PT – ADVISOR TRAINING – Module 3: Problem Solving
PARENTS TOOLSHOP® ADVISOR TRAINING MANUAL
MODULE 3: PROBLEM-SOLVING
If you prefer to download and print out this module to read, click here for the pdf file.
You will use problem-solving when clients want to know how to respond to a particular parenting challenge. What you do is walk them through the Universal Blueprint® decision-making process. Where the client is, in learning the Universal Blueprint®, determines how you guide them.
In all cases, you use the Universal Blueprint® as an Advisor, to support the client in finding his/her own solutions.
In problem-solving, the other person has a problem, so it’s a “C problem” (in this case, Client). Just like Child problems, you will use F-A-X Listening to guide them to their own solution:
- Focus on Feelings. Acknowledge, validate and normalize their feelings, to free them from guilt/shame.
- Ask Helpful Questions that will help them identify what type of problem they are facing,
- X-amine Possible Options for responding, following the PASRR formula for that type of problem, guiding them to the most appropriate tools at each step for their situation and child.
If they know the Universal Blueprint® system (Grads), you can simply ask the 3 Universal Blueprint® questions. If they have problems knowing how to answer, you can prompt them with questions that remind them of what to consider when answering that question. (See language/script below.)
You can give them any information/skills/tools/explanations you know, unless it would lead you into teaching information that’s already available to them elsewhere, such as The Parent’s Toolshop® book, T.I.P.S. on-line training videos, Lunch & Learn audios, or teleseminar resources. You can recommend they get the resource and review the information between sessions. (Many grads will already have access; they just need pointed to the best resource for the situation.). Then, if they are still having a challenge, you can either help them apply the new information to their situation or look for a deeper problem in the next session.
If they are learning the Universal Blueprint® system (T.I.P.S classes offer advanced learning, free courses offer basic overview), find out what program they are in and what chapter/lesson they are on. Now you know how far into the UB® you can refer to.
You can simply ask the 3 Universal Blueprint® questions. If they have problems knowing how to answer, you can prompt with questions that remind them of what to consider when answering that question — up to the lesson/chapter they are on.
If they really need a solution that session, you can give them a quick tip to try, but tell them there are other tools they haven’t yet learned that would help them respond in ways that get the best results possible. Encourage them to continue their course, so they can get to that section and you can revisit the issue with their new skills, if it’s still occurring.
If they have no knowledge of the system, you won’t be able to simply ask them the three Universal Blueprint® questions. Instead, you’ll need to ask them questions that help you use the UB® to figure out what type of problem they are dealing with. Then you walk through the PASRR Formula in your own mind and ask clients questions at each step, to help them plan a helpful response that’s customized to their needs. (See the Language/Script section below.) Refer them to the 30-Day course so they can at least get the basic informational teachings.
Problem-solving always starts when a client shares a concern, problem, or challenge. The Advisor will always follow the first step below and will choose how to do steps 2 and 3 based on what the client already knows about the Universal Blueprint® system:
1. Focus on the Client’s Feelings First.
Acknowledge their frustration, etc. Allow time for the client’s response. You may need to stay at this step for a while, to work through feelings, but recognize if the client is getting stuck.
- If they are getting stuck in feelings or the story, ask them, “How would it feel to have a solution to this challenge, to know what you could say or do if it happens again?”
- If they say anything negative, like “that’s impossible,” then a belief is blocking them. Ask helpful questions that relate to their internal issues. This will require a little mini-coaching session, using the coaching skills described in module #5. Only focus on shifting the beliefs that are blocking them in this situation, so you don’t get sidetracked and they still get a solution or helpful response to try.
- If they respond positively, move to the next step.
2. Ask Helpful Questions
This step deals with the facts, thoughts, or beliefs involved. What you want to figure out at this step is, “What type of problem is this?” How you discover this (what you say) will depend on how much the client already knows about the Universal Blueprint®, its tools, and how well they’ve master the skills.
2a. If the Client Knows the Universal Blueprint® System (Grads)
You can simply ask the 3 Universal Blueprint® questions:
Question 1: Is any part of this a Child Problem? What part of this is a Parent Problem?
- Graduates are usually very clear about the difference between Child and Parent problems and not taking over Child problems. If they aren’t sure, you can remind them of the PESS and SHARP RV issues, to help them decide.
