Fatheroffour, I agree. I am exploring alternatives (see below). I have yelled at my kids, but it's not my typical method for parenting (Plan A). I tend to be calm and try to discuss my expectations and why it's important with my daughters. At the end of the day, it's my responsibility to find a method that works and does not lead to an argument. I'm not about blaming my daughters for their inappropriate behavior, but I can't do it all by myself. As a family, we all need to work together.
When kids don’t meet our adult expectations, we need a plan. CPS makes explicit that we really only have three options for how to respond to problems with kids. In CPS, we refer to these as your three Plans: Plan A, Plan B and Plan C.
Most often, we adults try to impose our will (in CPS, this is referred to as Plan A) to make a child meet our expectations. Plan A is very popular because we have good expectations for kids, but pursuing those expectations using Plan A also greatly heightens the likelihood of challenging behavior in challenging kids. That’s because dealing adaptively with Plan A – having someone else impose their will upon you – requires a variety of skills that challenging kids lack. So Plan A not only often causes challenging behavior, but it does not teach the skills challenging kids lack. Worse yet, Plan A interferes with the teaching of those skills since it tends to get in the way of developing a helping relationship that is crucial to teaching skills. Even in “ordinary” kids who have the skills to respond to Plan A adaptively, Plan A is simply a lesson in “might makes right” when it comes to problem solving.
Plan C is when we adults decide to drop an expectation, at least for now. A common misconception is that Plan C is “giving in.” Giving in is when adults try to address a problem or unmet expectation using Plan A and then proceed to drop the expectation when they can’t impose their will or the child responds poorly. Plan C, on the other contrary, is being strategic. You can’t work on all problems all at once. Plan C is a way of prioritizing (i.e., treatment planning) and deciding what you want to address first. By putting some problems or unmet expectations on the “back burner” while addressing problems that are of a higher priority, some challenging behaviors are reduced. We adults are still in charge when using Plan C because we are the ones deciding what to address and what to drop for now.
Finally, Plan B is the heart of CPS when adults work together with kids to solve problems in mutually satisfactory and realistic ways. Plan B involves four basic steps. The first step is to identify and understand the child’s concern about the problem to be solved and reassure him or her that imposition of adult will is not how the problem will be resolved. The second step is to identify and share the adults’ concerns about the same issue. The third step is where the child is invited to brainstorm solutions together with the adult. The fourth and final step is where the child and adult work together to assess potential solutions and choose one that is both realistic and mutually satisfactory. Most problems aren’t solved in a single Plan B discussion, and Plan B usually feels like slogging through mud in the beginning, but the continuous use of Plan B helps solve problems that are precipitating challenging behavior in a durable way while building helping relationships, thinking skills, intrinsic motivation and confidence.