1. Your New Lenses Have Arrived

The big shift: focus on the problems that are causing concerning behaviors (and solving them) rather than on the concerning behaviors that are being caused by those problems (and modifying them).

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 concerning behavior in the first place. Concerning behavior is best understood a child’s frustration response. It communicates that there’s an expectation the child is having difficulty meeting. Some common characterizations of concerning behavior — that it’s attention-seeking, manipulative, coercive, unmotivated, limit-testing — are inaccurate and counterproductive and may not be serving you or the kids well at all. And common behavior modification strategies — teaching and re-teaching replacement behaviors, rewarding desired behaviors, and punishing undesired behaviors (through detentions, suspensions, expulsions, and corporal punishment) don’t solve any of the problems that are causing a student’s concerning behaviors.

So we need to help you focus less on the child’s concerning behavior and more on the expectations the child is having difficulty meeting. In the Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) model, those unmet expectations are called “unsolved problems,” and, as you’ll learn, they’re highly predictable. Which means that they can be identified and solved proactively. 

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 True Crisis Prevention, 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.