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T. Sebastian
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What do you do with really bad kids.
I have pretty good ways of handling them but on a very few occasions I've run out of ammo and just can't seem to shut them down.
I'm talking about behavior that borders on deliberate sabotage here.
At my last magic club meeting we spent half the time talking about this and never really hit on an answer. I also did a search and couldn't find anything helpful, so I'd really like to get some more insight on how to deal with this.
Please and Thank You.
So sorry I soiled your precious eyes.
KC Cameron
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I assume these kids are at least 5 y/o. I rarely see this, but when it happens, they are generally 6 & up.

Try to get inside their head. What are they trying to accomplish? Most of the time they want attention.

The first thing I do is totally ignore them. I assume this will just escalate the kids you are talking about.

If this is the case either giving them the attention positively or showing them how to get the attention positively is the next stage.

If they are "invading your space" and won't stop, then have them go to the back of the group and don't do any more magic until they comply.

If they still are a physical problem have an adult intervene.

If they are verbally being a problem and ignoring them won't work, try a little peer pressure.

Remember just because they are young does not mean they can't have mental issues,and sometimes there is little to be done outside of removing them from the party.

It has been at least 10 years since I have had any serious problem. I attribute it to a stage hypnotism trick I learned. From the very beginning I am telling them what to do. If it a particularly rambunctious crowd I take even more control. In quick succession I tell them to stand up, turn around sit down, stand up turn around, stomp the right foot, stomp the left foot, ad then sit down. It is all done in a fun manner, and the kids look at it as a game. What this does is conditions them to follow my orders - and they do. --- I said orders. I am not asking, I am in charge. Every so often I may re-enforce it by telling them to do another series of random things.

Please note, only do this if the kids are out of control from the beginning By far, most parties don't need it or need a much more scaled down version - but always take control. No pleading, no deals - it is your way or no way.

Interestingly enough, the privledged (in my experience) often are much less well behaved than the middle class. Sometimes the privledged treat others like objects, and you could be “an object” - less than human to them. In this case, they learn it from their parents, and there is not a lot you can do but turn down gigs from them in the future.

This is a recient article from the NYPost:

CRUEL L.I. SLAVE MASTERS
By STEFANIE COHEN, KIERAN CROWLEY and KATE SHEEHY
A "monstrous" millionaire couple from Long Island's Gold Coast kept two Indonesian women as slaves for five years in their tony estate-turned-house of horrors - until one victim was found wandering the street half-naked this week muttering, "Master," authorities said yesterday.

Varsha Mahender Sabhnani and her husband, Mahender Murliddhar Sabhnani - perfume moguls from the mega-rich community of Muttontown - were hauled into federal court yesterday to face charges including beating, cutting and scalding one of the victims and committing "incomprehensible . . . inhumanity" against both.

"Home, I want to go home," sobbed one of the middle-aged women, identified as "Samirah," when she was found bruised and battered at a Dunkin' Donuts on Jericho Turnpike in Syosset at around 6 a.m. Sunday.

Less than a mile away, authorities said, was what had become her hell on earth: an antiques-stuffed, cedar-shakers mansion where she was beaten with brooms and rolling pins, repeatedly sliced on the ears with a paring knife, starved and forced to sleep on the kitchen floor.

Varsha - a 45-year-old mother of four - was the main torturer who doled out the horrific punishment while her husband, 51, watched, officials said. The wife is Indonesian; Mahender is from India.

Varsha's cruelty included forcing Samirah to take as many as 30 ice-cold showers in a row, run up and down a flight of stairs 150 times as fast as she could - and gulp down at least 25 "extremely hot chili peppers at one time," according to the arrest warrant.

"The conduct the defendants committed is monstrous," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Demetri Jones. "It's truly a case of modern-day slavery."

Authorities said the victims' nightmare began after they were brought to the United States by the couple to work as house servants.

They were told they would be paid $200 a month, although Samirah told authorities she later learned the Sabhnanis sent only half that amount to her daughter back in Indonesia.

