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on January 20, 2015
Our child isn't "explosive" but just way harder to get to do stuff than some - i.e. transition from bed to up, from TV to homework, from friend's house to car, etc. This book really helps in explaining those behaviors so they make sense and giving techniques to avoid the threats and yelling that I hate to say was getting pretty common in our house. Maybe better title: "The Explosive Parent; A New Approach for Understanding and Dealing With the Strange Person You Become sometimes when Dealing With Your Child."
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on December 15, 1998
After years of reading books on "strong-willed" or "difficult" children... and years of psychotherapy, Dr. Greene's fresh approach to what seemed an unsolvable problem has brought peace to our household for the first time in 8 years. I have bought a copy of this book for everyone that deals with my 10-year-old son: my parents, his teacher, his previous teacher, and the County Mental Health worker who is working with us on in-home behavior modification. I was very sceptical when I first learned of Dr. Greene's approach-- it sounded too easy ! But it truly, truly works.
Dr. Greene put into words what I had always known about my child, but couldn't express cohesively. My son used to have several "melt-downs" each week, and I always wondered how much control he had over his own behavior and emotions. Now I know the answer, and also can recognize the various stages of escalation leading up to a rage episode.
Applying Dr. Greene's "basket" principles, we haven't had a melt-down in 3 weeks, and my son's cooperation with our "basket A" and "basket B" requests is fantastic. No more melt-downs, no more frustrated adults. We actually have hope for a brighter future. Even school is going really, really well.
Many thanks to Dr. Greene for giving us an alternative to manage our "inflexible, explosive" (but lovable) children !
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on December 26, 1999
As a teacher of children with behavioral and emotional disorders, I found Greene's book extremely useful. In the first part of the book, he explores inflexibility and explosiveness in children (and biological/chemical factors influencing such behavior.) This section alone is worth its weight in gold for helping parents and teachers take a closer look at what's going on with their kids.
The rest of the book is devoted to his "three basket" intervention method. I am beginning to use this technique in my classroom to help avoid "meltdowns" over issues that really aren't important and to help TEACH my students how to negotiate and cope in frustrating situations. I want my students to become more flexible not just because it makes it easier on me in the classroom; they'll be happier and less frustrated in school, at home, and out in the world.
I've recommended this book to many parents and colleagues.
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on March 16, 2000
The cover of this book caught my eye in the bookstore and I knew there must be something in there for me. I finally had some authoritative information on what my family has been through for the past 13 years. I've known our son was "different" since he was a toddler throwing his time-out chair at me and screaming, I just didn't understand why until now. The "pick your battles" basket approach Dr Greene uses puts daily frustrations and battles into perspective and gives the frustrated parent an extremely useful tool in learning to work with the time bomb in your house. Letting go of the notion that a child should behave a certain way and obey without question is very difficult for some parents to do but learning the art of negotiating with your explosive child and reducing the "meltdowns" in your life is well worth it.
The chapter on medications is very helpful for those not understanding what an important role they can play. Our son has been on Ritalin for ADHD since he was 3 1/2 and was finally diagnosed at age ten as also having bipolar disorder. After 2 hospitalizations in the past 2 1/2 years and 2 suicide attempts in the last year we are getting the correct mixture of 7 different medications that have finally helped stabilize his moods enough to actually begin to use the methods in the book. Dr. Greene has finally helped us find a major piece of the puzzle to being able to help our family regain some sanity in our lives.
Anyone who has ever looked down at another parent for not being able to control their child needs to read this book and walk a mile in their shoes. The parents of these children need a friend much more than they need another condescending comment on how to raise their children.
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on November 18, 2014
This was an excellent read. I'm 30 years old, and I was not reading this for my own parenting skills (although that was a definite perk), but to gain some insight as to why my own childhood was incredibly hurtful, frustrating, and confusing. Coming from a home with no abuse or out and out mistreatment, it is hard even at this point to look back and make sense of why growing up was so difficult. I had problems in school, although I tried very hard, and I was constantly getting in trouble for not following through on things, even though I didn't realize what I hadn't followed through on. I had problems getting along with peers and siblings, and spent a lot of time wondering why I was so stupid and lonely. I had plan A parents, and this book was really helpful in making sense of it all. I'm pretty sure this book isn't supposed to make you cry, but I did. I can vouch for kids like me, that they aren't failing because they want to be defiant and rebellious. Kids like me experience pain in constantly trying to succeed and failing, feeling burned out, and acting out of intense frustration. Discipline won't help that, because the child already knows and is trying. Helping your kid develop skills to overcome those challenges is what they need. Excellent book... 5 stars.
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on February 23, 2000
This book really hit the nail on the head in describing what seems to be going on with these children - how they start to go into a "meltdown" and after this begins it is as if they no longer can comprehend what is going on. You cannot at that point reason with the child and nothing you say actually gets through. The child is always sorry or evens sometimes cannot recall the events that took place while going through this event.
The book is great at helping you set priorities as to what behaviors are worth going through a blow-out and what isn't with his basket approach. In other words, how to pick your battles.
