Sunday, February 22, 2009

Plan B

Here is what you do with the inventory if you used it for your child. Look at the Unsolved Problems at the bottom and choose the one you would like to work on first. At our house I chose working on completing homework with Taz. He recommended picking one behavior and one child and use this until you can work Plan B well. There are 3 steps. They are Empathy, Define the Problem and Invitation.

Step One: Empathy

This is drilling to the bottom of the problem. It requires a calm, non confrontational conversation in which you are are trying to really see how the child sees this. You make a neutral statement such as "I noticed you are having trouble getting home work done.". Then an inquiry which is almost always "What's up?" As he begins to talk you repeat back to see if you understand. This is not the time to chew them out or tell them what you think. This is the time to gather information. Taz's concern seemed to be the amount of homework and that he would be stuck all evening with it.

Step Two: Define the Problem

Once you have let them really get to the bottom of it and have patiently listened and worked to help them feel really understood it is time to tell them what you would like to see happen. This starts with a phrase such as "Here's the thing..." or "My concern is..." They are much more likely to listen to your concern if you listened carefully to theirs. Our conversation went something like this. "My concern is we are not getting much time together because you have lost privileges for not completing your homework. I'd really like us to be able to do more things together."

Step Three: Invitation

This is time for both of you to sit and brain storm as many ideas as possible. Don't over react if some of their ideas are out there. Just come up with as many ideas as you can. The point here that whatever ideas you have MUST meet both your needs. Our ideas had to help Taz complete homework, not take the whole evening, and give him more time for family activities afterwards.

He came up with the idea of doing homework for one hour every night. I am not sure this is enough but it is more than he is doing. So this is how it closes. "OK. I'm willing to give that plan a try. We will have you do one hour of homework a night for a week and we will meet again next week to go over the plan and see how it has worked."

This plan is some work and some self control on moms part but I have found already that it is working well. He said not to be discouraged if you have to meet with the child a few times before you come up with a plan that works.

I think you can see that this helps teach some lagging skills: problem solving,cause and effect thinking and working together.

I hope it works for you! : ) More about this plan can be found in his books The Explosive Child and Lost at School. Also check out his websites: or


Hannah said...

This is basically what we would call a verbal SODA...Situation, options, disadvantages, advantages...It's part of the Boy's Town model that we used at the group homes Kaleb and I were staff at. I love the part where you start out with Empathy. :) Very important.

Brenda said...

I am sure there are many versions of this. Most of our schools around here "use" the Boys Town model. The secret is remembering to actually do it.