Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Allan Katz Honoring Parents and CPS- collaborative problem solving approach

Parenting by the Book    A frequent question that parents ask me concerning the CPS – collaborative problem solving approach is – are we not  undermining  our authority as parents if the  focus is  on cooperation and not Kibud Av ve'Eim = complying with and respecting the wishes of parents?
I don't think it is our purpose to raise kids who will jump through our hoops, but rather we should ask , what do they need from us , how can meet their basic needs of (a) autonomy = being connected to their inner beings and core values , feeling self –directed, (b) competence ( c) and relatedness = a feeling of belonging and connectedness. In this way we can raise God fearing, compotent , caring and responsible children.
The following is a story, an incident - which a Bnei Brak Rabbi and speaker shared with his audience.
 I was sitting on my porch one afternoon , when my neighbor called out to me and said – Reb Dovid -  your son is climbing the very dangerously high tree next to our apartment block. I said -  that's  OK , he has  got my permission. The neighbor thought Reb Dovid was out of his mind – climbing   that  tree  was dangerous!  Reb Dovid then shared with his neighbor the   CPS  dialogue,  he had with his son about climbing the tree.
 A: Empathy + info gathering stage
Dad: ( neutral   language )  I have noticed that you and your friends have been climbing that big tree , what's up ?
Son:  We all love climbing the tree, it is great fun, also there is not so much to do around here.
Dad – reflective listening – I understand it is fun and not much around for you to do -  I  am just worried – here the dad puts his concern on the table and we have  B:  Define the problem stage . You guys are climbing pretty high, sometimes till the 3rd floor and without any ropes for protection. It is pretty dangerous, one small slip and you understand what will be the result ? I am concerned about your safety.
Invitation stage : I was wondering if we could brain storm a solution together where you could still climb the tree and enjoy it , and still be acceptably safe if something might happen ?
Son: Maybe someone could stand with a rope on the balcony of the 3rd floor and the boy climbing would be tied to it ?
Dad. I like the idea but I don't think it is realistic. We need a plan that would work all the time, even when you are alone.
Dad: I was wondering if you could still have fun climbing just up to the first floor. I am OK with this.
Son: I hear your concern and I can appreciate the danger, I am willing to give it a try.[...]


  1. As a teacher, I just use the direct method. I tell the student that G-d gave us the Torah at Mount Sinai. It has been passed down generation to generation parent to child, teacher to student. My parents and teachers gave it over to me and I'm giving it over to him.

    My experience is that the student accepts that from me. Then I tell him what to do, whatever it may be, such as open the book, read, etc. If the student doesn't listen, so I find out what interests the student, and what he has learned. Then I use that knowledge as the basis for what I want him to learn.

    Now if I saw a student doing something I thought was dangerous I would tell him it's dangerous, and I would tell him that Hashem commands us to guard our health, and not do dangerous things. I might teach him about the Mitzvah of putting a fence on the roof.

    On the other hand, I and my friends did plenty of risky things when we were kids, like riding our bikes everywhere, exploring, etc. So I give the students a lot of leeway also.

    There seems to be some unwritten rule that some people live by that is in a category for them of "Be killed rather than transgress" and this unwritten rule is "Never ever tell someone what to do (because otherwise they might do the unspeakable and tell me what to do)."

    So for those people, convoluted systems of communication have to be fabricated to get their message across.


  2. I appreciate that Alan took the time to explain in detail how the concepts of “autonomy, competence and relatedness” which he often mentions, actually work in a “real world” specific example.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the “takeaway” from “autonomy” in cases such as the boy climbing the tree, is that even when another person does something surely wrong & reckless we should attempt to convince him that HE wants to act differently (“internalization”), rather than bringing compliance because WE want him to do so (“introjection”).

    This may sound liberal & modern, but I think it isn’t. Here’s a piece from the תולדות יעקב יוסף – he wrote the very FIRST “Chassidic” Sefer. I think that he pretty much say the same!

    Note especially what he writes that if someone feels an urge to C”V do an Aveira he SHOULD SEEK to weigh the reasons for & against the Aveira, and only afterwards should he choose to do what’s right. That means that he is acting OUT OF CHOICE, not internal or external coercion. (According to the Toldos, the one exception is when he is במדריגת אספקלריא המאירה).

    תולדות יעקב יוסף משפטים (דף רע"ח-רפ"ב): אני אומר לך למסור כלל גדול מה שקבלתי מגדול אחד ובו תחזק ואל תרף, והוא תועלת גדול הן בעבודת השם יתברך או במילי דשמיא או במילי דעלמא והוא כי אחר שהסכים שכלך באיזה דבר לעשותו בהחלט גמור שכמדומה לך שהוא הנכון בלי לשנותו מכל מקום מיד תראה להפוך הדבר בשכלך שמא הנכון הוא ההיפך לזה ומאן מפיס הזה הוא נכון או זה הנכון ואז יבוא לך צד ההכרעה מבין שני ההפכים איזה דרך ישכון אור, מה שאין כן במחליט דעתו על צד אחד איכא למיחש לכמה קלקולים והחוש והנסיון מעיד על זה ודפח"ח. ואמרתי ליתן טעם על זה שהוא הדרך הישר לעבודת ה' שיראה לכאן ולכאן ואחר כך יזרח אור עבודת ה' באיזה צד מב' צדדים ... כשאדם הולך לעבור עבירה חס ושלום או שאר צרכי תענוגי הגוף מחמת היצר הרע ואח"כ מפני כבודו יתברך ומוראו משבר תאוותו ויצרו והולך בדרכי עבודת השם יתברך הרי מכניע שמאל בימין ונעשה ייחוד גמור למעלה והוא התכלית השלימות ... אם עלתה במחשבתו לעשות איזה דבר מצוה אף אם הוא באמת מצוה וגמרה מיד מכל מקום אינו מייחד יחוד גמור מה שאין כן כשהוא שקול בדעתו אל ההיפך מזה ... ואח"כ מכריעו על ידי צד ההכרעה לימין ... בטוח שלא יצא דבר מעוקל מתחת ידו אם מכוין לשם שמים ... כשאדם במדריגה עליונה ... או במצוה ברורה שהיא מצוה כמו תורה ותפלה וצדקה ... שאין בה ספק שהיא מצוה ... שיהי' נוכח פני ה' בלי שום פני' ... משא"כ כשהאדם במדריגה אספקלריא שאינה מאירה .. בזה אמר ... כל הנגדיות כל חלקי ההפכים יראה להפך לצד ימין ולשמאל לבל יחליט תיכף כי אם על דרך הנזכר לעיל.

