The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children
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The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  1,978 ratings  ·  315 reviews
What′s an explosive child? A child who responds to routine problems with extreme frustration-crying, screaming, swearing, kicking, hitting, biting, spitting, destroying property, and worse. A child whose frequent, severe outbursts leave his or her parents feeling frustrated, scared, worried, and desperate for help. Most of these parents have tried everything-reasoning, exp...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published October 1st 1998)
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This book was very helpful to me, as I do have a child who is a tad on the explosive/inflexible side. However, I think this book may have helped me more than him directly. It helped me see that my expectations are too high, and that re-focusing my priorities is helping him deal with life in a much healthier way. It made me think in more in terms of compromise instead of "my way or the highway". He is responding very well to this because he now feels like he has more control over his decisions (e...more
Jonathan Peto
The book is billed as "a new approach for understanding and parenting easily frustrated, chronically inflexible children". I don't know if it's new - it seemed logical and simple enough, but I think the author's presentation is so clear that you will benefit from the book even if you are already trying to solve problems with your child collaboratively. A few reviewers seemed to feel that the author was negative, but I completely disagree. I thought he was extraordinarily understanding toward chi...more
sarah gilbert
This book is a revelation for parents frustrated, frightened, confused by their child's unusually challenging behavior. It presents a framework for dealing with their behavior and finding a way to teach children *how* to behave appropriately, and to stop believing they don't *want* to do well ("kids do well if they can"). The book rejects many popular diagnoses -- like oppositional-defiant disorder, ADHD, and the like -- as being beside the point.

This book is not, however, a one-stop solution fo...more
I want to give this book a bad review because it really goes against everything I hold to be reasonable. But, I have been implementing it for 4 days now and getting some pretty amazing results. Results that I am certain are directly related to following the plan set out by the authors.

I know what you're thinking. "Really? Four whole days? It's a Christmas miracle." If I were there in front of you, I'd reply, "These are the first 4 days that have even teetered on the brink of replicating normal...more
Wouldn't it be nice if when our kids explode they explode with rainbows and sparkles? It would be a mess to clean up but a vast improvement. Lately it seems like our life is smack dab in the middle of a fault line. It's a four year old one. Sweet Pea has always been very sensitive and has had a few meltdowns. But for the past six months, about the time she started preschool it's been an every day thing. Sometimes it's little meltdowns and it's easy to get her out of it. But too often it's a scre...more
I ended up really enjoying this book. It was a big eye opener for me on how to deal with my child that is stubborn, smart, perfectionist, always needing to be right, and throws temper tantrums and has a really short fuse. It was interesting idea on that your child just is missing some ways on how to process certain things that happen to them, which end up really frustrate them. How giving them a punishment while they are frustrated is ineffective, and so are many other parenting practices for yo...more
I was very disappointed in this book. There was never any clear discussion of what symptoms or characteristics one might use to classify their child as "explosive" other than one who throws a lot of violent fits. But there is a big difference between a "difficult" kid and one who is emotionally incapable of controlling him- or herself.

Also, the book devolves quickly into doc-speak, bandying terms like "separation of affect," "working memory" and "shifting cognitive set" which had me seeing stars...more
Aug 06, 2009 Kim rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: school staff
Recommended to Kim by: Diane Hinves (psychologist)
Shelves: parenting, 2009
I loved the philosophy of this author, that children do well if they can. He helped me understand some of the challenging behaviors Robbie sometimes has and how to deal with them. He said to first figure out what some of the things are that trigger an explosion. For Robbie that might be a sibling taking a toy away from him, turning the TV off to do homework, etc. Then he described plan A, C, and B for dealing with the explosion. A is insisting on your way. C is dropping the expectation entirely,...more
Naomi Kenorak
This book takes a different perspective to inflexible-explosive children - children who do not respond to behavioral modification programs (like traditional rewards and punishments) because they do not have the flexibility to change their behavior once they degrade or meltdown in the face of unexpected circumstances. These children have great difficulties because they often cannot foresee a problem before it happens - even if it has happened regularly before and their parents think it is plain a...more
Someone asked why I chose this book over the many others out there on this subject.
1. it deals directly with the brain and its pathways - there is actually some scientific basis for the theories behind this book
2. it treats the children (and parents) with a great deal of compassion and respect. The solutions have to do with understand our child and coaching them to grow the missing pathways rather than manage, rewarding or punishing (which I know from experience just do not work with my child)

Loved it. Super different way if parenting and I have a hard time letting go if some basic 'normal' parenting ideas but as he says 'how is that working for you?'. And it's not. This is about extreme kids and thats what we gave, and I didn't set out a year ago to find a diagnosis but Finally feel like we've found one. Here's hoping
Jag har nyss läst boken och jag är helt salig. Den förklarar så mycket av det vi har gått/går igenom. Den ger bekräftelse och handfast hjälp. Perfekt vore det för föräldrar att få den träning som föräldrar får i boken avseende förhållningssätt till sina barn. Det som framförallt hjälpt mig är följande:

Jag får exempel beskrivna som inte helt stämmer med vad jag varit med om men där tydliga paralleller kan dras. Jag gillade först inte det första kapitlet och slutade därför läsa, jag började igen e...more
This book gave me a lot to think about. The author takes on the task of dealing with children who explode -- who get unreasonably angry over seemingly minor things. He says the usual advice is to follow more strictly a system of consequences for bad behavior and rewards for good behavior. He disagrees with that and says there are children for whom that just doesn't work. He gives another way of talking children through their anger and coming to a mutually satisfying solution. I learned a lot fro...more
Clearly this book was written for parents who are so overwhelmed with their misbehaving children, they no longer want to be parents. The author is continously trying to encourage the parents to ENDURE their children, he neglects to encourage us to ENJOY them. As a parent of a high-strung, tempermental child, this book was recommended to me. While a lot of the information applied to my child, the author's approach was so negative that it was hard to apply the princliples. I realize that this book...more
I think this is a great book-- other than the unrelenting sexist wording (the kid with the problem is *always* referred to as "he"-- for which I took off a whole star). I'm still not convinced this is what's going on with my son--- his triggers seems to be hunger and tiredness. But the techniques seem very child-friendly, practical and promoting of teaching skills and building peace within a family.

