Some children are easier to parent than others. Some children have very challenging behaviors and require much more of our parenting skills. Some people call this “parenting plus” or “expert parenting”. Parents with a child like this often feel like they have tried everything, rewards, time-outs, taking away privileges, and nothing is working. This can be very frustrating and challenging.
Dr. Ross Greene and Dr. Stuart Ablon have extensive expertise in working with these children who are difficult to parent. They have found that many of these children have challenges with self-regulation and flexibility. Things like “switching gears” (from one activity to another or from their point of view to someone else’s), tolerating frustration, controlling impulses, organization and planning, are much harder for them than for most other children. These children often have “meltdowns” or temper tantrums that can become very violent and overwhelming. Somehow none of the rewards and consequences, that work fine for most kids, seem to be effective in preventing these tantrums. A central tenet of the Collaborative Problem Solving approach is that children do well if they can. According to Dr. Greene and Dr. Ablon it is not that these children are manipulative or coercive, they just don’t have the flexibility and the skills to handle frustration that most other children have. Just as children who have a learning disability such as dyslexia need extra help to learn how to read, these children need extra help with flexibility and frustration tolerance.
The Collaborative Problem Solving Approach is designed to help parents learn how to avoid meltdowns and teach their children skills to become more flexible. Dr. Greene has written a book about explosive children and Collaborative Problem Solving. It is especially written for parents. It is well written, engaging, and very useful for helping you better understand your child and how to help your child.