The immigrant women arrived to find their new home, 205 Coachman Place, a sprawling, two-story manse in one of New York's most exclusive enclaves. Two large, stone statues of lions greet visitors at the driveway, a brand-new black Cadillac sits in front and a large, lagoon-like pool, waterfall and built-in stainless-steel barbecue grill grace the back yard.

Their new bosses ran a multimillion-dollar business from home, peddling Royal Mirage perfume throughout the world through at least five companies.

The Sabhnanis also own a $1.4 million, two-bedroom condo on Broadway in Manhattan and were known to frequently jet to such countries as Singapore, Bahrain and Australia for business and to visit family.

But if the victims - ages 51 and 46 - had dreams of partaking in even a smidgen of their employers' good life, they were sorely mistaken, officials said.

The Sabhnanis demanded the pair's passports as soon as they set foot in the country, the victims told authorities.

They then began working 21-hour days as house servants, and when they were allowed to sleep for the remaining three hours in the day, it was on thin, 3-by-6-foot white mats on the floor of one of the home's two kitchens, the women said.

Beatings were routinely administered either in the laundry room or bathroom, they said, with "a rolling pin, bamboo stick and a broomstick." Samirah said Varsha also tossed scalding water on her.

The feds noted in court papers that Samirah "bears highly visible scars that appear to be permanent over much of her body.

"She also has deep, open knife wounds behind her ears, which were inflicted by [Varsha]."

Samirah also showed cops at the house "a door stained with [her] blood that was the result of an injury sustained during a beating" by Varsha, according to court papers.

The abused women were starved to the point that they began hiding food, authorities said.

The second victim, identified only as "Nona," led authorities to the spot above a drop-ceiling panel in one of the kitchens where she stashed her meager but treasured personal belongings, as well as snacks she could sneak from the kitchen.

Nona told authorities she was once forced to strip naked and take as many as 10 icy showers in a row for "perceived wrongdoing."

She said that at one point, Varsha warned her that if she ever tried to flee, she would "use her considerable financial resources to ensure that Indonesian police jailed [her] and [her] husband, who is in Indonesia."

Whenever strangers came to the home, the terrified women said, they were ordered to hide in the basement or garage.

They were allowed out only at night - to take out the garbage.

After Samirah was found wandering and told authorities her tale, officials went to the house and discovered Nona cowering in a 3-by-3-foot closet under the stairwell leading to the basement.

Samirah was dressed in pants and a towel, weeping and carrying two plastic bags, when Dunkin' Donuts manager Adrian Mohammed, 26, spotted her early Sunday.

He said he thought she was homeless, so he gave her coffee, bagels and a jacket.

Asked where she lived, she pointed to her Indonesian passport - which Varsha had allegedly returned to her after it expired - and pleaded, "Home."

"She started crying," Mohammed said, and when he asked where she lived, she pointed in the direction of the Sabhnanis' home and said, "Master."

"She said the word, 'Master,' then she made a motion like she was getting slapped," Mohammed said yesterday.

He said she had dozens of perfectly circular bruises on her arm, like pinches. Her ears also had sores and cuts from what authorities said was more of Varsha's cruelty: nicking her with a paring knife when she was deemed particularly "bad" - suspected of stealing food because she was hungry or unable to find an item around the house.

"I felt bad for the lady, so I called 911," Mohammed said.

At the Sabhnanis' arraignment in Central Islip yesterday, the couple sat together - but with separate lawyers.

As the pair sat down and looked back at their 22-year-old daughter in the third row, the young woman burst into tears.

The couple was held without bail after Jones argued that they were an extreme flight risk, given their international connections and bank accounts.

Mahender's lawyer, Charles Ross, insisted, "This is not a human-trafficking ring. My client wants to clear his name."

He said the couple had been out of the country for up to 10 months at a time, leaving the alleged victims plenty of opportunity to leave the house if they wanted.

stefanie.cohen@nypost.com
T. Sebastian
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Um... ... ... I ... ... The cruelty of mankind never ceases to amaze me.


