Figure 1–The Conflict Cycle

Figure 1

Student’s Self Concept - Irrational Beliefs

The Cycle: Stressful Incident -> Student's Feelings -> Student's Observable Behavior -> Adult/Peer Reactions -> Stressful Incident

  1. A stressful incident occurs (i.e., frustration, failure) which ACTIVATES a troubled student’s irrational beliefs (i.e., "Nothing good ever happens to me!" "Adults are unfair.").

  2. These negative thoughts determine and trigger his feelings.

  3. His feelings and not his rational forces DRIVE his inappropriate behavior.

  4. His inappropriate behaviors (yelling, threatening, sarcasm, refusing to speak) INCITE adults.

  5. Adults not only pick up the student’s feelings, but also they frequently MIRROR his behaviors (yell back, threaten, etc.)

  6. This negative adult REACTION increases the student’s stress escalating the conflict into a self-defeating power struggle.

  7. Although the student may lose the battle (i.e., he is punished), he wins the war! His SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY (i.e. irrational belief) is REINFORCED and therefore, he has no motivation to change or alter his beliefs or his inappropriate behaviors.

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