- If it’s a 100% Child problem, X-amine possible options they have for using F-A-X Listening in the situation. You can do skill-building role plays to help them apply the skill to their situation.
- If it’s a combo problem, help them figure out the Child’s problem first and whether they need to use a ½ sentence or full F-A-X listening session with their child to resolve it. Help them plan what they would say, either way.
- If it’s a Parent problem, ask them which SHARP RV issue(s) are involved and how they can communicate their concern. Refer to the communication skills in Chapter 10/or free course Lesson 21.
If any part of the problem is a Parent problem, ask if there is misbehavior involved. (You may already know from their description of the problem, but make that connection with the client anyway.) If there is misbehavior, go to the Question 2.
Question 2: “What type of misbehavior is it, PU or PO?”
- Graduates are often quite clear about whether their children have mastered a skill, but it’s always good to get them to stop at this step to really consider whether there is any PU behavior here. Pause at this step long enough to be sure they are positive it’s PU or PO.
- If it’s PU, identify what skill the child needs to master and brainstorm ways the parent can help the child learn, practice or master that skill.
- If it’s PO, go to Question 3.
Question 3: “If it’s on purpose, what’s the purpose?” This is where most people get stuck, because one behavior can serve more than one goal.
- Graduates can usually tell the difference, but sometimes a child can use the same behavior for more than one purpose or sometimes it’s PU and sometimes it’s PO. Be sure to remind them that, one behavior can never be multiple goals or both PU and PO at one specific second in time.
- Either the child has mastered the skill or not. It’s similar to “you can’t be kind of pregnant!” Either you are or not! (You’ll hear an example of this in the 8-12-11 Grad call recording, which you’ll listen to for your assignment for this module.)
- One goal can “morph” into another goal if the first response is ineffective.
- PU behavior can “morph” into PO if it gets a reaction.
- Have them rewind back to the very first time it happens, before they start “trying to stop it.” Is it PU or PO? If PO, what’s the goal? If they respond helpfully here, it might not “morph” into something different later.
- Most Graduates have the Misbehavior Matching Game “cheat sheet.” (It’s in the On-line T.I.P.S. training and the key is in the GF Training Manual “TIPS class handouts” file folder.) You can suggest they refer to it. If they don’t have it close-by, you can refer to yours and send them the link to it. Use it to answer the clue-finding questions that help them answer question 3, “If it’s PO, what’s the purpose?”
- The key to answering this UB® question is in their feelings. So ask them how they feel when this behavior happens. Repeat back the feelings that are the biggest clues to the goal (see the Misbehavior Matching Game “cheat sheet”).
Once they identify the problem type, guide them through the PASRR Formula to plan a helpful response.
For the first three steps, “Prevent the problem from starting or worsening,” “Acknowledge feelings,” and “Set limits or express concerns,” either of you can refer to the following:
- All graduates will have The Parent’s Toolshop® book. Have them go to the Decision-Making Worksheet on page 376. On-line T.I.P.S. grads will have this form as a file to print.
- On-line T.I.P.S. Graduates and live workshop graduates who have bought the all-inclusive Graduate Resource Package will have the 11’x17” full-color poster (same as the last page of the book) and the Hintbook (which can guide them through the process you are guiding them through now). Refer them to these resources (and the Misbehavior Matching Game “cheat sheet” mentioned earlier) to do this problem-solving independently, between sessions. This will free up your sessions to focus on deeper self-growth issues and less “putting out fires.”
To Redirect misbehavior, refer to the “cheat sheet” for the best 1-2-3 response. Ask the client questions to help them formulate the words they want to use in their response.
- You can take the PASRR Formula all the way to discipline and have them plan what the discipline would be and how to say it, following the “Language of Discipline” handout. (All T.I.P.S. Grads have this in their Week 9 training resources and live workshop participants receive it as a handout.)
2b. If they are learning the Universal Blueprint® system (T.I.P.S. is advanced learning, Free 30-Day course is basic overview):
These clients have learned at least the basics of the Universal Blueprint® system if they have read Chapter 3 of The Parent’s Toolshop® book, finished T.I .P.S. session 2, or 30-day free e-course Lesson 5.
Since these are only the initial overview lessons about the UB, they still might have problems knowing how to answer the three questions in an advanced way. You can prompt them with questions that remind them of the things they consider when answering that question.
