15 January 2010 ~ 0 Comments

The Explosive Child by Ross Greene

I picked this book up because the description sounded familiar and I’ve read and researched so much that I’m pretty much willing to read anything. I’d rub crystals together and chant Barney songs if it would help. My son has some issues with controlling his emotions/frustrations. The opening chapter of this book starts with a girl having a complete meltdown over waffles? Why? Because her expectations got changed abruptly and she lacked the skills to come up with another solution. I nearly started crying because that little girl sounded so familiar. Right down to room running and screaming.

The author calls this a lack of skill in the “frustration tolerance and flexibility”. Oh thank god there are other parents out there that go through this. It’s not just me. I know to some people the book sounds like more of a kid that has a hard head, but it’s more than that. The remorse he goes through after a blow up and we talk it out is pretty amazing. So far, out of everything I’ve read, researched, etc – this book and this approach seems to fit his personality.

I will admit that we are still struggling with the Plan B thing. I sometimes give up, get frustrated myself and invoke my own plan (or just give up and let him do what he wants). It’s not a perfect thing and it takes, as a parent, a LOT of commitment and patience. BUT when we do succeed at it, it’s bliss.

My son is not a bad kid (as anyone who meets him will tell you). He’s a very sweet loving boy that loves to give kisses and hugs – yes, even at 9-years-old. But he completely loses it. It’s usually shortlived and he usually manages to only have meltdowns at home, which is good, he is able to control it until he feels safe.

ANYWAY, this isn’t about my kid, but about the book – it has made a positive impact when we are able to successfully put Plan B into motion. We still have some setbacks – like a plan we agree on doesn’t work or I sometimes get frustrated myself, but my husband is reading this book now and I know that once we both get the skills down, we will be successful. I like the way the information is presented. It’s not a “this is what is wrong with your kid and this is how you fix it” type of a read, but more of a conversation and the author readily admits that it’s kind of a crap shoot, you just have to keep whittling away at it. I will admit that the dialogue the author uses in the book is a bit stilted and maybe unrealistic, but maybe it’s because I talk to my kids a little differently, BUT it’s just examples so I’ve changed the wording and whatnot to fit more into our family. If I can get my son to laugh first, the whole conversation takes on a better tone and he is more willing to help me find solutions.

I see he has another book or two, one for educators. I’m considering picking that up as well to see if it can give me some additional insight.

I highly recommend this book if you think you have an “explosive” child on your hands. I don’t know if this is ultimately what will be our turning point, but so far the results we’ve seen have been pretty amazing. But this book is for parents that don’t mind “losing” a fight or are inflexible themselves. This book is a definite take on the whole ‘pick your battles’ mentality, which, luckily, my husband and I agree on wholeheartedly.

Almost everyone knows an explosive child, one whose temper and extreme noncompliance leaves his or her parents standing helpless in fear, frustration, and guilt. Now, in The Explosive Child, Dr. Ross Greene, the noted therapist who has worked with thousands of these children, offers parents good news: These kids aren’t bad; rather, they suffer from a physiological deficiency in frustration tolerance and flexibility. This compassionate book helps parents grasp the underlying problems of explosive children, defuse explosive episodes, and reduce tension and hostility levels for the entire family by providing invaluable tools for coping with this behavioral disorder.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Book count for 2010: 5

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