  3. After agreeing with Alan on the aforementioned, I’d like to pose what I see as an important & perhaps question:

    Using Alan’s example of “Reb Dovid’s” thoughtful dialogue with his son, where he ends off saying “I was wondering if you could still have fun climbing just up to the first floor. I am OK with this”…..

    What would happen if instead of the “happy ending” where the son agrees, he said something along the lines of “Dad, I want you to bug off & mind your own business. It’s my own life at stake and I’m big enough & smart enough to make my own decisions”???

    I can see a few typical responses to my query:

    A) It won’t happen! This dialogue always works!

    B) If it happens, it’s because this parent surely didn’t act properly in his past relationships with his son & didn’t build enough trust, etc. I can’t help you as it’s all your fault. (Or, you’ll have to rebuild trust before making ANY requests or suggestions).

    C) Let it go. Let him climb, and if he falls and ends up in the hospital he’ll learn his lesion the hard way. Life takes experimentation.

    D) Time for some “aversive” parenting. You tried reasoning and it didn’t work, so to avoid him placing himself in danger because of his immaturity or whatever, you’ll have to ENFORCE certain rules.


    1. If after I tell a student that he has a Torah obligation to guard himself and yet he still is doing dangerous things, I would proceed based on the way Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn taught in this post:

      "A sage in Israel who is known for his wisdom about family and marriage told me the following: Everything depends on the children learning to do mitsvose with joy. If the child is trained to appreciate the joy of doing a mitzvah, he/she will enjoy obeying the Torah. But a child raised to fear the Torah as something painful may reject the Torah."

      I would go to where the student is and personally involve myself in the activity in a way that he liked. If he's climbing a tree, I'd climb it with him to show him how to do it safely, or I'd bring ropes and we'd work together to do it safely, or I'd just stand there and watch and/or advise, depending on the student and the tree.

      I had a student a few years ago, about six or seven, who liked to climb trees. With his mother watching and allowing him, he climbed about fifteen feet up a tree. So all I did was watch. What more could I say?

    2. Joe:

      I'm not sure I understand your answer.

      It would seem to me that you started out trying to motivate the student by telling him to fulfill his Torah obligation. Last post you were more explicit about tying a students questionable action to it's source in the Torah.

      Yet, later you write about either participating with the student or watching to make sure he does things safely. Somehow you tie that to enjoy obeying the Torah (RD"E's teaching).

      I'm not sure about a few things:

      1) How does participating / watching help in a scenario like the one I mentioned, where the student/child clearly isn't interested in your guidance & probably won't avoid danger when you're not around & perhaps even ןignore you when you ARE around?

      2) I'm not sure HOW you're training the student/child to "appreciate the joy of doing a mitzvah". Surely not by climbing with him, watching him?

      3) Are you assuming that the problem of recklessness will go away as the student ages? You mentioned a six-seven year old. What about a 13 year old - what would you do so that he doesn't end as a reckless adult? Or, do you believe that misgiving is overblown?

      4) Let's say that there is reason to fear that recklessness won't go away on it's own - is there any difference if we deal with the problem earlier rather than later? It would surely make sense to say so, as bad habits DO get ingrained. What if any additional intervention would you recommend and WHEN?
      Does that mean that if showi


    3. First, I generally encounter students in a setting where they've come to learn. If they point out that their parents forced them to come, I argue the other way. I ask them if they were physically bound and brought to class. They admit they were not. The point I'm trying to bring out to them is that, at least minimally, they have some interest in learning. It is this ember of desire to learn that it is my job to fan till it is a flame, or to borrow your kind of terminology, till they have "internalized" the obligation to learn, and are "self-motivated".

      To summarize: first I search out and find a student's interest in learning, then I strengthen it. If I talk to the student about things he already enjoys discussing, then he will engage with me on the things I want to teach him.

      It's one thing for me to tell the student in a classroom setting what the rule is. It's another for him to keep it in mind when in a place and at a time that the rule applies.

      A student doesn't just learn by hearing about how he should act, he has to have an example of the correct way to act, and he has to make an attempt to imitate the right way, all in order that it should become part of his being. So in the hypothetical case of climbing the tree, I'm there with him. We get to a thin branch. I say, "Is this branch capable of holding our weight? Is it broken? If we're not sure, should we take a risk of depending on it?"

      There are three questions a Jew has to keep always in mind:
      What's the wrong thing to do?
      What's the right thing to do?
      What am I going to do?
      (These questions are derived from "Mesilas Yesharim" by the Ramchal.)

