Dr. Ross Greene, originator of the Collaborative Problem Solving approach (now called Collaborative & Proactive Solutions) and author of The Explosive Child, provides guidance to parents on understanding and helping kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges.
We followed up on a B Team conversation about how do you know your expectations are reasonable? Thanks to two emails, we tackled the notion that "too much power" is given to kids when we use Plan B, those addictive screens, and the idea that lagging skills are for lenses.
Holidays are a tough time for families, perhaps especially those with kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. But it doesn't have to be that way, especially if parents are being responsive to the hand they've been dealt.
Started out with some technical difficulties but ended up with a fantastic episode! Thanks to a caller, we talked about how to get started with the model, uses of the model, and wording of unsolved problems. We also answered two emails - one about how the model works with young kids and one about using the model with an impulsive kid.
Lots of great updates from the Summer, then we covered an email from a parent who was interested to know how we view the ADHD diagnosis. Thanks to a caller, we took a deep dive into using Plan B with screen time.
On our last program for the 2018-19 school year, we talked with a caller about her son's school frustrations and how to best work with the school. Covered two emails as well - one asking about the PDA diagnosis and how to work with non-verbal kids, the other asking what to do when kids don't talk and when they don't follow through on solutions.
Thanks to a caller, we covered a lot CPS territory today including the need for a meeting of the minds among a child's team to make real progress, when to seek help to get to that consensus, and the importance of how to word unsolved problems.
Dr. Greene discussed the concept of screen "addiction" and whether Plan B can be helpful (it can!). We also answered an email from a mom struggling with an aggressive 5 year old, and a family where the child will not talk to mom.
After a revisit of the role of Plan C, a caller got some ideas to troubleshoot her Plan B attempt with her daughter about stealing her sister's belongings. A mother emailed in about her son "refusing to change." ...and some fantastic updates about our documentary, The Kids We Lose!
The crew fielded lots of emails on today's program, along with a phone call with a mom who needed some help with Plan B. But the key theme of the program: when you're doing Plan B, you're not focused on dealing with a child's behavior in the heat of the moment...you're solving the problems that are causing those behaviors...and you're doing it collaboratively and proactively.
Lots covered on today's show thanks to many emailed questions (despite some technical issues): My son won't get off his phone to talk, what to do when big behaviors happen - won't my kid think it's ok to act that way?, work with 3-6 year olds in a Montessori setting, and expectations that aren't optional.
On this episode, we covered lots of questions that came in via email - how do consequences fit in with CPS? When is it choice and when is it not? The importance of self-care. Can't get my kid to talk to me...to name a few.
On our first radio program of the fall, we heard from a mom who's having trouble getting her husband on boad with solving problems collaboratively with their child. There seems to be a lot of that going around, and the mom came away with lots of ideas. Listen to the program and you will too.
On the first Monday of every month, at 11 am Eastern time, from September through May, Dr. Ross Greene and Lives in the Balance Director of Outreach Kim Hopkins-Betts – along with parents Stella Hastings and Jennifer Tretheway -- cover a wide range of topics related to behaviorally challenging kids in general and the Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) model in particular. You can call into the program to get your questions answered or submit them via email here. And, if you can't listen live, all the programs are archived in the Listening Library on the Lives in the Balance website or through i-Tunes.
Dr. Greene joined in the program today to offer reflections on the Parkland tragedy, and to partake in our continued discussion about what to do when your co-parent is not on board with CPS, as well as can you do CPS with young kids?
Lots of territory covered on today's program: How do you keep drilling when a kid says he doesn't have a problem with the unsolved problem? What do you do when the kid talks but says a lot of things that don't seem to have anything to do with the unsolved problem? What do you do when your co parent isn't on board with CPS?
We covered some important territory on today's program...on one call, a mom needed some reassurance that the Plan C she was doing with her daughter represented her conscious, deliberate effort to stabilize things...and that getting some Plan B back into the mix is her next step.
Alas, the holidays are upon us, and it's the time of year when people are often nicer, kinder, gentler, more patient, and more empathic. So what's going wrong this year? Good to be reminded that we all do well if we can, and that we all exhibit challenging behavior (some more severe than others) when expectations outstrip skills. But we also a lot of trouble-shooting on today's program...
Thanks to the questions of a caller and a few emailers, we discussed how to get started with the CPS model, what to do if a solution isn't working, what to do with "I don't know," and how to handle defiance in the heat of the moment.
Siblings that don't play well together, the word "no," what to do in the heat of the moment, and what to do when a solution doesn't work...all covered on today's program, thanks to our B Team Parent Leaders and the fantastic questions we received from listeners!