What if I'm in a more open type of situation like a festival and the kid is just hanging around and there's no parent in sight?
So sorry I soiled your precious eyes.
KC Cameron
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This can be really a pain, but they hang around you because they think you are cool. They talk out of turn because they want to be cool too. They grab, and explain how they think things are to be done, & steal punch lines because they think it makes them look cool. Well they probably don't realize the damage they are doing, and may even think it is a game - so be easy (at first anyway). They probably admire you. Explain how what they is doing is NOT nice. I would try to make it a positive experience, and you may have to work the interaction into your show if they persist. If they continue, ask them to leave. If not contact security.

ALWAYS remember that others are watching how you deal with it, and they may or may not realize the harm the child is doing to your act. Be professional for your sake.
T. Sebastian
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I agree with you totally CaptainKid.
It did occur to me that that might be why they hang around.
And I am very aware of how my handling of the situation could affect me.
I want to continue to work locally so the last thing I want to do is go off on some kid in front of people.(or alienate an overenthusiastic fan?)
Thanks for the input.
This has only been a problem two times but it was bad enough that I want to ensure I'm ready next time.
So sorry I soiled your precious eyes.
Ed_Millis
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See if you can pick up a copy of "Seriously Silly" by David Kaye (Silly Billy). He's been doing children's entertainment for about 20 years. You can ssearch for reviews and comments aobut his book here on the Café. He has excellent insight on why kids act the way they do and how to control and direct their energy.

But also examine your show. Is your material appropriate for the age group you are performing for? If you're in an open arena, like a fair or a festival, you have no control over who will walk up and whether your material is suited to them. But at a more structured event, like a private party, school or library, you can get a pretty good idea of what age groups should be attending. (You can also specify that a certain number of adults should be present.)

One good section in Kaye's book is an outline of what kids understand at what age, and how they react to different effects. I remember doing effects which required thought patterns far beyond the kids I thought I was entertaining, and didn't know it! (I had a five-year-old walk up to me in the middle of my routine, proclaim "You're boring!", and walk off.)

Like you, it wasn't really a huge and constant problem, but it was enough that I've sworn off kid's birthday parties (at least they way they do them here!).

Cheers!
Ed
magicbob116
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There are no evil children... just bad parents! Smile
B. Robert Pulver

The "I Hate Card Tricks!" Book of Card Tricks Vol. 1, 2, and 3
Kards for Kids
Sticky Situations
Sleightly Wacky
http://www.magicnook.com/magicbob
Ken Northridge
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Sebastian,

There are so many different situations and different ways to handle each one. Knowing what to do for each set of circumstances only comes with experience. So let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

“Experience teaches slowly, and at the cost of many mistakes.” --Batman Smile

Quote:
On 2008-07-14 17:39, magicbob116 wrote:
There are no evil children... just bad parents! Smile


Hmmm. Sounds like an interesting debate. That's a subject that has intrigued me for some time and my mind is still open on this one.
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
www.KenNorthridge.com
T. Sebastian
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That story CaptainKid posted still bugs me out.
I have no problems when I'm doing my "show". It is constructed for all ages.
I actually depend on children for the crowd build.
I'm not a grouchy old magician who wants "Those darn kids to stay off my lawn".
The problem has been when I'm entertaining a group of adults and the kid (or kids) is hanging around causing a rucus. They see the routine a few times and start telling people what's coming or how they think I do it. While I'm doing it.
I don't hate kids. I have two of my own.
I chose the title of this thread to get attention because I needed insights on ways to handle this. The only true evil I can think of is D*** C*****.
You figure it out. heh
Should I maybe have posted this in the busker forum?
Can I post similar threads in different forums without getting in trouble?
Or being hated?
Too late?
Story of my life.
Well then I'm off to practice the old cups and balls some more.
Thanks for the input guys.
Oh, and by the way, Ken?
When did Batman say that?
I'm a huge fan of his.
So sorry I soiled your precious eyes.
Ken Northridge
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Quote:
On 2008-07-15 21:14, T. Sebastian wrote:
Oh, and by the way, Ken?
When did Batman say that?
I'm a huge fan of his.


