There is Hope

If your child has been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Dr. Ross Greene must be your guru. He is the author of The Explosive Child. Isn’t the word defiant already 100 times better then the word oppositional? That is just a glimpse at his magic. Even if your chid doesn’t carry an ODD diagnoses, I urge you to purchase, read, and then practice his program outlined in his book. Greene’s website, Lives in Balance, will also guide you on your parenting journey whether your child is ornery, grumpy, non-compliant, angry, argumentative, prickly, hard to get along with, or even has an ODD diagnoses. And no, I do not know Dr. Greene, and he didn’t pay me to write this. 

Before we go any further, please know that Dr. Greene thinks your kids are lagging skills and not being bad when they act out, don’t listen to you, have a meltdown, scream, etc.  He also understands that power and control parenting strategies that involve motivational rewards and punitive punishments do not work for your child. I’m thinking you already figured that out.

To give you a sneak peak into Dr. Greene’s program called The Collaborative and Proactive Solutions Model, I will outline the steps to this amazing program. Reading his book would be beneficial before you get started. Definitely check out Greene’s website too. It will take work and time on your part. But my guess is that you are already working over-time trying to manage your chid right now. This program really works. Once you get the hang of it, it can change your families’s life in such amazing ways.

The Collaborative and Proactive Solutions Model, or CPS, involves Plan A, Plan, B, and Plan C. Plan A is the rather old-fashioned model of parenting that involves the adult exerting their will over their child to solve problems. The adult is always in control and is perpetually imposing their will on their child. Dr. Greene says forget about this plan immediately as it wreaks havoc on the parent-child relationship and does not even work. Plan B is the KEY to his program and where positive change can really happen. Plan C involves accepting that some issues, arguments, and demands don’t matter in the larger scheme of things. These need to be to be set aside until later. In other words, you must prioritize and accept that some issues just are not all that important RIGHT now.

Plan B is where it is at. This strategy is centered on solving problems collaboratively. Together the parent and child will go through the 3 structured steps to come up with a mutually satisfactory solution to their shared problem. This approach teaches your child flexibility, adaptability and overall problem solving skills. Best of all, and most importantly, you remain connected.

Step 1 in Plan B is the empathy step where you gather information and understanding about the child’s concern and learn their perspective. You prompt your child with phrases like “I’ve noticed that…Whats’s going on…I would be angry too if…” It takes practice, especially if you don’t talk like this often. Most families do not communicate in this style, but with repetition you can change.

Defining the problem is step 2. This is your chance as the parent to share your point of view and what you are concerned about.

The invitation is the 3rd and final step of Greene’s model. You invite your child to brainstorm ideas with you. You ask your child if they have any ideas that would solve both of your concerns. Your child always goes first. The only rules are that all ideas must be realistic and mutually satisfactory.

Dr. Greene’s CPS strategy really works. You need to try it when everyone is calm, not in the eye of the storm. It takes time and practice. It’s best to have the support of therapists while you lay down the blueprints for this new way of interacting. This parenting approach can offer you a new way of living with your child that can make all the positive difference in the world! Check it out!