Collaborative and Proactive Solutions Explained


Collaborative & Proactive Solutions, developed by Dr. Ross Greene

What is CPS?

The key premise of CPS is that kids do the best they can with the skills they’ve got.  When we encounter difficulties, it’s up to the adults to identify and teach skills that our children are lacking.  

A summary of the Collaborative & Proactive Solutions method

Identify Something You’ve Noticed

Identify something you’ve noticed without blame or judgement.  

Hey buddy, I noticed you had a hard time when your friend wasn’t following the rules in that game. What’s up?”  


Give them a chance to explain their perception of what is happening.  Do not interrupt and do not correct their version of events.  


Empathize with the child’s experience and validate their feelings.  

ie. “It’s very frustrating when someone isn’t playing fair. Sounds like that made you pretty angry. I sometimes feel frustrated when someone isn’t playing fair too.” 

Identify Your Concern

Identify your concern — without blame or judgement.  Explain your concern without labelling the child or their behaviour, and without making assumptions.  

My concern is that when you raise your voice at other kids, it makes them feel unsafe, and everyone has less fun, including you. I want everyone to feel safe and have fun.” 

Child’s Concerns

Ask the child to identify any concerns they have.  

Ask them if they have any suggestions or ideas for ways you can work together to solve the problem.  Invite them to be part of the solution.  

Invite the Child

Ask them if they have any suggestions for ways you can work together to solve the problem.  

What do you think we can do to solve this problem together?”  

This includes actions that can be taken both by the children and the adults.  

Check-in & Summarize

Check in with the child at the end of the conversation:

  • How are you feeling about our conversation?
  • Do you think our plan is fair?  
  • Do you think we can all try those ideas and see how they go?
  • It’s okay if they don’t work perfectly, we can always make adjustments if we find things aren’t working for us.  

CPS Info & Resources

For more information on the Collaborative & Proactive Solutions model, please visit the Lives in the Balance website.

Read our series of blog posts integrating Dr. Greene’s Collaborative Proactive Solutions model.

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