It was in the original series. I'm not that big of a fan so I can't name the episode, but I can tell you he was speaking to the boy wonder! Smile
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
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AndyComic
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I am not totally convinced of the evil people = bad parents. I've seen some kids who just come out as evil freaks while their siblings are fine. Mostly though, you're correct.

Anyway, when I totally have no control of a kid (and this is the last resort) I firstly ask if their parents are in the room and ask them to help me control them, the next step is to quietly say that if they don't want to watch the show, they don't have to and they are welcome to play up the back of the room somewhere. Sounds harsh but it works well and they mostly stay. Remember that if the show get ruined by one kid then there goes the enjoyment of all the other kids any booking for more parties. Besides, if the kid doesn't really want to be there, then why force him. Same reason why the parents shouldn't shove their kids up the front.
The worst is the b'day boy, if he's acting up you cant really ask him to leave. but on a plus side, his or her parents are always there to help.

I had one show where the b'day boy was this type of child. All he wanted to do was run out and push my case over - all the time. The parents were no help. The show was a right off. It was like this kid was on speed, he couldn't focus for more than one second on anything. Even the other kids were annoyed. Sometimes there are no answers except the Dexter method.

Andy
Vibono Magic
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Quote:
On 2008-07-15 21:14, T. Sebastian wrote:
The problem has been when I'm entertaining a group of adults and the kid (or kids) is hanging around causing a rucus. They see the routine a few times and start telling people what's coming or how they think I do it. While I'm doing it.


Take longer breaks or have another set with you on the street
Vibono Mirage
Magic entertainer and Balloon artist
Ed_Millis
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Quote:
On 2008-07-15 21:14, T. Sebastian wrote:
The problem has been when I'm entertaining a group of adults and the kid (or kids) is hanging around causing a rucus. They see the routine a few times and start telling people what's coming or how they think I do it.


Yeah, kids are attention freaks. And they are very into anything that can increase their status among their peers, such as gaining control of a situation by grabbing the focus.

If you're going to perform outside, you're going to run into this. Part of the job description. BUt I'm sure the buskers would have some great ideas on how to minimize damage and maximize control and entertainmentin such situations. I'm sure there are ways to turn most of these around to your advantage - I'm also sure I can't hink of a single one of them!! Which is why I'm not brave enough to go out into a raw public setting like that.

Ed
T. Sebastian
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More guts than skill over here.
And not much guts.
So sorry I soiled your precious eyes.
Hansel
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Quote:
On 2008-07-14 17:39, magicbob116 wrote:
There are no evil children... just bad parents! Smile



Maybe the most sensate words that I read in this days.So, if I have a very "uncomfortable" kid I use this formula. That kid wants attention, he wants to be the star and stole your bright for him, maybe his way is ruining your show, so here is what I do (Sometimes I do with "funny" fathers too)Have a wizard assistant hat (with the plunger) and put it, take some silly sunglasses and put it in your "helper",do the Popsy Topsy wand,break away wand, maybe the break away table...make to him the mess that he wants to make to your show. As a killer do a SUCKER trick!!! ("Fraidy Cat Rabbit" works EXCELLENT for this situation, "topsy turvey bottles" too!!!) So maybe you think this system its cruel, but if you manage with perfect Attitude and professionalism nobody was injured!BELIEVE ME THAT THIS KID NOT TRY TO DESTROY YOUR SHOW ANYMORE,
Thanks,
Hansel!
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T. Sebastian
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The Plunger Hat. Yes! I thought of that too.
My idea was to give him the wizard award.
"Ladies and Gentlemen. This young man has learned all there is to know about magic in his short eight years of life. So, to honor him and his vast wisdom, I would like to present him with the prestigious Wizard Award."
Put the hat on him, turn him around for all to see, then reveal the plunger.
Mean? Maybe.
Will it work? Probably
I would reserve it for only the worst of situations.
So sorry I soiled your precious eyes.
KC Cameron
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Hmmm I don't recommend that embarrassing a child. Don't stoop to their level, people may laugh, but they may won't hire you. Would you want your child to risk being ridiculed? I do the plunger all the time, but it is ME, not the kid.

