Parenting Your Challenging Child: The Ins and Outs of Plan B

Three Options for Solving Problems and the Ingredients of Plan B (program aired live on January 12, 2010)
In this program, Dr. Greene provided an overview of the three ways in which adults solve problems with kids -- Plans A, B, and C -- and a general description of the steps or "ingredients" of Plan B. More time will be spent on each of these ingredients in coming weeks. The discussion of Plan B was helped along by a father who called in to describe some of the difficulties he was having in using Plan B with his two young sons, and potential "fixes" for those difficulties were discussed. LISTEN NOW

Plan B Nitty-Gritty (program aired live on March 2, 2010)
Solving problems collaboratively is messy, choppy, uneven, and hard. In today's program, two moms called in to talk about some of the problems they're running into in trying to do Plan B with their kids (and, in the case of one mom, with the folks at school). Some familiar themes seemed to apply: being really specific about the unsolved problems you're working on (so the child can give you the information you're seeking in the Empathy step); trying to get a good handle on other factors (attention-span, hyperactivity, lagging communication skills) that may be making it hard for the child to participate in Plan B; and being as proactive as possible in terms of timing. LISTEN NOW

The Invitation Step of Plan B (program aired live on September 16, 2013)
Dr. Greene tried to catch up on summer emails during this program, and started with one asking for more information about the Invitation step of Plan B.  Of course, you'll have to listen to the program to hear everything else! LISTEN NOW

Trouble in Paradise: Dealing with Some Plan B Hurdles (program aired live on February 9, 2010)
On this program, a mom called in to get some help in using Plan B with her challenging 5-year old son. The mom was struggling with some of the key aspects of using Plan B, especially identifying the specific unsolved problems that were reliably and predictably setting the stage for challenging episodes. But it turned out that the boy's challenging behavior (hitting, throwing) was indeed highly predictable, and very specific unsolved problems were identified: being interrupted when speaking, having things not go the way he anticipated, morning routine, being picked up at daycare in the afternoon, going into school in the morning. These unsolved problems set the stage for the Proactive Plan B the mom will try to do this weekend. LISTEN NOW

Common Difficulties in Using Plan B...and How to Overcome Them (program aired live on January 19, 2010)
Topics discussed during this program: the difficulties people encounter when trying to "drill" in the Empathy step (and how to overcome those difficulties); whether one should let a kid know that you're trying to do things differently when you're starting to use Plan B (you can, but the proof is in the pudding); whether a kid's lagging skills are taught through mere use of Plan B or whether some skills need to be taught more directly; and whether Plan B is helpful for kids who are very "black-and-white thinkers". LISTEN NOW

This Plan B Stuff Is Hard! (program aired live on March 11, 2013)
Lots of territory covered on today's program too, most of it related to things that can go awry when parents are trying to solve problems collaboratively. Here's the good news: with some minor adjustments in strategy, things can start going a whole lot better. LISTEN NOW

Triaging Plan B Troubles (program aired live on May 29, 2012)
On this last radio program until the fall, Dr. Greene answered some email and focused in particular on what might be going awry in a mom's attempt to use Plan B with her son.  LISTEN NOW

Focus on the (Unsolved) Problems, Not the Symptoms (program aired live on November 16, 2010)
Too often, adults focus on the challenging behaviors a kid is exhibiting rather than on the unsolved problems setting those challenging behaviors in motion.  Unfortunately, when we focus on behavior, our intervention options are quite limited.  But when we instead focus on solving problems (rather than on modifying the behaviors behaviors that are byproducts of those unsolved problems), we're addressing the real issues setting in motion challenging behavior...and when we get those problems solved, we reduce challenging behavior at the same time. LISTEN NOW

Don't Forget, This is Supposed to be Proactive (program aired live on February 15, 2011)
Lots of callers on today's program, and lots of good information, too. LISTEN NOW

He Won't Talk to Me (program aired live on September 21, 2010)
Why do kids sometimes have trouble participating in Plan B?  What can parents do about it? LISTEN NOW

