Parents of challenging children are often warned that there is no ' quick fix ' or 'magic bullet ' .
But the typical advice they are given are the quick fixes and magic bullets of parenting – medicating the child and treating the behaviors with behavior modification techniques such as rewards, punishments and consequences. At most they may make a kid look good and get short-term compliance.
Quick fixes may help in the short-term and compensate for lagging skills a kid may have , but they don't address the long term concerns and goals we have for challenging kids- helping them acquire the many cognitive and life skills needed to flourish in school, family and community and being off medication.
Carl Honore , the author of Slow Fix , explains in the parenting clip
the Slow Fix and parenting , that that there is no ' quick fix' , and only the ' slow fix ' approach to parenting can meet parenting challenges. Parenting is then, not about choosing parenting tools or using techniques , but becomes a ' slow process' of listening, collaborative problem solving and relationship.
This Slow-fix mindset is crucial for engaging in Dr Ross Greene's CPS – collaborative problem solving model.
The mantra – children do well if they can and not if they want to, gets us into the slow fix mode. We have to take it ' slow' , very slow. The first step of the cps process – is the empathy step ,where we gather information about the child's concerns and perspective about the problem , must be slow. We must discard our theories and be open for surprises. We need to do the listening and the kid – the talking , at most we can use dialog questions to try and drill down to get a clear understanding of their concerns. The kid must feel understood and heard and trust that the parent is there as a help. This can take more than one session. If the kid needs some time alone to ' think about it ' –give him the time. The same goes for the other steps in the model.
Sometimes parents and kids get stuck when trying to brainstorm a mutually satisfying solution. Again, they can come back and try again after having some time to think about it. Solutions are also not ' quick fixes'. In real life , the first solution is rarely the lasting and durable solution. The slow-fix means That we will be reviewing how our solutions are working out , and if neccessary we will together with the kid be going back to the drawing board and working on better solutions.
Quick fixes – medication , rewards, consequences and punishments are things that we would love to give up. It is preferable to have a kid intrinsically motivated and not on drugs . Unlike the quick fixes , the slow fix is about ' process' and being involved in ' process' means there is learning taking place all the time.
So when we are engaging in CPS – collaborative problem solving remember to wear your Slow fix hat.