From Publishers Weekly
Psychiatrist and Harvard professor Greene follows up The Explosive Child with an in-depth approach to aid parents and teachers to work together with behaviorally challenging students. Greene's philosophy is driven by the recognition that "kids who haven't responded to natural consequences don't need more consequences, they need adults who are knowledgeable about how challenging kids come to be challenging." Greene's "Plan B" system, which is fully and clearly explained in the course of the book, emphasizes identifying challenging behaviors-acting out, hitting, swearing, poor performance in class-and then working with students to find actual, practical ways to avoid them. Helpfully, Greene uses a fictional school for examples, devoting several pages to illustrative anecdotes in each chapter, greatly increasing the material's accessibility. Greene's technique is not fail-proof, principally because it requires the good will and hard work of all participants; a section on implementing Plan B in the face of real disagreement or apathy would have been helpful. However, Plan B has all the qualities of accessibility, logic and compassion to make it a solid strategy for parents and educators.
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Zero-tolerance policies in school that take swift and harsh action against children for misbehavior are in danger of attaching labels and stigma to children with behavior problems, according to Greene, psychiatrist and author of The Explosive Child (1998). Greene explores the causes behind the behavior of children who are considered hard to control. He maintains that such children are not acting out of defiance but because they lack the skills to adapt their behavior to school norms. When adults take the time to teach children adaptive skills in increments, they see remarkable improvements in the behavior of these children. Drawing on his experience as a psychiatrist, Greene recounts vignettes of challenging behavior—from crying and whining to avoid tasks to manipulation to disruptive shouting or truculence. These children often have difficulty changing routine during the school day, reflecting on many thoughts at the same time, or managing emotions. Green advises making a checklist of unsolved problems and lagging skills and devising specific plans for addressing them. Accessible advice for parents and teachers concerned about children with behavior problems. --Vanessa Bush