On our first program of the new broadcast year, Dr. Greene welcomed his new co-hosts, Kim Hopkins-Betts (Director of Outreach at Lives in the Balance) and Jennifer, a B Team leader and parent. They were able to respond to several emails, including one from a mom who's been struggling with her behaviorally challenging 14-year old daughter for a very long time and who hasn't experienced much joy as a parent in recent memory.
So, if a parent feels like his or her lagging skills are contributing to challenging episodes with his or her child, then how does the parent learn the skills? The same way the kid does: by participating in Plan B, preferably proactively.
On today's program, we discussed one of the ways in which Plan B can go off the rails: adults entering Plan B with a preordained solution. Remember, a mutually satisfactory is one that addresses the concerns of both parties, not the solution the adult had envisioned before initiating Plan B.
Today we heard from a mom whose son hadn't had an explosion in months, and then -- when a video game didn't pan out as he'd hoped -- it got ugly. So we talked a little about the up side of blips, including the fact that we all have 'em.
At the age of 26, he isn't explosive anymore...but he took the time to call in to today's program -- the 200th segment of Parenting Your Challenging Child -- to tell us about his journey and remind us all of why we do what we do.
Are you setting limits when you're doing Plan B? Of course! You're setting limits whenever you're working collaboratively with kids on unmet expectations...and doing it collaboratively is far more productive than doing it unilaterally.
Lots of territory covered, as usual, on today's program...but we started off with good reasons to keep a log of incompatibility episodes: if you don't identify specific unsolved problems, then those episodes become one big blob (defined as a shapeless mass)...you can't solve problems unless you know what they are, and that's the first step in getting rid of the blob.
What do you do when you can't sling your 15-year old over your shoulder anymore during meltowns? Solve those problems collaboratively and proactively. But that's not the only question that was answered during today's program.
Some great phone discussions today...we received an update from an old friend about a kid we've known for years, helped a mom try to extract more information from her adolescent daughter, and revisited the can't versus won't debate (which shouldn't be a debate at all anymore)...
Parents sometimes behave in ways that they then regret. What to do afterward? Plan B. What to do beforehand? Plan B. Does a psychiatric or special education label move things along? Not when it comes to identifying lagging skills and unsolved problems.
If you're using the CPS model, does that mean you no longer have expectations for a child? Goodnesss, no. You can't parent without expectations; you can't have influence without expectations. How you respond when your child is having difficulty meeting your expectations...well, that's where Plan B comes in real handy.
We adults are a whole lot better at noticing behaviors we don't like in our kids than we are at identifying expectations the kids is having difficulty meeting...and that's the hard part in wording unsolved problems. Fortunately, help is provided!
As always, lots of territory covered with our callers on today's program...but we began with an article from the Huffington Post about a mom who demonstrated great empathy for her son in the midst of Plan A. The big question: why didn't she do Plan B instead?
As always, lots of territory covered on today's program, with numerous repeat callers, and also a dad who's found his son described perfectly in the diagnostic criteria for Pathological Demand Avoidance...as usual, he was encouraged to dig even further to understand the factors contributing to his son's difficulties.
All callers on today's program...one parent struggling with getting the ball rolling on solving problems collaboratively, another facing unique challenges along the way, and still another providing an update on where things are at three years in.
How do you recharge your batteries when your behaviorally challenging kid has you completely tapped out? New lenses can help; someone who understands can help, too. But nothing tops seeing things moving in the right direction.
Yes, the title of this program might have thrown you off, but if kids are having difficulty expressing their concerns in the Empathy step of Plan B, Dr. Greene's five finger method is worth knowing about. And you can learn about it in his responses to today's callers...
As usual, lots of territory covered on today's program, including a discussion about an increasingly known psychiatric diagnosis, Pathological Demand Avoidance. And, as usual, Dr. Greene wasn't shy in pointing out the limitis of psychiatric disorder, PDA included.
Sometimes kids with behavioral challenges are understood at school and get the help they need...sometimes not so much. On today's program, we heard from two moms who are having a "not so much" experience...
Lots of territory covered on today's program, including some discussion of the age levels at which the CPS model is appropriate (we can't think of any at which it's not)...but we began by discussion whether letting kids "hit rock bottom" is the best way to solve the problems that are causing them to hit rock bottom in the first place. The answer won't surprise you...
What's the best thing to do in the heat of moment? Defuse, De-escalate, and keep everyone safe. And then start solving the problems that are causing things to get heated up in the moment,..once they're solved, you won't be in the heat of the moment anymore.
That's what a mom who called into the program has been told about why her son is doing no work in his 10th grade English class. But he's doing work in all of his other classes...so there must be an unsolved problem in English class. Sounds like a job for Plan B!
