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The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children Paperback – January 19, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A groundbreaking approach to understanding and parenting children who frequently exhibit severe fits of temper and other intractable behaviours, from a distinguished clinician and pioneer in this field, now updated to include the most recent research.

Almost everyone knows an explosive child, one whose frequent, severe fits of temper leave his or her parents standing helpless in their fear, frustration, and guilt. Most of these parents have tried everything—reasoning, behaviour modification, therapy, medication—but to no avail. They wonder if their child is deviant or just plain bad.

Dr. Ross Greene has worked with thousands of explosive children, and he has good news: these kids aren't bad, and neither are their parents. Rather, explosive children suffer from a physiological deficiency in frustration tolerance and flexibility. Throughout this compassionate book, Dr. Greene demonstrates why traditional treatments don't work for these kids and offers a new conceptual framework for understanding their behaviour, along with new language to describe it. He explains the latest neuroscience findings about the importance of flexibility, and, most important, he shows parents specific, practical ways they can recognize the signs of an impending explosion, defuse tension, and reduce frustration levels for the entire family.

  • For parents, psychologists, educators and ADHD groups.
  • In addition to the scientific foundation of the book, Greene addresses parents in practical ways that will help show results in difficult children and their effect on families.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Ross W. Greene, Ph.D., is Associate Clinical Professor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the originator of the Collaborative Problem Solving approach. Dr. Greene consults extensively to families, schools, and therapeutic facilities, and he lectures throughout the world.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Revised Updated edition (January 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061906190
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061906190
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (402 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Ross Greene is the originator of a model for understanding and helping behaviorally challenging kids that is now called Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS). The CPS model provides a compassionate, research-based understanding of behavioral challenges and an empirically supported, proactive, non-punitive, non-adversarial approach for reducing challenging episodes, improving communication, and repairing relationships. The CPS model was originally articulated in his first book, The Explosive Child (now available in a revised and completely updated fifth edition, and also recently published in Spanish as "El Nino Explosivo"). The model was also described in Dr. Greene's most recent work, Lost at School (now available in a revised and updated second edition). All three books are available through amazon.com, along with The Adventures of Stretch More, a book for kids and parents to read together.

Dr. Greene is founding director of the non-profit Lives in the Balance (www.livesinthebalance.org), which provides free, web-based resources on his approach and advocates on behalf of behaviorally challenging kids and their parents, teachers, and other caregivers. The many research papers documenting the effectiveness of the CPS model can also be found on the Lives in the Balance website. Dr. Greene was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School for over twenty years; he is now adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech. He consults extensively to families, schools, inpatient psychiatry units, and residential and juvenile detention facilities, and lectures widely throughout the world (visit www.cpsconnection.com for a complete listing of learning and training options). Dr. Greene has been featured in a wide range of media, including The Oprah Show, Good Morning America, The Morning Show, and National Public Radio. He lives in Portland, Maine with his wife and two kids.

Feel free to connect with Dr. Greene by using the Contact form on either website.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

243 of 248 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
I read The Explosive Child after reading The Defiant Child (and attending a Douglas Riley-esque parenting class). The problem with the premise in The Defiant Child, and in most of the negative reviews on this book, is that there are many adults who cling obstinately to the belief that these children are capable of doing better than they are, and if the adult can just make said child's life difficult enough, he/she will shape up.

The problem with that line of thinking, and the subsequent "strategies" it produces, is that no matter how much I punish a child, if he/she is incapable of doing better, the issues we face will persist. It is akin to punishing a child who needs glasses for not being able to see. A much better solution all around would be to get him/her glasses.

My daughter, in the Riley worldview, would be "punishing me" or "controlling" and "manipulating." What I saw was a little girl who was so very overwhelmed by various aspects of her environment, that she had no adaptations, no ability to cope. I can't imagine what it must be like to live in a world where the way your plate is turned at dinner, or which direction your socks are facing, is so overwhelming a proposition that you lose the ability to function and/or think rationally. That's the little girl I was living with. The little girl who could blow up over the most incomprehensible thing, and for whom most of life's daily situations and frustrations were just more than she could bear.

In the calm between storms, she was (and still is) a delightful girl - funny, bright, loving, and always, always remorseful after an explosion. I knew she knew what she was doing was wrong, and moreover, she didn't want to be doing it at all.
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192 of 205 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book changed my life. My child does not respond to "traditional" disciplinary approaches. I'd tried everything short of spanking � time outs, consequences, loss of priveledges, positive reinforcement for good behavior � and NOTHING worked. After reading at least 20 parenting books and struggling to find a way to cope with my child, I discovered "The Explosive Child." What a godsend. This book provides a new way of looking at and helping "difficult" children who respond with anger and aggression when they are frustrated, and explains why traditional methods of discipline don't work with these kids. It then goes on to suggest a new method to teach kids (and their parents!) the skills they need to avoid meltdowns. While perhaps geared more toward the older child and adolescents, I think it would still be helpful to parents of preschoolers. Even if your child doesn't have major behavioral problems, it teaches great basic communication skills. I'd highly recommend it for people who work with kids, especially difficult ones.
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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Heather Petit on January 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
Honestly, we'd gotten used to living with huge hairy awful fits, daily. The meltdowns were just part of our life. So was the yelling (ours), the futile attempts to get coherence out of him when he was upset, and the endless cycle of reinforcements and consequences that just made him feel 'bad', and made us feel increasingly powerless, and never stopped the behaviors.

I spotted this book on vacation, and read it on the road. Some parts were hard to swallow at first, like dropping the consequences. But I found I couldn't argue with the logic! If it isn't working, why keep doing it? Do something else with that energy!

We're not perfect at implementing it - I still forget and start off with 'No, you can't...' and then as I see my son's brain start to lock up, I backtrack to 'Wait, wait, yes, you can, let's figure out how to make that work, we can solve this problem together!' (Quick, which basket was that???!) But even with my admittedly slow progress, my son's progress was STUNNING. We went from daily screaming fits to definite improvement (a day without any fits) in THREE DAYS. On day three, he stopped himself in mid-vaporlock and started to calm himself down on his own! He needed help to complete the process, but I was so thrilled, I cried.

Since then (now six months), we've moved to not having any big huge hairy fits at all. The fits that do happen, even when there's an additional stress (sick, allergic reaction, etc.), fits that were managable, he can almost always de-escalate himself. We've progressed steadily to moving more things into their 'normal' baskets, and we're constantly moving (if not always quite as fast as those initial few days) toward him managing himself, instead of me serving as part of his brain.

It takes work.
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75 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Lori on June 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Finally somebody who understands what we live with. After several years of professionals suggesting that we just needed another parenting class, we were ready to fall apart. "The Explosive Child" acknowledges that children like mine exist and that we have to understand why they are the way they are and how we can start to bring some sanity to our lives. For desperate parents, this book is like oxygen. It provides a great template for dealing with explosive children on a day to day basis. Dr. Greene's book gave me the courage to stop accepting answers that clearly weren't in our daughter's best interest. This gave me the understanding of how to start advocating for my child. If you find yourself thinking that 'something just isn't right with my child' and 'how can I live with this behavior forever' and 'we need help because nobody understands what we live with', then this book belongs in your hands today. I am not exagerating when I say this book saved our family. We actually have hope that we can raise our child to be a happy and self-sufficient person instead of ending up dead or in jail.
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