Conflict Cycle

Conflict Cycle
  1. An incident occurs (frustration, failure, etc.) that ACTIVATES a troubled student’s irrational beliefs (e.g., “Nothing good ever happens to me,” “Adults are unfair!”), which in turn defines it as a stressful incident
  2. These negative beliefs and thoughts determine and TRIGGER the intensity of the student’s feelings.
  3. These intense feelings – not the student’s rational forces – DRIVE his or her inappropriate behaviors.
  4. The 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 the student’s behaviors (yell back, threaten, etc.).
  6. These negative adult REACTIONS increase the student’s level of stress, escalating the conflict into a self-defeating crisis.
  7. Although the student may lose this battle (i.e., he or she is punished), the student wins the war! His or her SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY (irrational belief about adults) is REINFORCED. Therefore, the student has no motivation to change or alter the irrational beliefs or the inappropriate behaviors.