      So as we climb, the student and I work out the answers to these questions. Even if all I'm doing is watching him climb, I can remind him to stop and consider these questions.

      In some ways, what I'm saying is not so far from what Allan is saying, the key distinction being that I explicitly trace my authority back to the Torah.

      Experience indicates that students get pleasure from being able to rule over themselves. This is part of the enjoyment of serving Hashem. The world is being "fixed" through the performance of the Mitzvos. The student recognizes that he is part of the team on Earth that is bringing the Final Redemption, and he likes that.

      In reality, a student may be an excellent climber and making the right decisions without articulating the above three questions. However there are more complicated situations in life that require the same approach, and practicing this approach when climbing a tree ingrains this technique into the student's character so it can be applied elsewhere and at all times in his life.

      Being watchful of one's behavior can be a process that requires thinking. Some students I've noticed don't want to be bothered with doing that thinking, they'd rather be thinking about something else. They may leave the thinking about their protection up to, say, the teacher. Their attitude may be, "If I get out of line, the teacher will yell at me...then I'll stop." That's why it's important to force the student to use their ability to think while they are in real-life situations. Shul is a great environment to teach students to act with caution. They are standing in front of the King of Kings, and He has the Power of Life and Death over them. A student who gets to the point where he can stand for the whole Shemoneh Esreh and concentrate on the Davening is on the right path in life

  4. Hi,
    I was wondering if people read to end of the post – the punch line. The neighbor who forbid his son to go near the tree got the ' I better not be caught ' reaction - he not only was oiver Kibud Av , but compromised his own safety. When kids concerns are addressed they are more likely to see our perspective and if we try to give them as much control over their lives as developmentally appropriate when we have to insist on something they are more likely to trust our decision.
    Throwing the kibud Av or 'morim' mantra at kids might work in a school but in the home it just portrays a parent as weak and needing a crutch to support his authority in the home. As far as getting a message across I think we are giving kids more life skills when kids can still find ways to meet their needs in ways that take account of their parents' concerns. Climbing till the 1st floor , or going to a climbing wall or finding some other sport are possible solutions. With CPS we are not dealing with behaviors but problems.
    Thanks for sharing . The aveira could be only one solution for a concern or problem a person would have. Attacking the Yeitzer head on , usually fails. If we find out what are the concerns , we can think of many alternative solutions
    CPS is a messy business , and when you are trying to get a clear understanding of a kid's concerns – the kid may react with I don't know or I don't want to talk about it or bug off and much worse. So instead of dealing with the kid wanting to climb and our safety concerns - Plan B= collaborative problem solving would now focus on
    Dad to son – I have noticed that when I want to talk to you about my concerns – you don't want to talk to me , what up ? and we use a ' drilling down technique ' - can you tell me more , I don't quite understand to drill down to find out more about the kid's concerns.
    And if that does not encourage discussion, we can focus on general chatting on non-emotive issues . The idea is use the language of problem solving , talking about peoples' concerns, perspectives, brain storming mutually satisfying solutions , seeing if solutions are realistic and durable
    In cps we make it clear that we are not going to force a solution , we just want to get a clear understanding of the kids concerns. It is like a dance , when we step back , the kid will come closer to us. If we focus on solutions we end up negotiating or dueling solutions rather than solving a problem.
    The possible scenarios – CPS is hard and very messy , trust can be an issue especially if a kids concerns have been ignored in the past , it could be the kid is lacking skills to articulate his concerns , consequential thinking etc so there are skills to be learned which the process teaches indirectly
    People often don't learn the hard way and unfortunately the buc k usually stops at the parents
    Getting into a power struggle cuts off communication , so I would try to find something else for the kid to do
    Not easy – education is a process

  5. Thanks for sharing Joe

    A friend shared this story. His teenage boy and a friend were told they could not continue with the school hike near the Dead Sea as they had broken the rule and walked ahead of the group. The one boy went home and the other decided that since he was in the area it was a pity not to do some hiking on his own – which he did- hiking on his own the whole day and later that night he rejoined the group. Maybe instead of punishing the kid , the teachers would have done some CPS , the kids would have internalized the concerns of the teachers

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  7. Allan,

    You hit the nail on the head with this anecdote. Could it be possible the two students on the hike endangered themselves and others by going ahead? Hikes in Eretz Yisrael have sometimes ended badly because of the threat of violence from some of the current inhabitants of the region.

    Communication techniques like what you describe sometimes lead to students who feel they can do no wrong -- because every discussion on behavior comes back to talking it out, and not down to that there is an absolute "right" and an absolute "wrong".

    So some of the kids treated with these techniques seem to believe that as long as they have thought out their actions, that they can do as they please. And sometimes what pleases them is tuning out teachers. That's when their parents call me and ask me to teach their kids who are not doing well academically.

    Getting back to the hike: sure the teachers could have sat down the student and talked it out. But if the safety of the group was at risk, and despite being warned, this student didn't get the message, then he didn't belong on the hike.

