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Parenting using the 80/20 Rule

Drastically reduce your parenting frustration by identifying the most common problems proactively.

I'm currently reading a book about the Pareto principle, or the 80/20 Rule.

The Pareto principle states that most things are caused by only a small amount of factors. In other words, often 80% of the results you get are caused by 20% of the things you do.

For example, you probably wear a small amount of your clothes most of the time (your wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time).

The 80/20 Principle asserts that a minority of causes, inputs, or effort usually lead to a majority of the results, outputs, or rewards. Taken literally, this means that, for example, 80 percent of what you achieve in your job comes from 20 percent of the time spent.

The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less

Since learning about this principle, I have started to see it in many different areas of my life.

With my kids, what I've found is that most of my fights and frustrations with them come from a small amount of predictable situations.

For example, in the morning when they don't want to get ready for school. Or in the evening, when they don't want to get ready for dinner.

So, by identifying these few problem areas, and then proactively working on solving them, I can drastically reduce my own frustration.

When we interviewed Dr. Ross Greene for our book How To Get Kids To Listen, he shared his Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) model for proactively solving these types of problems with your kids.

Dr. Greene is a clinical psychologist and the best-selling author of Raising Human Beings and The Explosive Child.

The first step of his CPS model is to proactively identify the expectations that you feel your child are not meeting, or problems they are having.

Then, you decide which of these problems are most important to you, and you use his model to work with your child to proactively solve each problem.

Here's how Dr. Greene describes the process:

One of the things we’re doing in this model is we’re having parents make a list of every expectation a child is having difficulty reliably meeting. And that makes those problems predictable. And that means that those problems can be solved proactively. And that means that we’re very good at helping parents get out of the heat of the moment.

Dr. Ross Greene

In the interview, Dr. Greene also shares why it is so important to focus on solving problems instead of trying to "fix" your child's behavior. He explains how to talk to your child to get them to help you solve these problems.

Dr. Greene also reveals the common skills your child might lack which cause bad behavior, and how to teach them these skills while solving the problems at the same time.