Is your child more challenging than most? Do typical parenting approaches not work? We talk about how to parent harder-to- parent kids with Dr. Ross Greene, the originator of the Collaborative & Proactive Solutions parenting model, a non-punitive, non-adversarial, trauma-informed model of care. Dr. Greene is a clinical psychologist, former Harvard professor, and the author The Explosive Child and Raising Human Beings.
- Why are some kids “harder to parent”?
- How does trauma impact a child’s behavior?
- How does innate temperament or genetics impact behavior?
- What is the collaborative partnership approach?
- The Collaborative & Proactive Solutions approach is based on the premise that challenging behavior occurs when the expectations being placed on a kid exceed the kid’s capacity to respond adaptively. A child’s challenging behavior (whether it’s whining, pouting, sulking, withdrawing, crying, screaming, swearing, hitting, spitting, biting, or worse) is just the manner in which they are expressing the fact that there are expectations they’re having difficulty meeting. The model focuses on identifying the skills the kid is lacking and the expectations he or she is having difficulty meeting (in the CPS model, those unmet expectations are referred to as unsolved problems). Then the goal is to help kids and caregivers solve those problems rather than trying to modify kids’ behavior through the application of rewards and punishments.
- 3 Steps to the Collaborative & Proactive approach are:
- The Empathy step – involves gathering information so as to achieve the clearest understanding of the kid’s concern or perspective about a given unsolved problem.
- The Define Adult Concern step involves the adult sharing their perspective.
- The Invitation step involves having the adult and kid brainstorm solutions so as to arrive at a plan of action that is both realistic and mutually satisfactory…in other words, a solution that addresses both concerns and that both parties can actually do.
- “Kids do well if they can.” Kids are challenging because they’re lacking the skills not to be challenging. If they had the skills, they wouldn’t be challenging. That’s because – and here is perhaps the key theme of the model — Kids do well if they can. And because (here’s another key theme) Doing well is always preferable to not doing well (but only if a kid has the skills to do well in the first place).
- How would you apply this approach to work with kids who have experienced trauma?
- Is Collaborative partnership permissive parenting?
- Practical applications:
- A child who struggles with transitions.
- A child who won’t accept “no” and tantrums or argues.
- A child who doesn’t handle change and can’t be flexible.
- A teen who disregards curfew or other house rules.
- How to deal with aggressive behaviors towards pets, siblings, or parents?
Music credit: Michael Ashworth