  8. The point of the anecdote was to show what consequences and punishments do to internalization. Kids know when they do wrong , but when they are consequence or punished , self interest and defensiveness comes in – so the teacher is unfair and other kids did the same thing at another stage of the hike and nothing was done to them .It is not just about talking to them about their behavior , it is solving a problem and when we solve a problem , not only do kids internalize the message but also the relationship with the teacher is improved. So a CPS discussion could look like this

    Teacher - I have noticed you guys have been going ahead what's up ?
    Boys - the pace is so slow which makes the hike boring and frustrating
    Teacher – reflective listening – I hear your concerns – I am just worried about the safety issues , also we are here as a group etc
    Teacher – I was wondering if we could find a mutually satisfying solution where you can find the hike challenging and yet be part of the group and honor the guidelines that address security and safety concerns.
    Boys – maybe when we get to areas where there are no security concerns – we could split into 2 or 3 groups and the faster guys will go forward , we could use stretchers or carry the slower guys
    Teacher – I think that will take a bit of planning , maybe at the lunch stop we could have a group discussion on this
    Teacher – in the meantime – how can I be reassured that you will not get the urge to move ahead
    Boys – we can ask some of the class to ' monitor us ' and be responsible that the whole group is working together - kids taking responsibility much better than teacher policing them with threats of consequences.

  9. ''Communication techniques like what you describe sometimes lead to students who feel they can do no wrong -- because every discussion on behavior comes back to talking it out, and not down to that there is an absolute "right" and an absolute "wrong".''

    Not quite so – the CPS process – not technique – helps kid take perspectives, own the problem and be part of the solution. This is what true accountability is all about. Not the ' absolute wrong ' plus the consequence which just makes kids mad and feel sorry for themselves. I am always amazed at teachers short memories. They were once kids – don't they understand –it is not the lessons we teach , but what kids learn that counts Dr BenZion Sorotzkin once said that to boys came to the mashgiach – he said to them – I am not interested in who is right or wrong – I am not God's secretary – all I want to do is solve problems

    ''So some of the kids treated with these techniques seem to believe that as long as they have thought out their actions, that they can do as they please. And sometimes what pleases them is tuning out teachers. ''

    Crucial to CPS is taking into account other peoples' concerns and perspectives. These kids generally have problems with sequential or consequential thinking , executive functions and maybe impulsive. Do as you please as long as you are pleasing others as well – When teachers build community , kids become pro-social and think of others. Tuning out teachers – maybe the system , teachers , curriculum etc has also something to do with this besides the kids own challenges

  10. Allen:

    Thanks for a sincere answer. These are the "takeaway" highlights I understood from your response, as far as answering my question about the fellow who says “bug off”:

    1) Use a “drilling down technique” to get a conversation going, 2) Start a general chat on non-emotive issues + language of problem solving, etc. + we make it clear that we are not going to force a solution + NOT to focus on solutions just on communication, assuming that when we step back, the kid will come closer to us.

    And finally, after all is said & done: CPS is hard and very messy - Not easy – education is a process.

    In summation, you sound pretty clear that you’re NOT saying it’ll always work. From among the four options I mentioned, it seems that you chose a fifth:

    I can give you some pointers, but I definitely won’t give you any guarantees.

    Is my understanding of your thesis correct?

    A lot of what I asked Joe I would ask of you, but more importantly:

    Isn’t your goal to have the child INTERNALIZE things – Doesn’t internalization mean SELF-motivation? If so – I don’t see anything in the technique that actually SELF-motivates.

    NOT forcing isn’t motivating, just as not forcing me to eat spinach doesn’t motivate me to eat it, either.

    LISTENING TO MY VIEWS about eating spinach doesn’t motivate me to eat it, either.

    Let’s put aside for a moment the negative / “not” part – please tell me by what internal POSITIVE mechanism you motivate.

  11. The Self Determination theory continuum merely describes the state of motivation underlying an action - Amotivation – helplessness , External, Interjected, Identified, Extrinsic motivation .
    Internalization can be still extrinsic - On the one hand, a rule or standard can be swallowed whole, or “introjected,” so that it controls children from the inside: “Behaviors are performed because one ‘should’ do them, or because not doing so might engender anxiety, guilt, or loss of esteem.” On the other hand, internalization can take place more authentically, so the behavior is experienced as “volitional or self-determined.” It’s been fully integrated into one’s value structure and feels chosen.
    'The question that managers, teachers and parents etc ask – How do you motivate people – The answer is you don't. We can get people to do something using instruments of control, but the desire to do something cannot be imposed on people. All we can do is set up the conditions that will maximize the probability of them developing an interest in what they are doing and remove conditions that function as restraints. Kids – Ross Greene says are already to motivated. They want to be successful, adaptable and flexible – what is getting in their way is lagging skills or trust. Educators don't need to motivate kids . From the beginning they are hungry to make sense of their world. Given an environment in which they don't feel controlled and in which they are encouraged to think about how they are doing – rather than how well they are doing –students of any age will generally experience an abundance of motivation and healthy appetite for the challenge. ' From AK's PBR

  12. Collaborative problem solving is not a technique but a process. The same in real life. The first solution we come up with is usually not the last and durable solution. Besides trusting the process, there are lots of reasons why the process can go wrong for eg – not spending enough time on getting a clear understanding of the kids concerns etc . But the beauty is that there is learning taking place all the time and part of the process is to continue talking and reviewing progress. There is no better reward for a kid when his concerns are taken seriously, problems are solved and the relationship with the adult has improved.

  13. We can't motivate but we can try and influence. The job of educators is neither to make students motivated nor to sit passively , it is to set up the conditions to make learning possible. The challenge is not to wait until a kid is interested but to offer a stimulating environment that can be perceived by students as presenting vivid and valued options which can lead to successful learning and performance.

  14. Allan:

    Thanks for responding.

    Sounds to me that the crucial phrase in the theory is this one: “Kids … are already to motivated. They– what is getting in their way is lagging skills or trust”. Therefore “the job of educators is neither to make students motivated nor to sit passively, it is to set up the conditions to make learning possible”. And “There is no better reward for a kid when his concerns are taken seriously”.

