Step One: Change Your Lenses

We've learned a lot about behaviorally challenging kids over the past 50 years. We now know that behaviorally challenging kids aren't attention-seeking, manipulative, coercive, unmotivated, and testing limits...and we know that their parents typically aren't passive, permissive, inconsistent, non-contingent disciplinarians. We know that behaviorally challenging kids are lacking crucial cognitive skills -- especially in the domains of flexibility/adaptability, frustration tolerance, and problem solving -- and that they exhibit challenging behavior in situations (called unsolved problems) in which those skills are demanded.

Do your lenses need adjusting? Are you ready to try on some progressive lenses? The video clips below (filmed in Regina, Saskatchewan) will help you move in that direction.

Kids Do Well If They Can

This is the most important theme of Dr. Greene's model: 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 behavior. That’s because doing well is always preferable to not doing well.

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What's Your Explanation?

Your explanation for a kid's is challenging behavior has major implications for how you'll try to help. If you believe a kid is challenging because of lagging skills and unsolved problems, then rewarding and punishing may not be the ideal approach. Solving those problems and teaching those skills would make perfect sense.

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Plan B

Once you’ve identified the unsolved problems that are precipitating challenging episodes, and determined the two or three high-priority unsolved problems you want to solve, you're ready for Plan B. Don't forget, timing is everything. This one may be worth watching more than once.

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