A very interesting start to the new year...on today's program, we spent some time talking with a mom who's at the beginning of her CPS journey...and responding to a dad who was struggling with whether CPS would help his son deal with the demands of The Real World.
Lots of callers on today's program...one just getting started on Plan B, another slogging through the mud with a solution that hasn't been durable, and a seasoned hand getting ready for what could be a tough discussion. All part of the process..
This is a program worth listening to...a dad called in to provide us with an update on his first attempt at Plan B with his son...he heard concerns from his son that a wooden spoon (the primary problem-solving tool from the father's upbringing) wouldn't have addressed. But the key theme for the day was TIME: Plan B saves it, but it takes time and planning to get that ball rolling.
As we were reminded by the mom who called in near the end of the program, it can be very difficult to get schools to break out of traditional ways of operating to help behaviorally challenging students...but, as many schools throughout the world have shown, it can be done...
We heard from a few moms on today's program...one is grappling with her son's behavior problems at school. While the school counselor is receptive to solving problems collaboratively, she also wants to keep using adult-imposed consequences for behaviors that the child can "control." A good discussion of the things consequences do and don't do well...
Once caregivers identify a child's lagging skills and unsolved problems -- and there can be many of both -- it can be hard to home in on the top priorities...important to remember that all progress is incremental.
Could early childhood experiences affect a child's behavior later? Of course! How can you know the effects of those experiences? You probably can't know with great precision. What can you work on now? Lagging skills and unsolved problems...
A mom -- who'd called in the week before to get some help drilling for information with her son -- called in again to provide an update...and her creative drilling strategies were very effective at helping her son communicate his concerns! A good program to listen to for parents who are struggling in the Empathy step of Plan B.
As always, a lot of territory was covered on this program, including a mom who called in for help figuring out why the solutions that are being applied to her son's difficulties haven't been accomplishing the mission.
On this, our last program of this "broadcast year" (the program airs from September through May), we responded to emails from several parents and talked with a mental health professional who's finding the CPS model very much in keeping with her values. And, to close, we read emails from parents who are just beginning their CPS journeys with their children...we can't wait to hear back from them in September! All of this year's programs are archived in the Listening Library on the Lives in the Balance website and in i-Tunes.
When you're working on what happens WHEN an unsolved problem has already caused challenging behavior, you're focused on the aftermath of the problem. So you don't want to work on WHEN...you want to paddle upstream and start solving problems BEFORE they cause those behaviors that are floating downstream.
On today's program we heard from a long-time caller who's been implementing the CPS model with her sons for over three years. We reflected a little on the "good old days," heard about how far her sons have come, and learned that Plan A isn't necessarily the best way to help a spouse use Plan B!
A lot of territory covered on today's program, including a discussion on the following question: If you're always collaborating with a kid and working toward mutually satisfactory solutions, won't the kid come to believe that he needs to meet expectations only when he feels like it?
If you're only paying attention to a child's challenging behavior, then modifying or medicating the behavior will make the most sense. But behavior is what's happening downstream. If you paddle upstream -- toward the problems that are causing the behavior -- other intervention strategies start to make a lot more sense.
When you're in the Empathy step, are you seeking information about a child's concerns or unmet needs? It's the former...when you're focused on the latter, you're more likely to hear about the child's solutions (rather than his or her concerns), and brainstorming solutions shouldn't occur until the Invitation.
We turned to the mailbag on today's program, and responded to inquiries from five parents. But there was a fairly consistent theme: it all begins with the Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems.
Maybe the title of today's program tells you all you need to know...but maybe not! While it's tempting to use Plan A to keep things organized and keep life moving when there's three boys under the age of eight in one household, Plan B can probably help more than you might think.
A variety of topics were covered on the last program of 2014, including a rather in-depth discussion of the "embarrassment factor" (kids who can hold it together outside of the home but are very challenging inside the home). Just because a kid is holding it together outside of the home doesn't mean there aren't problems to be solved.
Lots of ground covered on today's program -- a mom whose son becomes upset when he gets hurt phsyically, an emailer who noticed that the CPS model has moved from "baskets" to "Plans," from emergent to proactive, and from "compromising" to problem-solving -- but the most moving email came from a mom whose son is still being placed in restraint and seclusion at school.
It's not uncommon to start Plan B with one unsolved problem and then learn about other unsolved problems that will require separate solutions. Thanks to a caller, that's one of the things we talked about on today's program.
On today's program, Ross and Susy spoke with a mom who's thinking of pulling her son out of school due to poor performance...but will that solution really solve the problem? Or does the mom need more information about what's getting in the way for her son at school before they can start contemplating solutions. Plus a lot more...