    Since you believe that kids are only missing skills or trust, no motivation is necessary…

    Let’s see:

    1) What about adults – they DON’T want to be successful, adaptable and flexible, etc? So why not take the theory a step further and say that NOBODOY needs to be motivated … and that the job in any interpersonal interaction is just to set up the conditions to make learning possible? Doesn’t EVERYONE want to have his needs taken seriously? If so – what are the rules – who gives in to whom? Who gets Jerusalem? Jew or Arab? You don’t need any rules? R-E-A-S-O-N gets no preference? Or, shall we say that at some ceratin magic moment “successful,
    adaptable and flexible” children suddenly switch into “failing, rigid & inflexible adults”?

    2) You don’t seem to be concerned about B-A-D H-A-B-I-T-S. I’m not talking about the role of repetition in ingraining good habits (I know that Kohn is anti such stuff). I’m talking about the danger that while the months and years tick away attempting to get “a clear understanding of the kids concerns” BAD habits become ingrained. Do you believe that allowing bad habits to become ingrained is of neglibile consequence? I’m not aware of ANY research base for a claim that ingrained habits are just as easy to change as those not yet ingrained. I can imagine the retort – that the dangers of doing it any other weigh outweigh this concern… Really?

    3) I’m a bit concerned about the fact that you don’t mention anything about learning how to delay gratification, willpower & the like – in other words how to deal with day-to-day life that DOESN’T work out the way we want. Please tell me how you prepare this child for the REAL world: Demanding college curriculums, job deadlines …. All types of environments that DON’T follow the utopian script you prescribe. Are you going to build a self-contained community?
    4) As far as the theory that kids “want to be successful, adaptable and flexible” & what’s getting in the way of kids is ONLY lagging skills or trust – are you aware of all the Rishonim that say that those are NOT the only things? I know I’ve asked this before; what happens when a large body of Chazal contradict this theory. What do we assume – times have changed for the better (today’s kids want to be successful, adaptable and flexible, unlike kids of yore)? Or, do we assume that we just don’t understand Chazal? Do you need an evidence base to make the assumption that Chazal are no longer relevant & kids just want to be successful, adaptable and flexible, or are the words of Greene, Kohn, etc, enough to contradict Chazal?

  15. 'Since you believe that kids are only missing skills or trust, no motivation is necessary…'

    Traditional approaches to discipline see what the kid is doing as ' working for them ' so the intervention needed to make them ' wanna behave differently ' - give them the motivation to behave appropriately . The CPS collaborative problem solving approach mantra is kids do well if they can and not kids do well if they want to ' Kids would rather be successful and adaptable – the problem is missing skills , trust etc. The beauty of the approach is that it addresses the basic needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness which promotes self determination and intrinsic motivation

  16. 'Since you believe that kids are only missing skills or trust, no motivation is necessary…'

    Traditional approaches to discipline see what the kid is doing as ' working for them ' so the intervention needed to make them ' wanna behave differently ' - give them the motivation to behave appropriately . The CPS collaborative problem solving approach mantra is kids do well if they can and not kids do well if they want to ' Kids would rather be successful and adaptable – the problem is missing skills , trust etc. The beauty of the approach is that it addresses the basic needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness which promotes self determination and intrinsic motivation

    1. "he CPS collaborative problem solving approach mantra is kids do well if they can". I've had that from you loud & clear in the past. What I haven't heard from you how you're addressing the downsides of allowing bad habits to form, the value of teaching reasoning skills which both the child AND the parent may lack, dealing with conditioned negative responses that don't respond to autonomy alone.

      You've admitted that the CPS process is sloppy & far from universally successful. So why not improve on the model?

    2. The cps model happens when teachers and parents are the ones who will be helping kids in their dynamic environments - the books , websites and therapists help parents with these skills , but the real training is on the job. The more you do cps or use problem solving language in the general chatting , the kids pick up these various cognitive skills - I did not say CPS is sloppy - I said the process - is hard work , not easy and messy but learning and relationship is promoted all along the way . Much easier just to give instructions with a consequence attached. I said it is not a magic bullet or a technique that a durable solution will be reached at one sitting - it can take a couple of sittings. It has been tested in the toughest environments

  17. Adults and motivation - I am not sure about adults need to be motivated by others or intrinsically motivated. As someone who knows the network marketing industry quite well – plenty of inspirational and motivational speakers – which helps maybe very short term. The reason that it does not work is that the most important factors needed for motivation – autonomy, competence and relatedness are not addressed. Extrinsic motivation helps only when it is self determined and not salient. This is the paradox about motivation – if you need , it means you have not got it – if you don't need it – you have it.

    Doesn’t EVERYONE want to have his needs taken seriously? If so – what are the rules – who gives in to whom? The whole idea of collaborative problem solving is that we try to find solutions that address the needs of all – that is what living in a family , community , being in a business or a classroom . It is a Gemorah , shulchan aruch that we try and settle disputes without litigation. Rules are part of game of living with others. But as Barry Shwartz noted people need to go beyond rules - and become people who are driven by morality and how their behavior impacts on others and not if they have broken a rule or not .

    Not sure what you are asking about reason - is not reason and thinking the the basis of problem solving .

    Flexible and adaptable kids may become rigid and inflexible adults if they get into their heads is that is how you should treat your employees , wife or kids - not sure what you wanted from this

    1. "The reason that it does not work is that the most important factors needed for motivation – autonomy, competence and relatedness are not addressed".

      Please refrain from strawman arguments.

      The reason network marketing pep talks don't work is because the reality doesn't match the hoopla.

      The fact that you're comparing the two is troubling.

