Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Don't care - I don't mind - Kids don't need to own our concerns

Chatting, general conversations, and dialog with our kids is important not only for relationship but they are non-emotive activities where the cps skills can be learned and the problem solving process understood. Kids need to appreciate that we solve problems by laying side by side various concerns or perspectives , define the problem , brainstorm solutions which are realistic, and doable. When we discuss problems that we have read in the press or see/read in the media or even fictitious stories , we learn to identify the concerns, motives and perspectives of others and think how we can brainstorm and come up with realistic, doable and mutually satisfying solutions. The child learns that problems are solved by ' working with ' people and talking it through focusing on concerns and then solutions. Most adults solve problems by negotiation- dueling of solutions instead of taking a step back to understand the cause of the problem and identify concerns.

It would be great if kids would empathy or identify with the concerns of others , but not owning the concerns of others does not get in the way of taking into account the concerns or perspective of others in order to solve a problem. The aim is to find a solution that both parties can live with. When kids have the opportunity to reflect on problems , the different perspectives and concerns , it will be easier for them to take our perspective despite the emotive nature of the issue

So after a kid says - I don't care , I don't mind not having a shower ' the Mom

Can - re empathizing, redefining the problem and inviting say :

I know you don't care , I know you don't mind not having a shower. But I mind. Remember we are trying to come up with a solution that will make both of us happy. Going for a couple of days without taking a shower , doesn't make me happy . I think we can find a way to solve the problem in a way that we both can be happy. So can we try again.?

It often happens that parents are so desperate to find ANY solution that the kid will agree to , that they give up on their concerns. We need to be pretty assertive on putting our concerns on the table and if the process gets stuck , we can always say that we will take a break and come back to the problem , in the meantime each of us can try on our own think of a solution that will take into account both concerns. The problem often arises where we have not spent enough time on the concerns. Instead the focus becomes 2 solutions and we have a situation - the dueling of solutions or negotiation.

If we cannot come up with a mutually satisfying solution , then we might try a ' bit of give and take ' or ask for a third party to help the parties reach an agreed solution.

Here are some insights from the on

I Don't Care


The first step of Plan B gets your child’s concern or perspective on the table. In the second step of Plan B, you as parent get to put your concern or perspective on the table before the third step involves inviting your child to brainstorm some potential solutions to the problem. Right after step 2 you might find yourself stuck if your kid says, “I don’t care about your concern!”

Is that a show-stopper for Plan B? Is caring about the adult concern necessary to do Plan B? You might be surprised by the answer: No. While it would be great for your child to truly care about your concern or perspective, s/he actually only has to take it into account when thinking about potential solutions. She doesn’t need to “own” your concern, appreciate it fully, or even agree with your perspective necessarily. So when you get confronted with “I don’t care” you actually have a pretty easy response, “You don’t have to care about it. It’s my concern, not yours!” The process of doing Plan B does require taking the other person’s perspective or concern into account but that does not mean that one has to be as invested in it as the other person. In fact, we often ask folks, do you really care as much about your kid’s concern as they do? For example, is their GameBoy time as important to you as them completing their homework? Probably not! But that doesn’t mean that you can’t take their perspective into account when trying to generate some mutually satisfactory solutions to the problem. One more piece of good news: we find over time that the process of doing Plan B teaches kids (and us parents!) to care more about each other’s concerns as we come to see that this caring doesn’t come at the cost of addressing our own concerns.

A final thought for today: Why don’t kids care about their parent’s concerns anyway? Could be many different reasons but sometimes its as simple as that we’ve taught them (through the use of Plan A) that we aren’t too invested in their concerns. In other words, if you do a lot of Plan A, don’t be surprised to .


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