Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Three Options for Solving Problems

So I'll get right into it....

You've asked your child to do something and he has a meltdown. What do you do?

Well, first you need to understand that you're child would do well (would do what you asked) if he could....okay....this one is a hard one....especially in the heat of the moment. But things aren't always what they seem. The most important theme of Dr. Greene's model is the belief that if kids could do well they would do well. In other words, if the kid had the skills to exhibit adaptive behavior, he wouldn’t be exhibiting challenging behaviour. If you haven't looked at Dr. Greene's "Lives in the Balance website" really should. Here it is: The website explains that "the definition of good parenting, good teaching, and good treatment is being responsive to the hand you’ve been dealt." Okay, so you're understanding that "Challenging behavior occurs when the demands of the environment exceed a kid’s capacity to respond adaptively". Clearly, your child does not have the capacity to adequately respond to your request (or demand....whatever it is you need him to do). Great...but the kid is having a meltdown....ah!

What are those three options for solving problems?
The site says....."There are three ways in which adults try to solve problems with kids: Plan A (which is unilateral problem solving), Plan C (dropping the problem completely), and Plan B (that's the one you want to get really good at)."

Let's look at Plan A: Well, seeing there is a meltdown, Plan A definitely didn't work!

Plan A requires handling a problem or expectation through the imposition of adult will. So if your child isn’t meeting a given expectation, you respond by imposing your will; saying things like, “No,” “You must,” or “you can’t”....that's Plan A and it will greatly heighten the likelihood of an explosion.

So we move crisis management....defuse, de-escalate, keep everyone safe. And this is probably where we would implement Plan C. Yes, drop your expectation. This is where the book, "Loving What Is" by Byron Katie can come in handy.....

At the moment your child is having a meltdown, you pick yourself up and perform emergency Plan C, you drop your expectation. It's Okay. For children that have a mountain of problems, you may want to drop many of your expectations. And use proactive Plan C; create a list of "issues" you've all agreed will be dealt with in the future.

But how will we deal with these issues in the future? This is where we use Plan B: The Collaborative Problem Solving Approach. You will have to identify your child's "unsolved problems". What skills is he lacking that precipitate the challenging episodes? Then choose two or three high-priority unsolved problems you want to solve. Now you're ready for Plan B! What the following video from LivesIntheBalance.

I'm going to have to leave you here. I know we're not ready for Plan B yet! In my next blog, I will help you identify those "unsolved problems".....and then you can start Plan B....

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects at least one in twenty children. Children with SPD don't process or experience sensory information the way other typical children do; therfore, they don't behave the way other children do. They struggle to perform tasks that come easier for other children. Consequently they suffer a loss of quality in their social, personal, emotional and academic life.

The Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation is dedicated to continue their research into the knowledge and treatment of SPD, so that, as Lucy Jane Miller writes in her book "Sensations Kids", "the millions of sensational children currently "muddling through" daily life will enjoy the same hope and help that research and recognition already have bestowed on coutless other conditions that once baffled science and disrupted lives."