Remember, you take the same first two steps that were described above in detail:
1. Focus on the client’s feelings first.
2. Ask helpful questions. This step deals with the facts, thoughts, or beliefs involved. What you want to figure out at this step is, “What type of problem is this?”
At this step, you can simply ask the 3 Universal Blueprint® questions. If they have problems knowing how to answer, you can prompt with questions that remind them of the things they consider when answering that question — up to the lesson/chapter they are on. For example:
Question 1: Is it a Child Problem or Parent Problem?
If the client does not remember how to determine this you could ask:
“Are there any PESS issues? Are there any SHARP RV issues?” You can remind them what those acronyms stand for. If they don’t know or remember these, then you can list what they are.
If the client does know how to answer the questions, start walking them through the PASRR formula.
“So what could you do to prevent the problem?” You can be thinking of possible tools/ideas you think might work. If they don’t think of them, you can ask, “What do you think might happen if you tried _____________?”
If it’s a Child problem, find out whether they’ve learned how to do F-A-X listening yet. (It’s Chapter 7 & 8 of The Parent’s Toolshop® book, Week 6 of T.I.P.S., and Lessons 18 & 19 of the free 30-day e-course.)
If they have learned F-A-X Listening, guide them through the process of figuring out how to apply it to their situation. You can do skill-building role plays to help them better master the skills.
If they have not learned F-A-X Listening yet, just use the level of knowledge they have learned in the UB® chapter/lesson and guide them through the basics of:
- Acknowledging the child’s feelings, using very basic language.
- Keeping the ball in the child’s court while brainstorming possible options the child can try to solve his/her own problem.
Do not get into advanced F-A-X Listening concepts/skills or try to get them to use them. Just stick to the basics, so they can formulate a helpful response without the session getting sidetracked into teaching new skills/concepts.
If it’s a combo problem, they may forget to break down the problem into its smaller parts. Help them do this and to figure out what part is the Child’s problem is and how they can use an abbreviated version of F-A-X listening with their child, since they don’t know how to do the full process. Help them plan what they would say:
- How can they acknowledge the child’s feelings?
- In one sentence, what is a helpful question they could ask that would lead to brainstorming? For example, saying to the child, “So what could you do…?”
- If it’s a Parent problem, ask them which SHARP RV issue(s) are involved and how they can communicate their concern. Refer to the communication skills in The Parent’s Toolshop® Chapter 10 or Free 30-Day Course Lesson 23. If they haven’t gotten there, you can offer a suggestion, but be sure to tell that them if they continue the course, they will learn more options they can try on their own, without having to rely on you.
After doing one of the above, ask if there is misbehavior involved. (You may already know from their description of the problem.) If there is misbehavior, go to the Question 2.
Question 2: “What Type Of Misbehavior Is It, PU or PO?”
Non-graduates often assume all misbehavior is PO. If they aren’t sure or have not gotten to the UB® chapter/lesson, you can ask them the most important, most-basic question to consider, “Has this child consistently shown mastery of the necessary skills to behave properly in this situation?”
You may need to help them identify what skill the child might need to master and whether the child has mastered it. You can explore this with them, with questions such as, “Have you told them a million times what not to do or taken the time to teach the skill?” or “Do you think the child has mastered the skill or is still learning?”
- If it’s PU, identify what skill the child needs to master and brainstorm ways the parent can help the child remember, learn, practice or master that skill.
- If it’s PO, go to Question 3.
Question 3: “If It’s On Purpose, What’s The Purpose?”
Non-graduates who haven’t gotten to this section in Chapter 12 of The Parent’s Toolshop® book, on-line T.I.P.S. Module 8, or 30-Days To Parenting Success lessons 25 & 26 usually have never even considered or been exposed to this concept/question. They may have some idea about why their child is misbehaving, but are unaware all those reasons will fit within the “4 Goals,” which each have a reliable effective response.
- You’ll need to do the clue-finding, by asking them questions (see the “example” below) and encouraging them to keep moving through their course, so they can do this independently in the future.
Non-graduates who have gotten to this section in a full-length T.I.P.S. class (live or on-line), may understand the basic concept, but haven’t mastered the skill of identifying the difference. You can refer to the same steps/information for this that you do with graduates.
