupting her mum screaming "I want this or I want that!" She frequently banged on the piano loudly with hands and arms, even when she was told to stop. Mum had no control whatsoever over her child. This child was straight off supernanny!

What on earth do I do?! unsure.gif


This is going to very difficult for you, especially as you're a young and fairly inexperienced teacher.
You have to make it clear straight away that you won't tolerate this sort of behaviour and ideally you need mum to back you up, although this doesn't sound likely. Even the most kindhearted, easygoing teachers amongst us know that you have to start off with some expectations of behaviour and respect and this needs to be established before you go any further - if you do decide to.
Good luck and keep us informed! smile.gif

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#3 Guest: petrat_*

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 20:03

Yes, quite! The little girl is old enough to be told how you expect her to behave. I would sit her down at the start of her next lesson and explain to her that she should not shout, hit your piano or behave in a cheeky way to you. Tell her how she has to behave and praise her when she does so, however small. Children love praise and the supernannny trick of winning stickers for good behaviour is a useful one to try. She will probably behave better with Mum out of the way. Can the mother sit in another room or wait in her car for her at the next lesson perhaps? I would phone Mum before the next lesson and tell her that she will make an excellent student but has to behave herself. Ask if she would be happy to leave her alone with you during the next lesson. I suspect that things will improve greatly without her mother to be her audience.
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#4 stevensfo

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 21:02

QUOTE
Your problem here is probably the mother rather than the child.


Absolutely right, but the trouble is that we've all heard this far too often.

Perhaps it's time for the majority to fight back.

Slam your arm down on the 'closed' piano and scream at the top of your voice for them to GET OUT!

Maybe not the best solution long term, but would sure make me feel better! wink.gif

Steve
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#5 TenorClef

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 22:18

Personally i would not teach a child like that, as a private tutor maybe i'm a bit picky but if i don't get a basic level of manners & reasonable behaviour from a child i won't teach them. I can be quite flexible but you have to draw the line somewhere.
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#6 Guest: SueHM_*

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 22:57

It sounds as though the OP is going to the child's house, so abuse of the teacher's piano is not an issue. However, this child definitely needs to learn some respect for teacher/instrument/parent etc. I think Mum needs to be out of the way in order for you to gain control. You may find that the child behaves OK when she is alone with you (kids often save their worst behaviour for parents..). It probably is worth a little chat with Mum before the next lesson so that you can agree a 'game-plan' beforehand.

I wouldn't say anything to her about behaviour unless and until she does something unacceptable eg bangs the piano, at which point you calmly point out that this is not acceptable and warn her that x will happen if she does it again. If she does it again, carry out your threat. In the case of banging, perhaps best to close the lid, move away from the piano and do some other activity. If the child has a lot of excess energy and is fidgety, she may find it really hard to sit quietly at the piano for more than a few minutes and a variety of activities will help to keep her interested and busy, so she is less likely to play up.

Perhaps consider giving a shorter lesson initially - 30 minutes is a long time with a tricky 7 year old. You can cover quite a lot of ground in 20 minutes - eg 4 lots of 5 minutes on different activities. How about spending a bit of time opening up the piano and looking inside - kids love this and she might just treat the piano a bit more carefully when she realises how complicated it is.

Good luck. She sounds like an intelligent child with a weak parent who has failed to set any effective boundaries. Children, like animals, quickly work out who is boss and behave accordingly - just make sure she is in no doubt of your position!!
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#7 ad_libitum

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 23:56

To be completely honest - I probably wouldn't go back dry.gif

That's just me though! Having mum out of the room and being very firm might help. Personally I just can't stand that kind of behaviour, and whether I though it was the child's fault or not wouldn't come into it wacko.gif

I would explain why I wasn't coming back though.
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#8 Cyrilla

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 06:23

QUOTE(SueHM @ Sep 12 2008, 11:57 PM) View Post

It sounds as though the OP is going to the child's house, so abuse of the teacher's piano is not an issue. However, this child definitely needs to learn some respect for teacher/instrument/parent etc. I think Mum needs to be out of the way in order for you to gain control. You may find that the child behaves OK when she is alone with you (kids often save their worst behaviour for parents..). It probably is worth a little chat with Mum before the next lesson so that you can agree a 'game-plan' beforehand.

