What is collaborative problem solving for ADHD?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
Collaborative problem solving (CPS) teaches adults strategies to help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In CPS, designed by Dr. Ross Greene and colleagues, adults are taught to work collaboratively with children with ADHD. Instead of waiting for behaviors to happen and then rewarding or punishing the child, adults are taught to predict situations that might cause problem behaviors. Adults must act proactively because children with ADHD may lack skills to resolve difficult situations in ways parents would like.

This approach encourages the adult and child to work together to reduce undesirable outcomes. Adults using CPS techniques are encouraged to teach children specific skills to reduce frustration and problem behaviors, helping parents and children solve problems and adapt to difficult situations together. When an adult senses that trouble is about to occur, they can address the issue and steer the child in a healthy and positive direction. Over time, this may reduce intense emotional outbursts and problem behaviors.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Collaborative problem solving is (believe it or not) a collaborative approach to tackling challenging behaviors in people with ADHD. The idea is that the children, parents, and even teachers work together to identify what the specific behaviors or issues are, why they are worrisome or bothersome, and how to realistically and effectively deal with them. By working together, everyone is on the same page, everyone’s voice gets heard, and agreeable solutions are established together.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.