Criticism or blame focuses on the person. Instead of asking ' What's the matter with you ' and focusing on the kid we can try and help him focus on the effects of his actions on others. 'I am disappointed when you do THAT – helps a kid reflect on how his action might have hurt others' feelings.
Instead of blame we can just ask questions or lead the discussion by just simply saying what we saw or ' I have noticed that your homework is not getting done, what's up ?
SDT Self determination theory research shows that kids will internalize messages when they are given in a way that kids can reflect and come to their own conclusions. The stronger or more ' honest ' the criticism, the less internalization takes place. Also when the criticism focuses on the person, the kid responds with denials , rebuttals , blaming and often swearing and cursing. The focus has shifted away from what the kid did and is now all about the parent who can be blamed for getting in the way , interfering , controlling or not supporting. If the kid has other siblings , the discussion begins to revolve what about his brother and sister . When dealing with issues is solution focused , we don't have kids diverting the discussion to how their other siblings are behaving.
Telling kids the honest truth in a loving way unfortunately pushes them further from the truth and alienates them from you. In any case we want them to focus on their actions and how they affect others.
We can deal with issues by ' doing to ' kids - coercision , threats , consequences, punishments , blame and criticism or trying to manipulate them with rewards or incentives or leverage their behavior with consequences. Here we have a solution in mind . We want the kid to do it our way.
When we collaborate with the kid and problem solve , we go into the process without a preconceived solution. We don't try to manipulate the kid to comply with our solution by doing Plan A ( parent solution ) in the guise of Plan B ( collaborative problem solving ). We tell the kid – we are not going to force you to do anything . This actually allows the child to step forward – like a dance , when you step back , your partner steps forward. The process starts out focusing on the kid's concerns , so he feels understood and will more likely now be open to hear our concerns. As one parent said after solving a problem with CPS – this is the first time – I felt heard.
When we engage in CPS when certainly do not want the kid to feel bad or just to stamp out a particular behavior out of existence but we want our kids to become ' authors' and 'origins' in their lives , being part of the solution which will solve problems in a way which are mutually satisfactory and durable. We also want to avoid injuring the relationship. And most we want to influence kids the way they think and feel, that they don't hurt others, not because they are afraid of the punishments, but they with our help become the kind of people who wouldn't want to act cruelly.
And of course , being part of the solution by participating in collaborative problem solving is imho the highest expression of responsibility and accountability.