4 Main Indicators of a Negatively Programmed Child

Positive Influence on a Negatively Programmed Child

Negatively Programmed Child


Not all learners have positive experiences and influences in their lives. For some learners school is the most positive activity they have. As a teacher you need to be skilled in recognising and building positive experiences for your learners.

Negative programming can be environmental where the learner lives day to day in a negative situation; cultural where beliefs and attitudes are based in a negative way; social where the learners contact and interaction with the wider world has negative overtones; or a personality trait where some learners seem to be made with a negative outlook on life even though they seem to have positive influences in their life.

There is not a lot you can do about the child's outside environment but you can make sure they have positive experiences while in your care. You can also influence reaction to personal traits by being a positive role model and giving positive feedback.

The main indicators to look for when assessing a child for negative programming are:

  1. Observe family interactions with the learner.
  2. A learner may look sad, agitated or may hang back from making close friendships.
  3. A learner who is reluctant to try something new through fear of failure and reprimand. They will always be asking your permission to carry out a task and seeking your approval.
  4. A learner who is aggressive toward others and has poor social skills.

    To help a negatively programmed child try this:

    • Offer assistance to the family. This may be in the form of involving them in your learning area so they can see how you treat their child. Some parents will be open to a private meeting with you to discuss their child. Start from what you observe of the child and ask for their input. Offer the school counsellor if they are receptive to outside help with parenting skills.
    • Give consistent positive encouragement and feedback to the learner.  Never use 'put downs' no matter how annoying the learners negative behaviour may be.
    • Make the learner feel trusted by giving them special jobs to do in the classroom.  Use positive words and body language for a job well done and ask for feedback and self-assessment.
    • Foster and encourage friendships with their peers.

    Remember you may be the positive adult role model in this learner's life so be aware and respectful of your role.

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    Heather Collins

    Heather Collins is an Early Childhood and Special Education Teacher who makes developmentally appropriate resources for teachers and parents to use with their children. She is author and co-author of poetry books and children’s books. She is a passionate collagist and has crafted beautiful finger puppets and story aprons suitable for early childhood education.

    Her resources can be purchased on this website or she can be contacted at Create-Ed by emailing heathercreated@gmail.com. You can order an original apron for any favourite storybook.

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