"Being Collaborative" vs. Doing Plan B

Mar 19, 2017 Vicki CPS, Plan B

Before I learned about Dr. Ross Greene's Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS) approach, I used to think of myself as a pretty collaborative and respectful parent. I used reflective listening, I considered my child's point of view, I showed empathy, and I expressed my expectations in language that was as neutral as possible. I often invited my children to suggest solutions to problems in their lives.

If you're familiar with Dr. Greene's work, you may recognize all these approaches as the "ingredients" of Plan B. But - and this is the crucial point I want to make here - we were NOT doing Plan B. So we still had problems. No matter that I was using all the right ingredients - I was not following the recipe. And my children did not feel heard. We were actually - without realizing it - doing a disguised version of Plan A.

I have heard many people say that they've read The Explosive Child and used the ideas from it, but that it didn't really work well for them. Usually this is because, although they were well-meaning and enthusiastic about the model, the family didn't actually use the tools of the model. They didn't do the ALSUP, and they didn't structure their conversation with the child according to the Plan B model.

If you're like the "old me", you believe you are being collaborative, and you are frustrated by your child still not meeting your expectations, I would encourage you to keep going back to the source material. It wasn't until we actually sat down and used the ALSUP, planned out and rehearsed our Plan B conversations, and tried doing things in this highly structured way, that we started to get some traction. 

If you're having trouble figuring out how to use the tools, The B Team group on Facebook is a wonderful source of help and support! Tell the group what is not working for you and why, and make good use of this group of detectives. The CPS model is effective, but it's not always easy to learn and to get good at.