- If they have the Misbehavior Matching Game “cheat sheet” (It’s in the GF’s “TIPS class handouts” file folder.), you can suggest they refer to it. If they don’t have it close-by, you can refer to yours, and help them answer question 3.
- The key to answering this UB® question is in their feelings. So ask them how they feel when their child behaves this way. Repeat back the feelings that are the biggest clues to the goal (see the cheat sheet).
If they have gotten to this lesson in the 30-Days to Parenting Success course, they only have very basic information and may still get easily confused, finding it difficult to tell the difference between the misbehavior goals. That’s the level you will need to work with them at.
- You are going to be listening to what the parent has been describing and trying to figure out for yourself what the child’s goal might be.
- Then, ask the parent questions to help confirm if you have correctly identified the goal and can help them see how their feelings and temptations are the clues.
For example, ask questions such as these:
- When your child does that, how do you feel?
- If they say “I’m angry” or another synonym for anger, tell/remind them that “anger is a secondary emotion, it always comes after another feeling.”
- Then ask, “Why are you angry? What is the feeling you felt before the anger? That is the clue you want to identify.”
If they still can’t figure out the goal, narrow down the options to the two most possible goals, by asking a comparison question, such as:
- To tell the difference between the goal of attention and power: “Do you feel annoyed and irritated (attention) or that the child is refusing to do it and challenging your authority (power)?”
- To tell the difference between the goal of power and giving up: “Is the child saying or acting like he won’t do it or truly believes he can’t do it?”
- To tell the different between the goal of attention and giving up: “Do you think the child wants to keep you involved because he likes the attention or because he truly doesn’t understand what to do and legitimately needs your help?”
3. X-amine Possible Solutions
Once you’ve helped them identify the problem type, guide them through the PASRR Formula to plan a helpful response.
For the first three PASRR steps, “Prevent the problem from starting or worsening,” “Acknowledge feelings,” and “Set limits or express concerns,” either of you can refer to the reminder aids the parent has received up to that point in their course. (This is why it’s important for you to be intimately familiar with the 30-Days to Parenting Success lessons, T.I.P.S. lessons, and Grad resources — all of which you have received once you qualified as a T.I.P.S. graduate.)
If they haven’t gotten to a lesson/chapter for a particular step, you’ll need to guide them a bit with questions and use brainstorming during which you can offer some additional options from which they can choose. For example:
Prevent The Problem From Starting Or Worsening:
- General question: “What could you say or do to prevent this from happening in the future (or “the next time” or “again”)?
- Leading questions: “What could you say before you leave, so the child knows what behavior you expect to see?” Or “What could you take with you so the child will have something to do and doesn’t act out because he’s bored?”
- General question: “How could you acknowledge your child’s feelings?”
- Leading questions: “How do you think your child feels about this?”…Pause to hear response… “How could you let your child know you understand his/her feelings?” …Pause to hear response… “What might your child do if you said this?” (Hopefully they’d see the child would likely de-escalate.)
Set Limits Or Express Concerns:
- General question: “What are your concerns?” …Pause to hear response…
- Leading question: “How could you say that in a way that’s not blameful or critical? Start with the words ‘I see…’”
Redirect Misbehavior by referring to the “cheat sheet” for the best 1-2-3 response (unless they have attended that T.I.P.S./workshop session and have it, too). If they are only in the 30-Day Course, you can offer them the 1-2-3 steps and ask questions to help them formulate the words they want to use in their response.
Reveal Discipline. You can take the PASRR Formula all the way to discipline and guide them as they plan what the discipline would be and how to say it. You will follow the “Language of Discipline” handout and help them tweak the language, if they haven’t gotten to this chapter/lesson yet.
If They Bring Up a Problem in an Adult Relationship
If the client brings up a problem in an adult relationship, refer to the chapter 15 handout- using UB® with Adult relationships (week 10 of On-line T.I.P.S.) Keep in mind that for the last step, it depends on whether the other person is willing to find a solution with them or if they have to figure out what to do on their own.
Use PASRR and BED (Brainstorm, Evaluate, Decide) if the other person is willing to jointly find a win/win solution.
Use PASRS and CAR (Change it, Accept it, or Remove yourself from it) if the other person isn’t engaged in resolving the problem and the client needs to decide what to do.
