What is Plan B?
Plan B is the name of the strategy used in Dr. Ross W. Greene's Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) model for working with children who struggle with more conventional parenting approaches and who react explosively when frustrated and angry. It is best used as a pro-active, preventative strategy to discuss problems and challenges with children at a neutral time - not while they're happening.
In this philosophy, we think of 3 basic ways to handle a problem or unmet expectation with a
A means handling a problem or unmet expectation by imposing adult will.
C involves dropping the expectation completely, at least for now.
B involves using the CPS model, engaging the child in a conversation at a
neutral time and discussing the challenge or unmet expectation in order to
problem solve and come to a mutually satisfactory resolution.
There is a time and a place for each of these methods. For example, if
your child is running into the street then you’d use Plan A! If your
child is explosive about shoes, for example, you might choose to use Plan C and drop your
expectation that he keep his shoes on while at a quiet event like a wedding in order to avoid an outburst.
Plan B takes pre-planning, as well
as time and effort to sit, discuss, and teach your child the skills needed. So it can be more time-intensive, depending on the length and severity of your child's explosive episodes. However, families which use Plan B effectively find that the work to prepare and hold the discussion sessions is well worth the time and effort, especially considering that:
- the time spent with the child is much more calm and respectful;
- it helps to create or restore a helping, caring relationship with the child;
- the adult and the child are both able to pursue the expectations they're after;
- it reduces the challenging behavior;
- it clarifies skills that may be lagging behind in the child and starts to teach them; and
- it begins to solves chronic problems and if use is continued, the problems don't keep coming back.
There are specific steps to take before sitting down with your child and there is a very specific approach to use when discussing challenges during the Plan B session. My collaborative family support sessions are designed to prepare both you and your child to sit down and work together effectively to come up with a plan which teaches your child how to do well.
What is Collaborative Problem Solving?*
Solving problems and responding to life’s demands requires thinking skills. Challenging behavior occurs when a demand is placed upon a child who doesn’t have the necessary skills to respond appropriately. If a child doesn’t have the specific skill needed to appropriately handle a certain problem or expectation, the result can be negative behavior.
By identifying the chronic problems you (or other adults) face with your child, the demands that “trigger” your child to act out, we can better understand the specific skills s/he needs help in order to improve. We can then target these skills to discuss with and teach to the child. Using Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) we can help your child develop the skills that s/he needs to better handle these demands.
- Lives in the Balance: A non-profit
organization founded by child psychologist Dr. Ross Greene, author
of The Explosive Child and Lost at School,
and originator of the Collaborative Problem Solving (Plan
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