Explaining Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) to a kid can be a challenge, but this radio program should help you out. And if you've been very focused on imploring your child to take responsibility for his actions, you'll probably want to listen to the rest of the program as well.
If you're wondering about what to do if your child is having difficulty providing you with information about his/her concern, perspective, or point of view in the Empathy step of Plan B, this program should help out...thanks to one of our callers.
Susy and Dr. Greene covered a lot of ground on today's program, including helping a mom whose daughter has been diagnosed with generalized and social anxiety get more focused on her daughter's specific lagging skills and unsolved problems.
On today's program, we helped Debbie's mom with the wording of unsolved problems on the Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems. Now we're ready to start solving those problems collaboratively and proactively!
On today's program, we helped a mom begin identyfing the lagging skills and unsolved problems contributing to the challenging episodes of her daughter (who we're calling Debbie), using the Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems (ALSUP) as our guide. Once the problems are identified, the task of solving them begins...along with the adventure of getting to know Debbie.
Our callers made this a very poignant program. The first was a dad who's been using the CPS model for some time now. He had some very encouraging news about his son. The second was a mom who's just at the beginning of her CPS journey. And the third was a mom who's in the middle of her journey and needing to make some slight adjustments. Beware: due to circumstances beyond our comprehension, the program cuts off unexpectedly near the end.
Well, Parenting Your Challenging Child is back on the air for another nine months, and Dr. Greene and his new co-host, Susy, kicked things off by responding to emails from several parents and a parent who called in...all seeking guidance on how to apply the CPS model to their challenging kids. Key theme of the day: though challenging behavior is very concerning and stressful, it's really just a very unpleasant way for a child to communicate that he or she is lacking the skills to handle certain demands and expectations.
Some great information on today's program -- the last until September -- including information on collaborating with kids on social difficulties. But one parent told us, by email, about something she and her husband do with her son when it doesn't seem like there's a problem to be solved but their son does need to be heard: they call it the Empathy Corner.
Parents of behaviorally challenging kids are often told that they need to be stronger, firmer, and more consistent...and yet, as discussed on today's Parents Panel, solving problems collaboratively takes a lot of strength too...and parents seem to feel a lot stronger when they know how to solve problems together with their children.
As always, lots of questions answered on today's program. One of the key points: once Plan B becomes a habit, kids (and caregivers) listen better to each others' concerns because they aren't so worried about having their own concerns blown off the table.
As always, lots of territory was covered on today's program, including a call from an overwhelmed mom who wanted to know how to get started on helping her behaviorally challenging child. But, early on, Dr. Greene explained how skills are taught when you're solving problems collaboratively. And at the end of the program, he reminded us that adults learn skills through the same process.
The Parents Panel covered a wide range of topics on today's program, but the starting and ending theme went something like this: Is there any age at which you wouldn't try to be responsive to the hand you've been dealt and try to understand and address your child's concerns? The answer from the Panel was a resounding No.
Parenting is really hard, but it's especially hard if you're the parent of a child with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. There's so much advice being thrown your way, a lot of it telling you to be more firm, more consistent, and more diligent with the rewards and punishments. If all those sticker charts, time-outs, screaming matches, arguments have you feeling like a lot of parents do -- isolated, frustrated, and desperate -- well, you've found a program that can help. On this program, Dr. Ross Greene -- author of The Explosive Child and originator of the Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) approach -- helps parents understand challenging behavior and overcome many of the hurdles involved in implementing his model. It's very hard work...and this is a great opportunity to call in, ask questions, get the support you need, and or just listen to other parents or relatives who are dealing with similar real-life issues. The program airs every Monday at 11 am Eastern time from September through May. Sponsored by Dr. Greene's non-profit, Lives in the Balance (www.livesinthebalance.org).
Dr. Greene made his way through lots of email today, and there was a key them that cut across many of them: while psychiatric diagnoses can be useful in some ways, identifying your child's lagging skills and unsolved problems is almost always more informative and productive.
Lots of good info on today's program. We heard back from last week's mom, who was starting to organize the effort in working on her son's behavioral challenges. Dr. Greene also answered a bunch of questions he received via email, including one from a mom who's wondering why her son won't talk to her when she's trying to gather information in the Empathy step of Plan B.
Many parents wonder if they need to completely drop their old ways of doing things when they're implementing Dr. Greene's CPS model, and the Educators Panel had some ideas about that...and then responded to a very distressed mom looking for some guidance.
Thanks to our callers and emailers, lots of good information on this program...but a familiar theme kept coming through: identifying unsolved problems helps you know what you're working on, makes challenging episodes predictable, and helps you intervene proactively.