We hope you enjoyed our conversation with Dr Ross Greene!
As a paediatrician (Rob) I have been recommending Dr Greene’s approach for many years, and his books as well (see links below).
Dr Greene is a psychologist who has decades of experience working with families, and who advocates collaboratively solving problems with kids. His model is called Collaborative and Proactive Solutions. He disseminates this model through the non-profit he founded: Lives In The Balance. Dr Greene leads workshops and conferences internationally for educators, parents and other caregivers who seek to learn from his expertise.
Dr Greene’s books are available at Amazon or local book stores:
The Explosive Child
Lost at School
Lost and Found
Raising Human Beings
Further resources on Creative and Proactive Solutions:
Collaborative and Proactive Solutions in a Nutshell
This episode focuses on Dr Greene’s parenting approach called Collaborative and Proactive Solutions.
To fully understand this method it’s best to read the books mentioned above (all of them explain the steps), but here it is in a nutshell.
Your first step is to identify unsolved problems or difficulties your children are having in meeting demands and expectations we place on them, such as brushing teeth before bed or completing homework after school. Dr Greene argues that unwanted behaviour always results when children are having difficulty meeting demands and expectations. Getting to the root of the problem and then solving this problem with input from your child reduces or eliminates the unwanted behaviour.
As a parent, once you identify a particular difficulty, there are three basic ways you can address it. Dr Greene calls these Plan A, B and C – as he explains in the podcast. Plan A involves solving the problem unilaterally (you as a parent impose a solution). Using Plan B, you solve it collaboratively with your child (in most cases, the favoured approach). And with Plan C, you choose to either ignore or park the issue. You may park it for various reasons, such as ‘not urgent’ or ‘higher priority difficulties to focus on first.’
You’ll hear a lot more about Plan B and the steps involved directly from Dr Greene in the episode!
What advantage does this method have for you and your child? Not only are you solving problems at home, you’re preparing your child with skills they need for the real world. Notice that similar collaborative problem solving methods are used in the business world (think Getting to Yes), in politics and even in fields such as collaborative divorce law.
Dr Greene is a strong advocate of non-punitive and non-adversarial approaches to discipline, especially in schools. There are differences in laws in each state and in different countries, but Dr Greene notes that many states still allow schools to administer corporal punishment. He discusses the dangers of this approach in his documentary called The Kids We Lose, which is well worth watching and has garnered several awards.