A Sign of Progress: He Talked a Little (program aired live on September 28, 2010)
In today's program, we heard back from the mom who was trying to figure out why her son wasn't receptive to participating in Plan B. The mom followed some of Dr. Greene's recommendations from last week's program, and reported on some small signs of progress. We also heard from a mom who was having trouble understanding why her daughter was well-behaved outside the home but exploding inside the home. LISTEN NOW

Gathering Information Can Be Hard (program aired live on April 19, 2011)
A mom called in for help on gathering information in the Empathy step of Plan B. And our emailers provided additional grist for the discussion mill:  How do you tell the world about your challenging child? What if the adult is lacking some important skills, too? LISTEN NOW

Talking About Talking (program aired live on May 20, 2013)
On this last program until September, we got caught up on email...and covered a lot of ground. Among the topics: in kids who are having difficulty participating in Plan B, sometimes it's necessary to talk with them about what's hard about talking before it's possible to talk with them about other unsolved problems. Can't wait 'til September! LISTEN NOW

Fictitious Concerns? No Such Thing! (program aired live on April 8, 2013)
As usual, varied topics were covered on todays program.  Among them, a mom's belief that her child's concerns aren't true. LISTEN NOW

My Child is Having Difficulty Hearing My Concerns (program aired live on April 12, 2011)
The title of this program tells you about an issue raised by one of our callers.  But lots of additional issues were covered as well, including what to do if one parent is on board with CPS* and the other isn't (yet). LISTEN NOW

Umpires, Low Frustration Tolerance, and Realistic Solutions (program aired on May 22, 2012):
On this program, a mom called in seeking help on her son's difficulties tolerating frustration during little league baseball games...but the guidance she was provided would help on other unsolved problems as well. LISTEN NOW

Make An Appointment (program aired live on May 24, 2011)
Some behaviorally challenging kids don't like to be suprised by the topic and timing of Plan B, even when it's proactive. Better to make an appointment with the child...and even give the child the heads-up on the topic. LISTEN NOW

A Certain Type of Solution (program aired live on May 10, 2011)
Lots of callers on today's program, and we covered lots of key themes of the CPS* model. One of the most important: when you're solving problems, you're not primarily trying to figure out what a child should do once he or she becomes upset...but rather solutions that will durably solve the problems that are causing the child to become upset in the first place. LISTEN NOW

Back to Plan A if the First Solution Doesn't Work?  No Way! (program aired live on March 15, 2011)
A variety of topics on today's program, thanks to our emailers, but what to do if the first solution doesn't work? That came from our caller. LISTEN NOW

This Could Take a While (program aired live on March 29, 2011)
There are lots of things that could be slowing things down when families are implementing the CPS model...but it's good to remember that getting good at Plan B and making fundamental changes in family interactions doesn't happen in a week anyway. LISTEN NOW

Can't Solve Problems Without Identifying Kids' Concerns (program aired live on October 25, 2011)
That's what the Empathy step is for: really, truly, understanding what's getting in the way for a kid on a specific unsolved problem. Without that information, solving problems is a shot in the dark. LISTEN NOW

Behaviors Are Not Unsolved Problems (program aired live on October 18, 2011)
One of the biggest non-starters in the Empathy step of Plan B is trying to talk with a child about his behavior rather than about the unsolved problem setting that behavior in motion. And one of our callers is trying to get over that hump. LISTEN NOW

My Child's Challenging Behavior Isn't Predictable at All! (program aired live on April 24, 2012)
Just because an unsolved problem doesn't set in motion a challenging episode every time doesn't mean it's not predictable. LISTEN NOW

Uninformed Solutions (program aired live on March 13, 2012)
Solutions arrived at with Plan A -- through imposition of adult will -- are not only unilateral, they're uninformed...and that's a big part of the reason they often don't work very well. LISTEN NOW 

*Dr. Greene is the originator of the Collaborative Problem Solving approach -- and referred to his model by that name in his articles, chapters, research papers, and books prior to 2013 -- but now calls his model Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS). Read more here.