You could be the best parent in the world, but even providing quality attention and care, your child may still exhibit more behavioral challenges than normal. These challenges can range from a low tolerance for frustration to a tendency to challenge and/or defy authority figures.

A “time out” or other traditional forms of discipline may not be the right solution to address the root of these behaviors, especially in cases where the child is a victim of abuse.

We here at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Hidalgo and Starr Counties (CACHSC) are advocates for victimized children and strive to provide resources to make victims of child abuse feel safe, heard, and protected.

In our mission to educate our community, we offer insight into the causes of problematic behavior and possible treatment options for children. One of these treatment options is Collaborative Problem Solving.

Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS)

Created by J. Stuart Ablon and Ross Greene, CPS is an evidence-based treatment model designed to help caregivers and parents build relationships with their kids to overcome challenging behavior.

One of the main reasons that children act out is a lack of basic cognitive skills required to perform tasks being asked of them. Children who exhibit disruptive or challenging behavior tend to be misunderstood, and subsequently, mistreated.

Kids aren’t born with an innate desire to misbehave or be disobedient; simply put, they just don’t possess the skills to behave well. The Collaborative Problem Solving approach focuses on the idea that “kids do well if they can.” Via… Click To Tweet

How Does Collaborative Problem Solving Work?

CPS trains parents and caregivers via family therapy sessions. Conducted both with and without the child, these sessions take place over 10 to 12 weeks, on average.

In these sessions, parents are introduced to the main principles of CPS and how to approach the treatment. They’re taught how to assess and measure factors relative to challenging behavior and how to identify lagging skills.

A key component of these sessions is the introduction of a three-option planning process to better prioritize behavioral goals and decide how to best respond to expected challenges based on the goals a family is trying to achieve:

    • Plan A: Imposition of Adult Will

This option is the most authoritarian approach of the bunch wherein parents assert their will on the child to meet their expectations. Though it does have a place in situations where a child is exhibiting harmful behavior or safety concerns, it can exacerbate difficult behavior.

    • Plan B: Solve the Problem Collaboratively

In this option, caregivers and children solve problems together, work to improve lagging skills, and build their overall relationship. Parents use empathy to express an understanding of the child’s dilemma before proceeding to express their concerns about the situation. They then invite the child to collaborate with them in finding a solution to the dilemma.

    • Plan C: Temporarily Lower Expectations

In situations where expectations aren’t met after Plan A, Plan C is introduced as a strategic way to move past the dilemma until the child is equipped with the skills to handle the issue. This plan is ideal for putting aside certain problems that aren’t priority items.

Helping Victimized Children in the Rio Grande Valley

Years of research have proved that the CPS model not only improves behavior but also enhances skills.

CACSHC is committed to helping survivors of abuse through a variety of therapy services including CPS. Our goal is to support kids so they may recover from their trauma by acting as a guiding light down a dark road.

If you wish to support our efforts, we encourage you to make a donation or volunteer your time to make a positive impact within our community.