If They Have No Knowledge Of The Universal Blueprint® System:
When clients are in the midst of a problem, they may already be feeling stressed, overwhelmed, confused and frustrated. If you try asking them questions they don’t know the answers to, it will just intensify those feelings. To avoid this, you’ll want to do most of the “mind work” initially.
Since they don’t know the UB®, you will use the UB® to figure out what type of problem they are dealing with and a helpful response — even though this will only put out one of the “fires” they are facing. To truly serve that client and empower them to be able to solve their own problems independently, and get to deeper issues better suited for the coaching sessions, you will want to:
- Refer them to the 30-Day Course so they can at least get the basic information and
- Refer to the UB® while you are responding to their challenges, so they understand how you know what you know and where you learned it. If you don’t, it will seem like you have some magic power. You don’t. You have the same power they have, but you’ve learned knowledge and skills that have shown you how to use your power, which you are using to guide them right now.
To be of the greatest service to them, you want them to be empowered so they aren’t dependent on you for answers. Just remember, you can’t do that by teaching them the UB® and its tools in bits and pieces in a mish-mash order. Refer them to a class to learn the UB® properly, in order and as an entire system. Then use your coaching sessions to help them apply what they learn. Okay?
Now, here’s how to do problem-solving with people who have no UB® training. It will be very helpful for you to use the Decision-Making Worksheet on page 376 of the book. The file is in the GF training resources in the “TIPS handouts” folder. You will ask questions to determine the type of problem (filling out the top 1/3 of the form) and then jot down the responses the parent comes up with as you move them through the PASRR Formula.
Remember, you take the same first two steps that have already been described in detail:
1. Focus on the client’s feelings first.
Acknowledge the parent’s feelings about the problem.
2. Ask helpful questions.
This step deals with the facts, thoughts, or beliefs involved. What you want to figure out at this step is, “What type of problem is this?”
You won’t ask them any of the three UB® problem-identification questions. You’ll ask questions that help you gather information from them that will help you identify the problem type. For example:
To answer the first question, “Is it a Child problem or a Parent problem”:
It will be obvious to you what the Child’s PESS and Parent’s SHARP RV issues are, except for the child’s Emotion or parent’s Rules or Values. So you can ask, “How do you think your child feels about that?” Or “What is your rule/value about that?” Don’t explore at this step what to do about it; that’s the response. Just gather information. If there’s misbehavior, go to question 2 in your mind.
To Answer Question 2, “If there’s Problem behavior, is it Unintentional or On Purpose?”
You can ask that question or ask if their child seems to be deliberately doing it. This is not always a helpful question, however, because many parents who don’t know the UB® assume all misbehavior is PO behavior.
It is best to ask them whether their child has consistently shown that they’ve mastered the skill of _____, filling in the blank. You can also consider the 5 causes of PU behavior (developmental stage or age, personality traits, medical condition, accident, or lack of knowledge or skills) and check out with the parent any you think might be involved. If they are, the problem is PU, so you can move into brainstorming a PASRR response that will teach the child skills. If the misbehavior seems to be PO, go to question 3 in your mind.
To Answer Question 3, “If the Problem Behavior is On purpose, What’s the Purpose?”
Ask the three clue-finding questions and listen to their answers, which will reveal the goal to you. Follow (memorize!) the Misbehavior Matching Game table handout to identify the goal. Then move to planning a PASRR response.
This process of identifying the problem may be very quick, if it’s obvious. If so, remember to “openly model” your use of the UB® in arriving at your conclusion — you want them to know how you are figuring this out without teaching them how to do it, which would sidetrack the problem-solving session.
For problems that could be more than one type of problem, depending on the parents answers, you’ll need to ask more of the questions above to correctly identify what type of problem it is.
3. X-amine possible options.
Now that you know what type of problem it is, guide them through the PASRR Formula to plan a helpful response. Again, you don’t ask them what the next step is, you ask them questions to brainstorm ideas at each step. Here are some examples:
Prevent The Problem From Starting Or Worsening:
Instead of asking, “What’s the first step of the PASRR Formula,” which they don’t know, you’d ask “How can you prevent the problem from starting in the first place?”