MagicBob,
First I would like to say I LOVE your magic book. I just bought it and it is GREAT. On the other hand, your statement about kids sounds great, is PC, but not accurate. Yes, bad parenting can produce an unsocial child, but it can also produce a great child too. Nature has an immense role in how a person develops, and all the good parenting in the world can still produce an unwieldy child. Just look at the studies of twins separated from birth.

As for kids being evil, I really don't believe in "good" and "evil". On the other hand, a blanket blame of the parents is just not facing reality – especially now with our current understanding of biology. Much of what we consider our "personality" is due, or at least heavily influenced, by our chemistry. My son is an amazing child - NOW. From 1-4 one could swear he was possessed by the devil. In fact both my wife's parents and mine are quite religious, and they hinted of that. Year before last he was nearly kicked out of school – and he was in a special classroom for kids with his issues. Some days he would have over 50 (yes fifty!) documented assaults in one day. Don't ask me how he could work so many in, but he did.

Time and time again when he was acting out in public (ok, I mean REALLY acting out, nothing like that of a normal child) we would get nasty stares from other people who knew nothing of the situation. He was EXTREEMLY violent and uncontrollable outside of brute force.

It took time, therapy (3 x week at $125 a session) and drugs, but now he is a joy to everyone and has totally turned around. He just finished his drug routine and is doing well. He still goes to therapy 3 x a week.


I REALLY don't appreciate being judged by people who were blessed with a typical developing child. If you haven't had a severely autistic child you don't know what a bad behaving child is like. One moment they are angels, the next as far from that is possible. For 3 years it took both of us to handle him. He would wear on person out pretty fast, so we both worked from home. Please lose the “bad child = bad parent” thinking. It doesn’t hold up and is very unfair to many parents who are doing everything in their power to raise their child right.

On the other hand, before we had our son, I had the same wrong thinking. I pray no one learns this lesson the way we did.
magicbob116
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I'm surprised you say that my statement was PC. I rather thought it was very UN-PC (which is much more my style).

My comment was meant to be hyperbole. Please note the Smile that I added at the end. Just my twisted sense of humor... always trying to tweak or "stir the pot" (must be the rotten parenting that I received). Smile Oops... there I go again!

I certainly didn't intend to lump in kids with developmental problems, etc. In fact, my own son has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, which is (thankfully) on the mild end of the autism spectrum, so I can sympathize with those types of situations.

Those weren't the kind of people I was referring to. But you must admit that there ARE quite a few kids who behave badly simply because the parents either let them get away with it or are so self-absorbed they never even notice it. We've all seen them. THOSE were the parents that I was excoriating.

"Bad child = bad parent" is not how I would describe my overall thinking. It was merely an admittedly sarcastic commentary on the sad state of parenting that is so rampant in our society. For those that are doing everything they can, I have the utmost respect. For those that just LET the kids run rampant, not so much.

P.S. Thanks for the compliment on the book!
B. Robert Pulver

The "I Hate Card Tricks!" Book of Card Tricks Vol. 1, 2, and 3
Kards for Kids
Sticky Situations
Sleightly Wacky
http://www.magicnook.com/magicbob
KC Cameron
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I am sorry about ranting. I guess it just touched a nerve . . . sorry. I am sorry about your boy too.

I do agree that bad parenting is often a cause for mis-behaving youth (and adults) and I HAVE NO HARD FEELINGS. I generally thought that before I had kids, and I understand your sarcasm.

As you know, many autistic children (like my son) can look perfectly normal (as opposed to a child with Down Syndrome). People assume they are typical, but in fact no child is typical.
T. Sebastian
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I would not want my child ridiculed.
But, I have taught my children good manners and how to behave. (through example and constant nagging)
So, I would hope that neither of them would ever engage in the types of behaviour that would provoke the wrath of a warrior wizard.
You're right though, Captain.
I shouldn't do that.
I'd also like to comment on the resolution of the misunderstanding concerning the evilness of a child with respect to his/her parents.
That, ladies and gentlemen is how adults behave.
I will endeavor to follow your example.
And to remember my own parenting principles when I am working.
So sorry I soiled your precious eyes.
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