Educating Teachers and Parents on New Approaches to Challenging Behavior in Kids

The meltdown in the dentist’s waiting room, the tantrum during dinner at Grandma’s, the phone call from a school principal… most parents experience something like this at some point. All children have times when they struggle to handle life’s expectations. Some children respond by whining, pouting, sulking, crying, or withdrawing. Others behave in ways that are more concerning, like hitting, kicking, screaming, swearing, or biting. Either way, parents, teachers and other adults often feel at a loss to help. In these difficult moments, caring adults may respond in ways that are not only unhelpful, but can even have a detrimental impact on their relationship with the child.

This is where Ross Greene, Ph.D., author and expert in working with challenging students, and the creator of the Collaborative and Proactive Solutions model can help parents, students, teachers, and families.

Greene will be speaking at Wilton High School’s Clune Center on Monday, Oct. 8, at 5 p.m., presenting, “Children Do Well When They Can:  Identifying & Collaboratively Solving the Problems That Cause Challenging Behavior.”

In addition to present to parents and other concerned adults, Greene will also work with the Wilton Public Schools in the 2018-2019 school year. This will begin with keynote addresses for elementary, middle and high school faculty on Oct. 8, which is a professional development day for district staff.

The faculty will be learning more about Greene’s model. In his groundbreaking work, Greene reminds that, “Kids do well if they can.” When they cannot do well, it is because they have lagging skills and unsolved problems. Difficult behaviors are simply the way that some children communicate that they are struggling to meet our expectations.

Greene’s presentation is something Andrea Leonardi, assistant superintendent for student services, is eagerly anticipating.

“Using the Collaborative and Proactive Solutions model, Dr. Greene helps adults better understand the underlying issues that are at the root of challenging behavior. He teaches adults how to identify the lagging skills and unsolved problems that lead to the behavior, and then how to work collaboratively with the student to teach new skills and help solve problems,” she says.

Organizers were very interested in having parents benefit from learning about Greene’s work directly from him.

“We are so fortunate that Dr. Greene has agreed to stay into the evening, so that parents can also hear from him,” says Janine Kelly, a volunteer with SPED*NET Wilton, the Special Education Network of Wilton. “His approach can be helpful to all parents.”

Throughout this school year the Wilton Public Schools will be learning more about this model. Each school is establishing a 10-person team of faculty and staff who will work with Greene to become proficient in the use of these techniques and develop skills in coaching others. The district has worked with Greene to create a plan to help teachers, faculty, administration, staff, and parents learn how to help students with effective self-regulation and problem-solving strategies.

“We are starting small, in order to gain momentum. At the end of this year, forty people in the district will be proficient in the model. At that point, we will work with each school to determine the next steps and identify ways to increase proficiency,” says Leonardi. “One of the benefits of having Dr. Greene present to parents is that both parents and the schools will be familiar with the model and able to speak the same language,” adds Kelly.

Greene served on the teaching faculty at Harvard Medical School for over 20years, and is the Founding Director of the non-profit Lives in the Balance, which provides free, web-based resources on the CPS model. He lectures and provides consultation to families, schools, and restrictive therapeutic facilities throughout the world. He lives in Portland, Maine.

“What’s wonderful about Dr. Greene’s approach is that it helps us reconnect with how to talk to each other. It reminds us to take a breath, ask the right questions, and LISTEN to the responses, and THEN work collaboratively to help students meet our expectations,” explains Leonardi. “The model is elegant in its simplicity. Developing these skills supports our goal to create collaborative, trusting relationships among all stakeholders.”

The evening presentation is free and open to the public. Parents, professionals, school staff and other interested adults are welcome. The program is appropriate for parents with children of all ages, stages, and abilities.

Admission is free. Online registration is recommended. The program will begin promptly 5 p.m..

For more information, email Genevieve Eason.

Sponsored by:  Wilton Public Schools, SPED*NET Wilton, Wilton Youth Council, and Wilton Youth Services