      Teaching reasoning skills & self control can be motivating in of itself, if someone is acclimated to the value of an growth mindset - Freedom from ones desires is redeeming, as Chazal say אין לך בן חורין אלא מי שעוסק בתורה.

      The network people follow another false mantra - you can do anything you really believe in. Since sales is really a tough job - especially cold calling - most get burned out.

      With the right approach to education & parenting, the success is noticeable and very obvious. It just takes hard work.

      Leaving a child to his own autonomous devices is like throwing him to the wolves without teaching him survival skills.

      What I'm saying to do is not INSTEAD of collaborative techniques - it's ON TOP OF & IN ADDITION TO THEM. Without awareness of human frailty, whether child or adult, all the autonomy in the world won't help.

    2. "It is a Gemorah , shulchan aruch that we try and settle disputes without litigation".

      Agreed. Just please don't do another strawman here...

      We do try to settle without litigation - פשרה is a Mitzvah. But we need a שלחן ערוך to know what can and cannot be compromised.

      The problem I see with your child climbing till the third floor is that you don't state any iron clad rules. At a certain point when 1) life is threatened, or 2) a child is chronically out of control - we need to know that is like "Shulchan Aruch". Leaving his autonomy intact and allowing his bad habits to get ingrained really won't help him....

      What I meant with reason is that there are RULES in how to reason - being responsive is one. Not dismissing valid arguments is another. The child that says "bug off" habitually has a reasoning deficit. For HIS benefit it needs to be addressed.

    3. You said - people believe they can do it - you need competence

      Leaving a child to his own autonomous devices is like throwing him to the wolves without teaching him survival skills. - I don't know what this has to do with our conversation

      I am all for interventions that support and go in the same direction as CPS, you don't need to support a kid by trying to control him with rewards and punishments

      For sure there will be times that a parent will insist on their way , and parents who have not overplayed this hand and try to give control to kids over their lives when appropriate and try to see the world through their kids eyes and meet their needs , their kids will be more trusting of parents and agree to their demands despite being unhappy about it

      The other kids in Bnei Brak had the iron clad rule of not climbing the tree and they climbed -

      even if things are no -no , when there are problems , you still need to find solutions

      The rules , the process of CPS , taking into the account concerns and perspectives of others , seeing the value in cooperation and community are being taught

      again - Leaving his autonomy intact and allowing his bad habits to get ingrained really won't help him.. - for sure we there are limits to autonomy - the nature of the cps process is that it is limit setting when the parents concerns are being addressed . Kohn's and Greene's commitment to community means that individual choice is limited , not choice per se - because as a group, community or family we have so much more choices

  18. I’m talking about the danger that while the months and years tick away attempting to get “a clear understanding of the kids concerns” BAD habits become ingrained.
    This statement imho shows ignorance of the model and how it is being implemented. For the first time the kids are having their problems addressed by looking at the underlying causes and not just treating behaviors – this is what you do = replacement behavior and extrinsic motivation. Here learning is taking place all the time. It is the process that teaches these skills. The fact that the Maine Juvie system has adopted CPS and introduced to it several schools in Maine with great results is testimony to the CPS model. The Juvie system in Maine is the one everyone is trying to learn from

    1. "This statement imho shows ignorance of the model... or the first time the kids are having their problems addressed by looking at the underlying causes and not just treating behaviors".

      I think I "get" the model. I appreciate the effort to address the underlying... I just don't appreciate - as I've mentioned before - that the downside of extrinsic motivators is imho exaggerated to the point that the real downsides of letting problems fester and get ingrained is ignored.

      It's like allowing Rome to burn down while thinking of how to buy a new fire engine ....

    2. When you are engaging in the process , learning is taking place all the time - skills are being acquired - a durable solution may not be reached in one sitting , could be a couple more - the extrinsic motivators get in the way if they are not self determined - the kid feels they can help him with his goal. Dealing with behaviors and not solving the problem durably is letting the problem fester.

    3. "Dealing with behaviors"

      That's not what I'm advocating - I'm advocating dealing with cognitions that cause behaviors. Especially "automatic thoughts" that the child would never notice himself..

      "could be a couple more"
      And what happens if THAT still doesn't work - do you still stick to the mantra that autonomy is missing, or do you finally admit that the child - like any adult - ALSO has a less than honarable side to him?

  19. The importance of will power, self- control and delaying gratification - depends on what you are talking about . The world talks about ' subduing your inclinations and using brute will power , but those who study will power talk more knowing what to do when you fail or coming up with a plan that will help you meet your goals. In the famous marsh mellow test where kids had to delay gratification and have self-control and not eat the marsh mellow Walter Mischel notes that it was the kids who came up with a plan to distract themselves from the marsh mellow did best . So again it comes back to problem solving.
    How do you prepare kids for the real world - give them problem solving skills , empathic skills – feel empathy and being able to show empathy , emotional regulation skills, self -compassion . This is what the CPS process teaches.
    The Mitzvah – commandment to help an 'enemy ' unload the burden ' from on top of his suffering donkey teaches us a lesson as how to help people and kids with their problems. Instead of ' doing to kids' by giving TO them help we should be helping WITH them – working with them.

    We may be justified in 'hating' the person in an objective way as he is a ' sinner' that refuses to repent or we have personal issues with the person. The way we subdue our evil inclinations that encourages one to let an enemy suffer is not with pure willpower or grit but by changing our mindset.

