Maladaptive Behaviors Chart

Maladaptive behavior chart
Goal What a student is feeling How the teacher feels Student's reaction to coercion Other strategies to use
  • I only have control when I am noticed or getting what I desire.
  • I belong only when I have attention.


Desire to remind, plead, coax, boss, and make the person do what they believe is "right".

  • Stops as long as there is attention.
  • Later resumes the action or a different action to seek attention.
  • Ignore
  • Redirect
  • Logical consequences
  • Give choices
  • Encourage
  • Goal setting
  • I must dominate
  • I must prove no one can control me
  • I must have power to belong
  • I must win to have power
  • I only belong if you do not have power.

Provoked or threatened

Want to make the student do it or do not want the student to get away with something.

  • Intensify actions to dominate and be boss.
  • Submits with defiant compliance.
  • Don't get into a power struggle
  • Act friendly
  • Tell the student you will not engage in a power struggle
  • Withdraw from a power struggle
  • Problem solve and set goals
  • Encourage
  • I can't control so I will punish those who I believe control
  • I can not belong so I will hurt others.

Hurt or mad

How could this happen?

  • Wants to get even.
  • Doesn't like themself.
  • Create order with minimum efforts
  • Have a cooling off period
  • Win child's trust
  • Take time and effort to use problem solving to help the student set goals to create order and maintain it
  • Encourage.
  • I can never have control, so I will not try.
  • It is not possible to belong.
  • I give up


Don't want to try.

  • Feels that it is no use to try.
  • Passively resists
  • Build child's belief in their abilities
  • Success
  • Encourage
  • Teach necessary skills
  • Never give up, pity, or criticize


Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes