Your journey toward eliminating the use of restraint and seclusion in your school or classroom begins with a hard look at your beliefs about why kids exhibit challenging behavior. Some common characterizations of challenging behavior — that it’s attention-seeking, manipulative, coercive, unmotivated, limit-testing — may be inaccurate and counterproductive and may not be serving you or the kids well at all. Better to think of challenging behavior as a signal: simply the means by which a student is communicating something very important: I’m stuck…there are expectations I’m having difficulty meeting.
So we need to help you focus less on the child’s behavior — and less on strategies for modifying behavior (rewards, punishments, levels, stickers) — and more on the expectations the child is having difficulty meeting. We’re going to call those unmet expectations “unsolved problems,” and, as you’ll learn, they’re highly predictable. Which means that they can be identified and solved proactively.
Rewards and punishments don’t solve those problems. They just fuel the frustration of kids who are having difficulty meeting your expectations.
You’ll learn how to identify unsolved problems in Section #2, and you’ll learn how to solve them in Section #3.
But, for now, here are a few video clips to help you get comfortable with these new lenses. In the first video clip, you’ll hear about why it’s so important to shift from focusing on behaviors to focusing on the problems that are causing those behaviors (that guy who’s speaking is Dr. Ross Greene, author of The Explosive Child, Lost at School, Lost & Found, and Raising Human Beings, and founding director of the sponsor of this website, the non-profit Lives in the Balance).
In the second video clip, Dr. Greene describes the key theme of the CPS model: Kids do well if they can. In other words, if a student could do well, s/he would do well. That’s because doing well is always preferable to not doing well.