Say, for example, you think offering choices would be good, just ask, “What’s your bottom line?” If they aren’t at a SHARP RV bottom-line, ask them “What is totally non-negotiable to you in this situation?” Ask questions to guide them there. For example, “Does it matter to you if she takes a shower or a bath or that she just gets clean?” This will help the parent see what you mean by a “bottom line” without launching into teaching a lesson about it. Once they have a good bottom-line, ask “So what choices does the child have within your bottom line?”
Acknowledge the Child’s feelings:
How they do this depends on the type of problem.
For Child problems: You can point out the PESS Child issue, without teaching about Child problems and how to identify them.
For example, “It sounds to me like this is a sibling issue. In The Parent’s Toolshop®, those are called Child problems. Ultimately, who would you like to solve it, you or the children?”
They’ll say “the children” and might add, “but all they ever do is fight,” basically telling you they don’t know how.
So you say, “Exactly! In The Parent’s Toolshop®, we respond to Child problems by keeping the ball in the child’s court so children do learn how to resolve their own conflicts. Would you like to know how to respond in a way that will teach them how to resolve conflicts peacefully, without you solving it for them?”
They are going to say “yes.” You will say, “Great! That’s exactly what a process called F-A-X Listening does. I can’t teach you the whole process in a coaching session; you need to take the class/course to learn the process, master the skills, and know when and how to use it to get the best results. It’s just one part of the whole Universal Blueprint® problem-solving system, so learning just that skill might resolve this one challenge, but without the rest of the system, that’s the only kind of challenge you’ll be able to solve independently. I can, however, help you come up with a helpful response for this specific challenge, until you get to that lesson/take a course.”
Then you walk them through the process of formulating a response, without teaching the concepts at each step. If they don’t understand the logic or why you are suggesting they do something, you can briefly clarify, but don’t get sidetracked into teaching the F-A-X Listening session 1:1 with them. Focus on showing them how it can help them solve that problem and invite them to learn the tool so they can do this for themselves the next time.
For Parent problems: Acknowledge their SHARP RV issue and ask them, “Can you think of a way you could communicate that concern — in a few words, no more than one sentence, without blame?” If they can’t, suggest, “Start with ‘I see…’” or whatever lead-in from the Communication Toolset you think would be best.
For combo problems or PU/PO: Say, “I hear that for your child ____ is a problem because (name the PESS issue) and for you _____ is a problem, because it involves (name the SHARP RV issue). In The Parent’s Toolshop®, we call that a ‘Combination problem’ that we need to break down into its smaller parts. We also always address the Child part first, by acknowledging the child’s feelings, to help de-escalate the situation. How could you do that here? What do you think is your child’s feelings or perspective? You don’t have to agree with it, just acknowledge what it is.”
They’ll tell you and you’ll say, “Okay, now how can you acknowledge that to the child? What could you say, exactly?” If they go into lectures or giving advice, just ask them, “Would you like your child to be involved in solving the problem and learning to find win/win solutions with you?” They’ll say “yes.” You’ll say, “Then just acknowledge how the child feels first.” Then you can express your concerns without lectures, so the child keeps listening. Tell me, in one sentence, how both you and your child are feeling or what your respective issues are.” Help them out if they can’t; when they do, help them formulate one short sentence that takes the first two PASRR steps.
Redirect Misbehavior: You’ve already figured out what type of problem it is, so just walk them through the 1-2-3 step response on the Misbehavior Matching Game table handout, asking them to help come up with the exact words to fit their situation.
For example, if the goal is revenge:
You would say, “The root of all revenge is hurt, so how could you acknowledge your child’s hurt first?” Wait for the response. You can acknowledge how it seems wrong to show empathy to the child when they’ve been revengeful, and ask, “If you don’t resolve that hurt and just discipline what do you think will happen?” If they don’t see that the child would be more hurt and seek more revenge, ask questions to help them consider this.
You can also say, “You will get your turn to express your hurt. If you did it now and the child’s goal was to hurt you, what would the child be saying inside?” Wait and see if the parent realizes that would give the child a payoff. Once they get this, they’ll be willing to formulate the first step of the response.
Then move to the next step, how the parent can express their hurt respectfully, then the last step, how to brainstorm with the child ways they can express their hurt in appropriate ways. Discuss for a bit how the parent can teach the child the skills needed to do this.
Reveal Discipline: If a parent resists taking the above steps, it may be helpful or necessary for you to ask questions about how discipline can turn into punishment or backfire if used as a first response or when skipping PASRR steps.