The basket approach is easy to comprehend and usually easy to put to use. However - the things that must go into the "A" basket [which are things that are non-negotiable] are, for many parents, the very same things that are causing the most disturbance in their households. This includes such things are getting up in the morning and getting dressed and going to school. He does not tell you how to best ride-out or attempt to diffuse these situations. It's great to say that parents should limit basket A to these types of items, but we still need help in getting these things accomplished!
I, myself, am the parent of an explosive/inflexible child and I'll tell you - this book was recommended by my son's school and his therapist because none of the traditional behavior management methods, medications and/or counseling has done any good in helping him and ourselves deal with this. We have been doing counseling for 4 1/2 yrs and using meds for 3 yrs. I bought the book with high hopes because he is once again in crisis at school and things are terrible at home.
In summation, this book is great for determining if your child is explosive/inflexible and will help you with guidelines in dealing with the school, but it really doesn't answer the question any parent of a child like this has - "What can I do to enforce the MUST DO regimens of everyday life?
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on November 1, 1998
Reading Dr. Greene's book is the first exciting development in the treatment for our child in 6 long, tough years. It is the first time that I have encountered a M.H. professional that understands what has been in my heart all along: that he has explosive episodes rooted in frustration that paralyze his thinking ability, and under those circumstances, controls and punishment do more harm than good to a child who "knows" his behavior is unacceptable but does not have the skills to change. He is already in a great deal of pain, and consequences only exacerbate his frustration. Beyond this understanding, the author takes theory into a revolutionary "user friendly" methodology for re-teaching the parents first, the child, school and anyone else in the loop. He does not insult parents by telling them that their inept parenting skills are causal, instead he poses the question: Have your previous methods (usually those encouraged by conventional theories) yielded desirable results; Is your child any better able to avoid explosive behavior?
A previous reviewer commented that this book may be too arduous for an exhausted parent to get through. On the contrary, it is was energizing! It was written with extreme patience. This book is a tool for anyone involved with explosive children, especially for professionals who are open to changing their approach to one with promise to be far more effective. Though it is critical of behavioral modification it does not discount the benefits to some children. Permissiveness is not encouraged, if that is the fear of skeptics of this method. The key point is that punishment and rewards have failed over and over again to have any positive impact on inflexible-explosive children.
His major premise is that children do not "choose" these behaviors and consequently they cannot choose to change any more than a child with diabetes can choose to change his body chemistry. Instead, by concentrating all effort on the most destructive behavior, a child may be taught the skills he is lacking to deal with frustration. Coherance and logic need to restored first. In time, the other behaviors can be dealt with once his environment is friendlier and not perceived as antagonistic. This method has promise to reunite families, torn apart by rage.
Dr. Greene encourages parents and others involved to change their vision of the child as the first step to employing his techniques. This is the point that had the greatest impact on my thinking. My hope is that he is able to change the vision of the mental health system with his approach, enabling more parents the opportunity to access this method.
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on January 15, 2015
After reading numerous books to help my imperfect child, I found this method to be the one and only solution for my 10 year old son. My son has been diagnosed with ADHD, Depression, and borderline Aspergers. I have spent years with him in therapy which always suggested the punishment and reward system for discipline. It never worked. As soon as I began reading Dr. Greene's, "The Explosive Child" I began crying because the girl, Jennifer, was exactly like my son. Through Dr. Greene's book I have found a way to break down all the barriers that have been causing so much stress in our lives. Dr. Greene's method is more about teaching your child the tools he needs to be successful in handling choices or problems without a total meltdown. My son's short fuse is gaining length as long as I keep remembering that although it seems like I'm giving up parenting power, I am actually getting more power in a less hyper vigilant way and I have learned that kids do well if they can.
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on December 9, 1999
This book is a must have for parenting easily frustrated children. A step by step guide leads you through each phase of helping you and your child restore order and happiness in your lives. By following and understanding the correct parenting approach for these types of children we were able to reduce temper tantrums and explosive behavior in a matter of 6 months. I highly recommend this book. It has become our bible for our easily frustrated, bipolar 5 year old. Includes disciple guidlines, siblings and enviromental assistance.
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on December 31, 1998
I can't really do more than echo the praises of other reviewers, but I wanted to add that this excellent book will be also be indispensible for many parents of children with autism, Asperger's syndrome or PDD-NOS. Most of the examples in the book focus on kids with ADHD or Tourette's, and the book only mentions PDD very briefly, but its wise advice would be equally relevant to verbal kids with autistic spectrum conditions who have rage attacks/tantrums, as many do.
I'm speaking from personal experience here - I have Asperger's syndrome (a mild autistic spectrum condition), and, looking back, as a child I definitely fitted the "inflexible-explosive" patterns described in the book. This book encapsulates all the wisdom my exhausted parents had to learn the hard way.
I already know of at least one parent of a teenager with AS who is currently finding the book absolutely lifesaving, and I've had to buy several copies to lend to people.
It's thoughtful, humane, and very practical. Very highly recommended.
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