"The Explosive Child"
by Ross W. Greene Ph.d
A book review by Jamie Paige
One night, I saw Dr. Greene being featured on a weekly news show. I was intrigued by the family that Dr. Greene was featuring that night. They had a young child who appeared to be "running the show" within his home literally holding his parents and siblings emotional hostages. No matter what type of discipline the boy's parents used, it didn't work. The parents, in frustration had tried everything, and to no avail. The child would run screaming up to one of his parents (or siblings) and hit and yell. The child seemed innocent enough, but it appeared he was especially prone to throwing one of his "temper tantrums" around meal times or when asked to do a chore at home. Bed time was even more of a disaster and the child often did not fall asleep until he was completely exhausted around midnight or later. No one in the family was safe from his behaviors when he was in the midst of these "outbursts". I had to find out more. I ordered the book from our Public Library and have been sharing it with friends ever since.
Dr. Greene calls these episodes "meltdowns", and for lots of different reasons, the behavior follows different patterns for different families. For that reason, Dr. Greene gives a step by step remedy for parents to follow using lots of case histories. Calling the children "inflexible-explosive" the children seem to have a "striking inflexibility and low frustration tolerance." (page5) Well-meaning friends and family may go so far as to call the child manipulative, bratty or controlling and blame parents for not knowing how to discipline their children correctly. Dr. Greene talks about the set of characteristics Turecki used for temperamentally difficult children and says:..."there is high activity level, distractibility, high intensity, withdrawal or poor reaction to new or unfamiliar things, poor adaptability (reacting badly to changes in routine), negative persistence (strong willed, whiny, rigid) low sensory threshold (for example clothes that don't "feel" right), and negative mood (cranky, irritable) (page27). The kids can have a variety of diagnosed problems, from learning inefficiencies like ADHD, language-processing impairments, sensory integration deficits, Non-Verbal learning disabilities, Asperger's disorder as well as things like bi-polar disorder, depression, Tourette's etc. Whatever the problem, if you are a parent who is feeling any of the following feelings, ....frustrated, confused, angry, bitter, guilty, overwhelmed, worn out, or hopeless, (page4) this
book is a must! Believe me when I say that help is on the way!
The first advice may be to start keeping a journal of when your child's meltdowns occur. Is it before school, after school, during school, when asked to change to a different task, when he/she is hungry? An inflexible-explosive child may have many episodes a day, or just 1 or 2
a week. After chronicling when the meltdowns occur, you may move onto Dr. Greene's suggestions for a new, simplistic, innovative, non-traditional parenting approach! Defining problems by imaginary baskets, Baskets A, B, and C! Basket A is for the behaviors that are
important enough to endure meltdown's over, or those behavioral expectations which are non-negotiable. Safety or unsafe behavior is always in basket A. In basket B goes behaviors that are important or undesirable, but that you are willing to negotiate. This is where you
learn to help the child communicate and compromise. Basket C is full of behaviors that you are going to forget, or as Dr. Greene says, at least for now.
This book is written so you and I can read it easily. Any parent can read the book and get something useful out of it. After spending lots of time talking to different professionals and getting no help, most of the parents in Dr. Greene's book came out with helpful techniques to
bring some sense of peace and tranquility back into their homes. I am sure if you read this book, you will too!
Harper Collins Publishers at http://www.harpercollins.com may be what you need to order this book!
Dr. Greene is Director of Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology at the Clinical and Research Program in Pediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital where he specializes in the treatment of inflexible-explosive kids of all ages. He is also assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
Jamie Paige is a PTF Clerk with the United States Post Office, and is soon to Graduate from the University of Northern Iowa with her degree in Social Work. She is a parent advocate for parents whose children have
disability problems within the school systems and also is opening up her home for a support group for parents who have children with disabilities, especially NLD. She is the Mother of 2 children one of
which is diagnosed with NLD!