    1. I agree about the brute power being ineffective as a first line of dfefense. It's in Chazal & research.

      But I think you're forgeting the most important cognitive tools for attaining self-control:
      1) Believing in the ability to have self-control, along the lines of Dweck's incremental intelligence theory.
      2) Training to notice automatic thoughts & reframe/diffuse those that trigger self-gratifying reactions.
      3) Inculcation and habituation in alternative sources of wellbeing that diminish the urge for self-gratification.

      Many of these need guidance - from a wise parent, mentor, Rebbe, therapist.

      Kids - and most adults - don't naturally think these ways.

      Don't put the kids out into shark-infested waters without teaching them survival skills. For their own good...

    2. "we should be helping WITH them – working with them."
      "eel empathy and being able to show empathy , emotional regulation skills, self -compassion"

      Definitely - and let's add this: not everything that hurts is bad & not everything pleasurable is good.

      It might "hurt"to climb down that tree - even when I UNDERSTAND that it's the right thing to do - but I can learn to TOLERATE the pain & come out stronger for doing so.

      Exposure therapy works, yet it's rarely used.

      Of course we should work with empathy - but we should also train to be able to function while tolerating pain - THAT my friend, is TRUE LOVE.

      Do unto others as you would do unto yourself.... EXACTLY THE SAME.

    3. I believe in the 10% principle - so anything that is consistant with the overall approach and goals is of course welcome. A problem solving mindset , mindfulness techniques helps with negative thought - as far as belief in ones ability -I believe that the best way to improve your self-control is to see how and why you lose control. Knowing how you are likely to give in doesn’t, as many people fear, set yourself up for failure. It allows you to
      support yourself and avoid the traps that lead to willpower failures. Research shows that people who think they have the most willpower are actually the most likely to lose control when tempted.Kelly McGonigal,- the will power instict

      tolerating pain, frustration and disappoint is usually dependant on an ability to see the big picture and alternative ways of meeting our needs

  20. Chazal's view of children - could you share . For sure I have met teachers who have a negative view of kids and don't trust them .Without the systematic use of reward and punishment to control them they fear for the worst. The down side is that kids become dependent on rewards and punishments and this stunts their moral development and relationship with the teacher. There have been other teachers who see an ally in kids so they can work with them in a trusting relationship. The last 30 years of brain research has taught that the underlying causes of inappropriate behavior is developmental delays – lagging skills . I don't see any reliable Rov who will say that giving a kid a beating will teach him these skills. Could you share the Chazal you are talking about.

    1. Allan - i've mentioned numerous times that I sure your distate for ONLY using extrinsics. Please don't conflate ONLY with ALSO.

      I see very little research against ALSO, even after scanning the Deci book, which I bought to familiarize myself with SDT.

      ALSO does work imho, when it's clear that it's meant to HELP REASONING SKILLS WIN INSTEAD OF NEGATIVE URGES. You get the child on board by working with him collaboratively to agree INTELLECTUALLY what the right path is - so the extrinsic is a REINFORCER for his OWN reasoning. That too is intrinsic.

    2. I have said extrinsic motivation is OK with me if it is self determined or you need to use control, power or seducation to get a behavior .

    3. "motivation is OK with me if it is self determined"

      but I'm still at a loss to understand how you would allow a biased, distorted psych to do so, without proper guidance.

      Several times I've posted links to lists of cognitive bias, for example:

      The ONLY solution I see:

      Teach critical thinking skills & value them, instead of dealing with each misbehavior piecemeal, which becomes a never ending process of discipline & bitterness (which I agree with you is self defeating).

      Not "OK" - MANDATORY, as a PRIORITY.

      Do you want to be busy negotiating forever? Why not teach him to negotiate "within himself"?

    4. I'll bl"n try to post some Chazals on view of children later today.

    5. Ploni - I said extrinsic motivation is OK if it is self determined - this is part opf SDT
      I suggest you read the Ross Greene's Lost at school - you are so off target - CPS -does not deal with behaviors like behaviorism or traditional discipline - the focus is on problem solving - hitting is a behavior - what is the underlying problem

      CPS - is not about negotiation - negotiation is when you have 2 solutions and you have bartering or dueling solutions
      CPS will generalize so a kid will have the social and cognitive skills to be a pro-social person
      When you teach skills within the context of problems - you teach skills in a dynamic way - not top-down static skills

    6. Chazal's about Chinuch should look:

      במצות חינוך ותוכחה, ובפרט במה שנוגע מן האב והאם על הבן:
      רבינו יונה משלי כ"ב-ו – עה"פ חנוך לנער על פי דרכו גם כי יזקין לא יסור ממנה: יחל ללמדו ולהרגילו בתקון הענינים אשר תולדתו קרובה לקבל תקונם וכן ירגילהו מענין לענין ומדרך לדרך על פי אשר תשיג יד שכלו לקבל וימצא בכח תולדתו להכיל כי אין מגיעין אל שלמות המדות בפעם אחת כי אם לאט ועל יד שכלו ומן הקרוב לתודלתו אל הרחוק ממנה, וזה כון ענין על פי דרכו...

