One of our practitioners recently worked in a boy’s school where a certain number of boys in the school had anger and mental health issues which had caused significant disruption in their lives. This resulted in them changing schools, engaging with social services or youth offending teams. The aggressive outbursts were a symptom of not having the opportunity to express the emotions they felt in relation to parents separation, parents being found unfit to care for them, loss of a loved one or abuse.

These boys had days when they had difficulties walking into the classroom or others when they say exactly what they are thinking, without filter or regard for how this will affect the behaviour and reaction of those around them. The staff felt that it was difficult for the boys to view their teacher as an emotional support when they also had to respect them as a teacher.

The pupils had the potential to become fully integrated back into mainstream education and to become good citizens but evidence suggests that a more holistic approach is required. To achieve this we need to do more than manage a child’s behaviour in order to find a window of opportunity to educate them. We need to look at the reasons behind that behaviour and provide emotional coping strategies too.

Engagement can be a big problem for these boys, especially when they are feeling vulnerable – usually at the exact moment that you are getting close to a raw subject or something that highlights an aspect of their personality that they are uncomfortable with. The key is gentle perseverance and giving them the choice to attend. This enables them to feel more in control. If they feel it is forced upon them they will likely rebel. Engaging these young people is not an exact science. There are many factors that can change a committed child into a refuser. The key thing is that they realise we will not abandon them in spite of how they may react.

Overcoming or learning to cope with their many challenges will give them a chance to apply themselves more wholeheartedly in the classroom without being distracted by so much inner turmoil. This means they have a better chance of improving both behaviourally and academically and stand a much better chance of integrating back into mainstream education.

It will serve them well socially and within their communities as they will begin to learn what others perceive as aggressive or provocative behaviour and will have a comprehension about the consequences of acting this way can bring. They will be able to make more informed decisions about how they interact, considering the future impact of their reactions before reacting. This means they will become citizens who can coexist with others and generate less chaos from their behaviour.

For children who do not receive the support they need, education will only go so far to engage them. They need assistance in facing up to their problems and resolving them so that they avoid falling through the gaps in the education system or hide from their issues with destructive behaviours that could harm themselves and others.

The benefits of receiving NLP4Kids support means they have a better chance of communicating their thoughts and feelings with others, making relationships that are meaningful instead of destructive. They become more likely to improve their employment opportunities (and therefore their financial prospects). Their likelihood of maintaining a healthier lifestyle increases with all of the other beneficial factors previously mentioned.

The original version of this article was written by Gemma Bailey, director of It was republished and rebuilt with additional content by Ian davies NLP4KIDS PRACTITIONER

By Gemma Bailey

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