Helping Foster Parents with Challenging Kids

hands holdingWe often talk to foster parents who are frustrated by their child’s behaviors.  The child is having a temper tantrum, being untruthful, or destructive.  They are told by many well-meaning friends and professionals that they need to manage the behaviors by negative consequences or give them rewards when they abstain from these undesirable behaviors.  While the behavior may stop for a short time, this doesn’t seem to be a long term solution for most of the youth with whom we work.

Traditional discipline techniques such as time outs, sticker charts and taking away privileges don’t always work when parenting the most challenging youth- including children in foster care.  Dr. Stuart Ablon and the team at Think:Kids have shown us a way to think differently about challenging behaviors that some children demonstrate: Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS).  Rather than seeing the child as being manipulative, limit-testing or simply a bad kid, CPS understands these behaviors to be a byproduct of lacking thinking skills.  In other words, lack of skill not will. The way to reduce these challenging behaviors is to teach the youth these needed skills rather than by reward or punishment programs.

CPS is an evidence-based approach that provides concrete guidelines for parents, and others who work with children, to utilize.  Randy Jones, a certified CPS trainer, recently wrote about his family’s successful experiences using CPS. “Collaborative Problem Solving has permeated every aspect of our lives and we are better for it. From communicating with each other and our children; to operating our business and interacting with our staff. We practice CPS and strive to use it when we are at our worst, because it builds our brains.” See more here.

Plummer Group Home Staff have been trained in these techniques and it is making a difference in outcomes for the youth there.   And we are thrilled to be offering this same training to our Plummer foster parents in the fall! For more information on the Collaborative Problem Solving approach visit:

Plummer Foster Care is looking for individuals and families interested in becoming foster parents. Visit our website here to learn more.