Dr. Ross Greene Seminar

I had the pleasure of attending a seminar given by Dr. Ross Greene last year.  Some of you may be familiar with him, author of,  “The Explosive Child” and “Lost at School“. Dr. Greene is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the originator of the Collaborative Problem Solving approach. He is a wonderful speaker and I’d urge anyone if they have the chance to see him to do so.  Below are my notes from the seminar that I attended.  I did try to use quotations marks (there are a lot of them) on all of Ross Greene’s direct quotes whether they be verbal from his seminar or from his handouts.

“Kid’s do well if they can. If they can’t, we adults need to figure out what’s getting in the way, so we can help.”

“Defintion of “Good Parenting”, “Good Teaching”, and “Good Treatment”: “Being responsive to the hand you’ve been dealt.”

But to be responsive to the hand you’ve been dealt don’t you need to know the cards you are holding? ( Hmmm, identifying the problems / lagging skills)

Ross Greene asked the audience why we thought he had well behaved children???? His answer, “Because I’m lucky.”

He then asked the audience how many of you have well behaved children? Some people raised their hands and he said, “Parent’s of well behaved children take way too much credit for them being well behaved and parents of challenging children take way too much blame.”

When Ross Greene first started his career he believed challenging children came from “passive, permissive, inconsistant, non-contingent parenting”. But after three years he began to LISTEN to parents. Many of these parents also had well behaved children. He thought how could these “passive, permissive, inconsistant, non-contingent parents” also have a well behaved child????

This lead him to his research.

Children learn that using challenging behavior tends to get them something (Ex: Attention, Leaving the room during a challenging task, etc…) or Escaping and Avoiding something (reading to the class, writing on the board, homework, etc….)

“If the kid has the skills to go about getting, escaping, and avoiding in an adaptive fashion, then why is he getting, escaping, avoiding in such a maldaptive fashion?”

“Doesn’t the fact that the kid is going about getting, escaping, and avoiding in a maldaptive fashion suggest that he doesn’t have the skills to go about getting, escaping, and avoiding in an adaptive fashion?”

“Mantra : Doing well is always preferable to not doing well (assuming the kid has the skills.)”

Educator’s tend to sacrifice the challenging child for the sake of the group.

“Challenging behaviors occur when environmental demands exceed the child’s capacity to respond adaptively.”

Get rid of the dead end excuses so we can help the child.

Diagnosis’ give an excuse to blame the child to not have to help them. Ex: Oh, he has ADHD. or She has BiPolar.

It is in his blood. (The Mother is a NUT! Okay I just had to throw that one in!!! 🙂 )

They just want attention. (Don’t most people want attention?)

She just wants her own way. (Who here doesn’t want their own way? Do you prefer doing it someone else’s way?)

He is manipulating us. (Wait don’t many jobs require us to have the skill of good manipulation or competent manipulation?) Oh so now you get it, if you actually KNOW the kid is trying to manipulate you then you know he must be lagging the skills to be a good manipulator.

How about those bad attitudes? Let’s see if you were in the hosptial and weren’t feeling well and they weren’t using the correct medical interventions or treatments and you weren’t getting any better would you have a bad attitude?

Oh, now we are ready to help the child!!!

PLAN A- Imposing adult will upon the child. PLAN A DOESN”T WORK FOR CHILDREN WHO DON’T HAVE PLAN A BRAINS. These children lack skills to respond to the adult appropriately.

PLAN B- Collaborative Problem Solving (more on this in a minute.)

PLAN C- Drop it ( at least for now) You can not adress every behavior at once so sometimes you may need to drop the lesser of the evil.

“Mantra: It’s fine to know what to do when a kid becomes assaultive and destructive…. but it’s far more important to know what to do so he doesn’t become assaultive and destructive.”

So what to do to implement Plan B?

First is the information and gathering stage. You want to get the child’s concerns. Schedule a meeting.

WAIT, you don’t have time for a meeting? Well doing Plan B will save time in the long run verses having continual challenging behaviors in your classroom.

Second you want to define the problem.

Third you want to brainstorm.

What does this look like?

The meeting: Bob, I noticed that you haven’t been finshing your homework. What’s going on?

Bob: It’s too hard.

Keep probing.

What is too hard?

Bob: I don’t know

Keep probing.

Is your math work too hard?

Bob: No.

Keep probing.

Is matching your vocabulary words to the defintions too hard?

Bob: No.

Keep probing.

Is your Science reading too hard?

Bob: No but it is the essay I have to write afterwards that is too hard.


What skills is Bob lagging to do his writing? Is it the act of writng, is it organizing his thoughts on paper, etc…?

Share how you are feeling too. Then come up with solutions and address the needed skills.




Plan B Flow Chart


For more info. go to: http://www.livesinbalance.org

I’m seldom impressed by speakers but this guy is a must see!

copyrighted 2011; danadogooder and DMT


About danadogooder

Happily married for 20 years except when he is pissing me off! ' Mommy of 3 boys, a yellow female lab named Curious, 2 kitties Trouble and Kornelia, and bird and fish! Yes, we have a Zoo! Love to cook, entertain, and travel. I give new meaning to, "You can't fight city hall" Cause I fought worse, "Yes, The Board of Ed! " I live in a houseful of ADHD, Dyslexia, Auditory Processing, Sensory Integration and Allergies!!! I love being a Mom, to have fun and am always joking around! My job titles are: Wife, Mommy, Advocate, Friend, Maid, Cook, Self Employed Business Owner among many others!
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