Monday, April 15, 2013

Carl Honore - Slow Fix parenting and CPS - collaborative problem solving

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.