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A Different Behavior Plan Approach

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Some children have really challenging behaviors. Hitting, spitting, kicking, screaming, etc. may occur multiple times a day or a few times a week. Typical discipline approaches may not work with these children. A specialized behavior plan should be developed to focus on missing skills that contribute to the challenging behavior. “The Explosive Child: A new Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children” by Ross Greene describes a different approach to discipline while addressing missing skills.



The premise of Dr. Greene’s method is to see a child who has problem behavior as one who is missing skills. Dr. Greene believes that “…kids do well if they can” (p. 11). He also states, “… that challenging behavior occurs when the demands being placed on a child exceed the skills he has to respond adaptively to those demands” (p. 19). The child is not misbehaving just to be bad, but because he is missing adaptive skills. Dr. Greene’s model for behavior change is called the Collaborative and Proactive Solutions Model (CPS). The book, “The Explosive Child” explores this model in detail. After reading this book you should be able to implement the CPS model. This behavior plan provides a respectful way to work with a child on coming up with solutions to problems. For a detailed summary on the CPS model visit


This text is written to parents; however, I think teachers and other professionals who work with children who have challenging behaviors would benefit. College students pursuing the field of education and related fields would also benefit from reading this book.


Probably the hardest part of implementing the CPS model is changing one’s mindset. It is hard to let go of the “if you do this, I am going to do this” mentality. You have to change the way you think about discipline and behavior.


Behavior Plan Benefits:

The approach is respectful to the individual. It models appropriate ways to interact with other people and provides practice in compromising to come up with mutually agreeable solutions. The methods have been demonstrated as effective in research and have worked with my children.

Further reading:

For more information visit Dr. Greene’s website

Dr. Greene has written other books on parenting and education. Here are the ones on my reading list:

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