Thoughts from before I read the book:
I wonder if this book would be helpful for me in dealing with...more
I read this book because it sounded like something that might help me with my daughter. I think it will, but the really interesting thing was that I kept seeing myself as I read it. So many incidents from my childhood and adolescence suddenly make so much more sense. I was always more implosive than explosive, in the author's words, but the underlying issues are the same. Not only that, but I now recognize the same difficulty with frustration in both my husband and one of my brothers. I've only...more
If you have a child diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Syndrome, or as Dr. Greene prefers to call them, "inflexible-explosive," you MUST read this book. It completely changed the way I think about daughter. It helped me to see that she's not a tough discipline case, nor am I a parenting failure. She has a processing disorder, and instead of trying to bend her to our will, we have to teach her the skills she needs to reason through her frustration. It isn't easy, and it's very slow going on most...more
Another discipline book I almost finished reading! I can tell I have an explosive child on my hands, but this book made me feel a lot better about my personal situation. It could be a lot worse! However, the solution proposed by the book - a sort of negotiation with your child - has not worked in our household. I suppose we just can't get over the notion that we should be in charge. Period.

So... the explosions continue. I'm hoping he grows out of it!
This was a good book for discussing ways to communicate in a proactive way with your child. However, I disagreed with its philosophy that rewards and punishments for behavior were unnecessary because the child already knows what behaviors you want to see.
Crap theory! Parents can use the 'basket' method until they turn blue in the face..... Get an eval of your child and family system instead of reading this book. It is a starting point, but not the solution.
JoAnn   W.
Nov 03, 2007 JoAnn W. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents and teachers of difficult children and teens
This is a must-read book for parents of hard-to-handle kids. It outlines a practical solution to conflicts -- "the three baskets" and shows how to apply this method for more peace and domestic tranquility.
love, love this book! It is a great technique for any parent who gets frustrated with a kiddo who is having a rough patch.
Good book. Nothing new to me but great strategies for parents and teachers working with explosive children.
Brenda Higgs
I laughed through most of the read. While I found the title intriguing, it was just another unsuccessful list of things to do when you are faced with people that are explosive. I particularly loved the part when the author suggested that separation might be the only final course of action. Let's be real, you can't separate from someone you are responsible for ~ I think they call that abandonment which might even come with a jail sentence.

Page 144; gave a Plan C approach where you would sit and...more
Jeanine Marie Swenson
Getting to a new level of understanding and action, Dr. Ross Greene presents some new solutions for any parent that struggles with the a child that is lacking in skills to manage difficult feelings like anger or frustration or who lags in problem-solving abilities. As adults, many of us do not recall learning the fundamental steps in intrapersonal or interpersonal interactions, and Dr. Greene breaks them down in step-like fashion to illuminate and instruct. Filled with excellent but nonblaming e...more
Mar 26, 2010 Ken rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents with difficult children
This book was a necessity and was rather helpful. Imagine a normal, intelligent child who is able to focus for the most part, but in certain instances explodes suddenly into a rage over trivial things. The Explosive Child tells the story of such children and gives explanations of how to deal with such children, why they may act in such a way, and how to recognize and prevent such occurrences before they get out of control.

While you may think, "Oh no, another disorder to label children with," Dr...more
A readable, common-sense elaboration of the idea that sometimes the problem with a problem child isn't the child at all. In this day and age a lot of the things Greene is saying may not seem particularly revolutionary, but it's surprising how many parents and teachers are so invested in traditional 'styles', for want of a better word, that certain simple truths are really not that evident, "on the ground"... or obscured by all the pain and difficulty of their individual situations. (After all, w...more
Andy Mitchell
I highly recommend this book in conjunction with the author's companion volume, Lost at School.

In summary, Dr. Green explains that adults have three approaches to dealing with children when there is a conflict or difference of opinion:

Plan A: adult-centered, impose your will

Plan B (preferred): empathy (hear the child's perspective), define the problem (explain the adult's perspective); solutions (realistic and mutually acceptable)

Plan C: child-centered, don't bother fighting this battle

The Asses...more
Catrina Edgar
I think this book really drilled home the point that conventional discipline does not work (and can actually be counterproductive) for explosive children, and the importance of teaching them skills to adaptively handle their frustrations (as opposed to trying to teach them through consequence). The book is definitely geared more for families with older children who can communicate their feelings, but as a mother of toddlers, the real-life examples depicted in this book made me realize how import...more
Absolutely essential for any parent or teacher of a truly 'explosive child.' And 'almost absolutely essential' for any parent or teacher. This book doesn't just share some new ideas on discipline -- the author, a pediatric psychologist who teaches at Harvard Medical School, explains WHY meltdowns and 'explosions' occur. As with anything, the more we can understand about "why," the better we can figure out "how" to deal with the situation and what can actually help. I just happened to read this b...more
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Rigid Children 2 30 Sep 21, 2008 08:18PM  
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“Still other parents may embark on a behavior management program with an initial burst of enthusiasm, energy, and vigilance but become less enthusiastic, energetic, and vigilant over time. These parents often return to their old, familiar patterns of parenting.” 0 likes
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