      רבינו יונה משלי כ"ב-ו – עה"פ גם כי יזקין לא יסור ממנה: בימי הנערות הדבר קרוב לישר הטבע ולתקן המדות ויקבל ההרגל וגם כי יזקין לא יסור ממנה כאשר אמרו במוסרים ההרגל על כל דבר שלטון, אבל בימי הזקנה רחוק הדבר להחליף הטבע ולהעתיקו אחרי שהרגילו בפעל ויצטרך טרח גדול ועמל עצום להפכו משרשו, ועל כן נתחיבנו בתוכחת הנער כי אין כח כלי שכלו שלם והטבע נמצא בו ואין לו תוכחת מנפשו ואם ירגיל טבעו בפעל ובהנהגה כאשר יגיע לזמן שלמות שכלו ילאה להשיב ההרגל אחור ולתקן טבעו על כן נתחיבו האב והאם לעזרו בשכלם ולתקן טבעו בימי הנערות קדם ישילט עליו ההרגל, והשנית – כי בזמן הגדול והוא בזמן הנערות יוכל לתקן טבעו יותר וכבר הביאו משל על זה מתקון הסעיף [פי: ענף של עץ, וע' פירוש רבינו יונה על אבות פ"א מי"ד] ... ראוי ללמד ולהרגיל הנער בזאת הדעת כי מן הדרך הישרה מגיעים אל כל ההצלחות.

      וכן כ' הרבינו יונה, במשלי א-ד עה"פ לתת לפתאים ערמה לנער דעת ומזמה: עקר מצות התוכחה לפתי ולנער ...אין להוכיח הכסיל היות כי המעשים שאוחז בהם דברי עוונות והרגיל נפשו ללכת אחרי תאותו ימים ושבו הדברים בנפשו לטבע. ... והנה הזהיר על תוכחת הנער אף על פי שהוא רגיל בחטא ימים רבים מפני שהוא תחת יד האב ליסרו ולהכותו והשנית מפני שיש תקוה שימשל בתאותו וישנה את טבעו אחרי שכי עודנו בימי הנערות...

      א-ח: שמע בני מוסר אביך ואל תטש תורת אמך: החל במצות מוסר אב ואם החפצים בתקון מנהגי הבן וטוב מוסרו ואחת מן האזהרות ונזכרות תמיד מן הספר הזה שיזהיר על הבן לשמע מוסר האב ועל האב להוכיחו וטעם העקר הזה מפני כי הנער לא שלמו כלי שכלו עד אשר יגדל יויצר לב האדם רע מנעוריו והנה הוא מתנהג כפי תאותו כי אין לו עזר מאת שכלו להוכיח נפשו ולהניח דרכי תאותו אוחרי שירגיל נפשו בימי הנערות ללכת אחרי תאותו יתחזק הכח המתאוה אשר בו וכאשר יגדל וישלם כח שכלו ויבקש להפר מדרך תאותו יכבד עליו מפני הגדול וההרגל, על כן צריך שיעזרהו יולידיו בשכלם ויוכיחוהו וידריכוהו בדרך ישרה בימי הנערות וגם כי יזקין לא יסור ממנה ודרך התוכחת מבארת מפסור אחר, והוא "חנוך לנער על פי דרכו".

    7. Thanks for sharing. I can now understand how the few teachers , ra'mim etc who feel they have to deal harshly with inappropriate behavior and ' beat ' the yeitzher ha'ra which is out of control. At most it may get ' behavior' but no internalization or commitment to the underlying value and a negative impact on teacher-student relationship. Now controlling behavior through extrinsic behavior and we can see it from the quotes merely 'compensates ' for the lagging skills or maturity, but does not teach. Maybe it can teach- static skills like teaching a dog some tricks and not dynamic skills. I think it is agreed about the importance of teaching procedures or habits – the question is how and whether we are interested in just the habit – a practice requiring little thought or also fostering habits of the mind , so actions become more ' intentional '. When we encourage habits of the mind , that socio-moral learning is one where the child constructs meaning and reflects on the impact of his actions , the brain grows and matures.
      'In this review, the term ‘habit’ is widened from the commonplace definition meaning an oft-repeated action or an established practice or custom requiring little thought (such as brushing one’s hair or adding sugar to one’s coffee) to mean unconscious mental propensities or processes, revealed as behavioural tendencies and dispositions as the child engages with the events and challenges of everyday life. Such ‘habits of mind’ theoretically also require little or no effort on the part of the child to initiate or sustain them and would include inclinations to take responsible risks, persistence, manage impulsivity and think ‘outside the box’ when in problem-solving situations. In their book The Habits of Mind (2008), psychologists Costa and Kallik describe how such habits of mind may be cultivated in children (or ‘habits of thought’, as John Dewey originally referred to them). They show how children can be taught, at home and at school, how to ‘habituate’ effective problem-solving strategies and techniques into their mental repertoire so that they develop the propensity for skilful problem-solving in a variety of life settings.' -
      As far as how we view kids , I think Rav RS Hirsch on the pasuk lev … ra etc takes a balanced view with kids having a tendency for doing both good and bad. In one place , according to what I have read from others , he says kids are basically good. From my experience , this is the case. If we take again Rav SRH on the word le'yasro – any interventions that are teaching – for sure providing structure, guidance and teaching which strengthens moral thinking and reflection is essential. I am always amazed how teenagers who have left the fold here where I live in Israel , have little to show in terms of their personalities. All they had was ' her'gel' and the extrinsic motivation to keep them at it.

  21. העיקר שכחתי -

    Most importantly imho, is the issue that..

    1) רצון is MANDATORY according to Judaism. assuming collaborative methods are used to clarify where we should arrive with reasoning skills & assuming that actual actions are adjusted to individual ability - certain things are clearly "no-no's".

    Neither child nor adult has the right to say "bug off" - the dictates of רצון require sincerely analyzing another person's הערה. Doing otherwise is considered ליצנות, שנאת התוכחה. of course the other fellow has obligations, too - don't disparage etc.

    2) According to attribution theory, effort is a controllable factor and therefore even science would have to admit that effort IS always possible. I know it's used as an excuse to terrorize children - I'm not talking about that - I talking about expecting רצון.


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