Ep. 39: Dr. Ross Greene — A Better Way to Help Kids Solve Problems

My guest this week is psychologist and author Dr. Ross Greene. Ross encourages parents to let go of unhelpful efforts to help kids who aren’t meeting our expectations, such as punishment and other parent-imposed solutions. His approach focuses instead on solving problems collaboratively with our children, using a straightforward three-step method. Topics we explored together included:

  • The importance of the lens through which we view children
  • The belief that “Kids do well if they wanna” vs. “Kids do well if they can”
  • The danger of missing important information about our kids by jumping to adult-imposed consequences
  • The advantages of asking the child what’s getting in the way of meeting an expectation
  • The messages we inadvertently give kids when we don’t take the time to listen
  • What all kids need from their parents
  • Good parenting as knowing and being responsive to the child’s goals, preferences, and skills
  • “Problem behaviors” vs. “Unsolved problems”
  • The paradox of having less control over kids by trying to impose one’s will
  • Ross’s Collaborative and Proactive Solutions approach
  • The advantage of solving problems proactively rather than in the heat of the moment
  • How to address parental concerns with your child
  • Collaborating with your child to develop solutions for unsolved problems
  • The downsides of quickly jumping to a “life lesson” with our kids
  • The cost of being busy on having time to solve problems collaboratively

Ross mentioned Tony Wagner’s books, which you can check out on Tony’s Amazon page. His most popular books include Most Likely to Succeed and The Global Achievement Gap

The book Ross and I focused on is available here: Raising Human Beingshe’s written other books, including The Explosive Child and Lost and Found. (A percentage of each purchase made through these affiliate links will be used to support the podcast, at no additional cost to you.)

Ross W. Greene, PhD, is adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech and adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Science at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. He served on the Harvard Medical School faculty for over 20 years. He completed his PhD in clinical psychology with Dr. Tom Ollendick, a distinguished professor and director of the Child Study Center at Virginia Tech.

Ross founded a not-for-profit organization called Lives in the Balance, which aims to disseminate his Collaborative and Proactive Solutions model through free web-based programming and to support and advocate on behalf of behaviorally challenging kids and their parents, teachers, and other caregivers.

He was the executive producer and developer of the film “The Kids We Lose,” which won the Best Feature Documentary Award at the 2018 New Hampshire Film Festival, at the 2019 Women’s Film Festival in Philadelphia, and at the 2019 Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival.

Ross consults extensively to families, general and special education schools, inpatient and residential facilities, and systems of juvenile detention. He lectures widely throughout the world and has received research funding from the Stanley Research Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the US Department of Education, and the Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group. His media appearances include The Oprah Show, Good Morning America, Dateline NBC, the CBS Morning Show, and National Public Radio, and his work has been featured in The Atlantic, Mother Jones Magazine, and The Washington Post.

Find Ross online at his Lives in the Balance website.

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