For example, ask the parent, “If you disciplined the child while you are in the middle of a power struggle, how would your child interpret the discipline? Would he learn from it or think it was just you playing the trump card as the parent to win the power struggle?” They usually realize it’s the latter.
Then you can ask, “And what might they do?” They will usually say either “be angry, get revenge,” or something along those lines.
Now that you know they “got” the concept, you can go back to how they can reveal discipline after taking the other PASRR steps.
To help the parent decide what the discipline should be, ask questions that relate to the 4 R’s, such as “What would be related to the behavior?” or “What would be a reasonable time period.”
To help the parent plan how to present the discipline, you follow the Language of Discipline handout and help them plan exactly how to say it, so they aren’t making themselves the bad guy or using a tone of voice or attitude that could turn it into punishment. Just tweak their language, if needed, with brief explanations.
For example, if they say, “I’d take his video game away,” you can ask, “How is that related to ____?”
If that is an appropriate discipline, then when planning how to say it, if they say, “If you do that again, I’m going to take your video game away,” tweak it saying, “I agree that losing that privilege fits the 4 R’s of Discipline we follow in The Parent’s Toolshop®, because it is both related and reasonable. If you say, ‘I’m going to take it away and you do, who will the child be mad at?” They’ll say “me.
Then, only for this situation and usually only the first time, you can refer to the “Language of Discipline” formula, so they see the value of using it. For example, you can say, “In The Parent’s Toolshop®, we follow this formula: ‘If you choose to ___ I’ll know you’ve decided to give up _____.’” (You can change the “give up” to other language that fits the discipline.) “Now, if you were to say it that way, how would your child feel? …pause for reply… Who would he be mad at? …pause for reply…What would he be thinking about while (whatever the discipline is)? …pause for reply… Usually, they see how that small change in verbiage can send a completely different message to the child that actually holds the child more responsible and accountable than typical forms of punishment.
End the problem-solving session by reminding them that you used the Universal Blueprint® to help identify what type of problem this was and to plan a helpful response.
Then summarize what type of problem it is and the 3-sentence response they devised that follows the PASRR Formula. (More sentences are fine at the prevention step as long as they are different tools or options and not part of a lecture.)
Remind them that if they were to take a Parent’s Toolshop® class and learn how to use the Universal Blueprint® themselves, they could figure this out for themselves in a matter of seconds or minutes, because they already have all the answers within them. They wouldn’t need you to ask them questions, to pull the information out of them, to figure out the answer for them.
You aren’t saying this in a way that elicits guilt for spending the time to do it; the message you want to convey is that they have the option to empower themselves, not be dependent on you, and be able to spend your coaching sessions on deeper issues and not just “putting out fires,” which is often what problem-solving can be.
What NOT To Do: Getting Into Teaching to Solve the Problem
Description of that Gold Call: “On today’s call, we discussed temper tantrums, which gave a good review of the following skills:
- The 4 types of tantrums,
- How to identify each with the Universal Blueprint®
- How to prevent or respond to each (see Chapter 3 of book, blog article https://parentstoolshop.org/parenting-challenges/handling-temper-tantrums/ and Taming Temper Tantrums teleseminar http://parentstoolshop.com/resources-2/teleseminars)
- Choices within limits (30-Day lesson 16)
- No No’s (30-Day lesson 15)
- Timeouts (30-Day lesson 28)
- …and more!”
What TO Do: Multiple Problem-Solving Sessions in One Call:
Description of that Grad Support Group Call: “On today’s Grad Support Call, we did problem solving for the following challenges:
- A 7-year old child who often needs to be asked repeatedly to do something. Sometimes she’s not listening, distracted, engrossed, but also sometimes deliberately ignores and delays if she doesn’t want to do it. We drafted several plans, for PU and PO, from Prevention through the PASRR formula.
- A child at school is stealing and lying about it. We reviewed key tools of lying and discussed possible responses, from Prevention through Revealing discipline, using the special 3-step formula for responding to lies (not in the book in an obvious 3-step way).”
Take 2 parenting challenges. For each, write out questions you’d ask and how the dialogue/conversation might go. Listen to the 8-10-11 Grad call (link above) for ideas.
Client Release of Liability Form – This form needs to be given/read to clients and they need to sign or verbally agree to it prior to receiving services.