I wouldn't say anything to her about behaviour unless and until she does something unacceptable eg bangs the piano, at which point you calmly point out that this is not acceptable and warn her that x will happen if she does it again. If she does it again, carry out your threat. In the case of banging, perhaps best to close the lid, move away from the piano and do some other activity. If the child has a lot of excess energy and is fidgety, she may find it really hard to sit quietly at the piano for more than a few minutes and a variety of activities will help to keep her interested and busy, so she is less likely to play up.

Perhaps consider giving a shorter lesson initially - 30 minutes is a long time with a tricky 7 year old. You can cover quite a lot of ground in 20 minutes - eg 4 lots of 5 minutes on different activities. How about spending a bit of time opening up the piano and looking inside - kids love this and she might just treat the piano a bit more carefully when she realises how complicated it is.

Good luck. She sounds like an intelligent child with a weak parent who has failed to set any effective boundaries. Children, like animals, quickly work out who is boss and behave accordingly - just make sure she is in no doubt of your position!!


agree.gif

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#9 violincjj

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 10:24

You're all so mean!

I bet the poor kid was just TIRED and needed to EXPRESS her FEELINGS biggrin.gif
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#10 Dulciana

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 10:27

QUOTE(violincjj @ Sep 13 2008, 11:24 AM) View Post

You're all so mean!

I bet the poor kid was just TIRED and needed to EXPRESS her FEELINGS biggrin.gif

There's no tongue in that smilie. Is it in your cheek? tongue.gif
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#11 Guest: petrat_*

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 11:31

QUOTE(violincjj @ Sep 13 2008, 11:24 AM) View Post

You're all so mean!

I bet the poor kid was just TIRED and needed to EXPRESS her FEELINGS biggrin.gif


I think that a few posts have been sympathetic but all kids need to know what is allowed and what isn't.
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#12 violincjj

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 11:32

.
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#13 Guest: petrat_*

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 11:50

QUOTE(violincjj @ Sep 13 2008, 12:32 PM) View Post

Oh yes.

Once a Wise woman gave me some parenting advice...'Never slap them when they're expecting it'

I couldn't possibly agree of course...


Heavens! I hope that the days when music teachers behaved like that are well gone. I hope that you posted as a joke but there will be people here who remember the effect that bullying and violent teachers had upon them.
Giving guidelines before a lesson helps the child to know how and how not to behave during lessons. They can let off steam at other times if they want to. At church once we had a lovely "service" in the sunday school where the younger members were told how they should conduct themselves in the meeting house and how they should not. Then they were allowed to break all the rules for the first five minutes and they did! Then they were asked to behave as one should and at the end we shared our thoughts. It was a useful lesson for all to learn and they were very well behaved at the next meeting.
Music lessons should be fun and we have the job of making them so. If this means giving the pupil a lesson in manners from time to time then that is how it will be, at least when I teach. If students are allowed to mess about and to misbehave they will learn little. The better behaved they are the more they will concentrate and the more they will achieve. Nothing succeeds like success.
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#14 Misterioso

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 12:43

How about expressing your concerns to the mother re the child's behaviour, and offer to teach her on a trial basis to see if she will buckle down and start to behave in an acceptable manner? Then, if there is no improvement, you are not committed.
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#15 Aquarelle

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 12:53

I agree with those who have said that first of all you must get mother out of the way. Secondly you must make quite sure the child knows what standard of behaviour you expect, what is acceptable and what isn't. Then comes the hard part. You must ensure that that the rules are respected. Often a sharp change in the voice is enough. But a lot will depend on how much authority you are actually allowed to have over the pupil if you are teaching in her house. That is one of the reasons why I will not teach in my pupils' homes. It is much more difficult to impose your own rules. If mother doesn't mind the child banging on the piano, that child won't understand why you do. Out of the home environment it is much easier.

The sticker idea is a good one but I would opt for two kinds of stickers - one for good behaviour and one for bad. You can work out some sort of system - say three good stickers in a row and she gets a reward. But if there is a bad sticker she has to start again and get three good ones before the reward. I don't know what to suggest for a reward. A sweet is the obvious thing though I have my reservations about giving sweets and some parents do too. it(s only a idea and all ideas need to be adapted to the child in question.

If after a while there is no improvemernt I would explain to the mother that her daughter is not ready for piano lessons and will not be ready until she has matured enough to behave correctly.

If the child has a real behavioural disorder mother will meet the problem elsewhere and eventually get a referral to the medical profession. If it is sheer cussedness on the part of the child and an opting out on the part of the parent there isn't really much you can do.
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