Advice on how kids do better if they can vs. if they want to

Watch Video: Advice on how kids do better if they can vs. if they want to by Ross W. Greene, PhD, ...
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Advice on how kids do better if they can vs. if they want to

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You know there are two philosophies that you could apply to a child that's not doing well. And in the case of the children that I work with, it's mostly kids who have behavioral challenges. What we've been believing about them for a very long time is the philosophy called kids do well if they want to. The belief that if a child isn't doing well, isn't behaving himself, it must be because he doesn't want to behave himself. He doesn't want to do well. And I find that that's not the best belief system. I find that it's inaccurate. But I can tell you what it leads us to. It leads us to interventions aimed at making kids want to do well. How do you make a kid want to do well? We are all very familiar with the strategies. You reward the behaviors you like so as to see more of them. You punish the behaviors you don’t so as to see less of them. And are now in the business of making a kid want to do well founded on the belief that he didn't want to do well in the first place. Important question to ask. Why would any kid not want to do well? Don't all of us do pretty much do the best we can in pretty much most of the circumstances we find ourselves in? Kids do well if they can takes us in a completely different direction. It's the belief that if this kid could do well, he would do well. And if he's not doing well, something must be getting in his way. The most important role that an adult can play in the life of a kid who's not doing well isn't to come up with another more creative, more potent reward or punishment to make the kid want to do well. But rather to finally at long last figure out what's been getting in his way. Until we figure that out, we're not going to be very successful at helping the kid.

Watch Video: Advice on how kids do better if they can vs. if they want to by Ross W. Greene, PhD, ...

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Ross W. Greene, PhD

Psychologist, Author & Researcher

Ross W. Greene, Ph.D., is the author of the well-known books The Explosive Child and Lost at School, and the originator of a model of care (now known as Collaborative & Proactive Solutions) emphasizing collaboration between kids and adults in resolving the problems contributing to children’s behavioral challenges.  He is also associate clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, on the professional staff at the Cambridge Hospital, adjunct associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech, and senior lecturer in the graduate program in school psychology in the Department of Education at Tufts University.  Dr. Greene founded the non-profit Lives in the Balance to provide free, web-based resources on his model and to advocate on behalf of behaviorally challenging kids and their parents, teachers, and other caregivers.  He lectures widely throughout the world and lives in Portland, Maine, with his wife and two kids.

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