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Ross W. Greene and the 'Explosive Child'

A few years ago, when I was first understanding my son, Everett, and his behavioral difficulties, I read Ross W. Greene's The Explosive Child. Now that he's at the Pioneer School, a special school geared toward children who have major trouble adapting in the general education environment, and many of the members of the schools' staff have been through Greene's workshops. His approach for dealing with challenging kids, called "collaborative problem solving," is now taught in workshops and MESD-sponsored book groups around the city.

I was surprised, then, when I told several of Everett's teachers that I had just ordered Greene's newest book, Lost in School, a follow-up to his previous books that lays out a framework for how parents and schools can work together to help challenging kids succeed. They hadn't yet heard of it. (What, do you people not have GoodReads?) I've read a few chapters of Lost in School, now, and I already recommend both books to anyone who has a child with behavioral challenges, whether they're like Everett's or more strictly diagnosed (the autism spectrum and ADHD are also maladaptive disorders and can be approached with Greene's philosophies). When adding the new book to my GoodReads shelf, I decided to review the The Explosive Child; I've copied the review after the jump.

The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children by Ross W. Greene

My review

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 for parents, and stops short of describing how to "win over" co-parents, teachers and administrators in believing that the child's behavior is not criminal or mean-spirited or a personal attack and is, in fact, a child's inappropriate way of expressing difficulty with a range of social-developmental problems. His book Lost in School is the next step, describing how to work with teachers and administrators. I need another one though: 'Lost at Home' maybe, to help me negotiate the co-parenting minefield.

View all my reviews.


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Thanks for the tip. My son, Zach, was at Pioneer - now at Bridger. We are in the early stages of figuring it all out. Would love to chat off line if/when you have a chance.

Thanks for the book recommendation (Lost in School). There are strategies and programs for supporting and working with kids with behavioral struggles in school for a certain percent of those with troubles, but I am finding a lack thereof for that top 1-2% in the school population who are really struggling. I hope this book will help point us in the right direction!

I'm going to beg/buy/order this ASAP. Thanks for the heads-up.

OMG I am such a lost parent learning so much.... Is their like a parent support group for this .... thank you for the information My daughter is ten and I struggle with her now and then with this explosive Behavior at home and in School.....I am picking this book up right away....

I too would love to know if there is a support group in Portland for this. Would love to know if there are any therapists in town who work with Ross Greene's ideas and methods. Any info wold be so welcome.

I too would love to know who is involved in this here in Portland. We are new to the Oregon from CA and feel so lost in the education system. Our son is going into kindergarten in the fall of 2011 and need some help. Saw pioneer school but he needs a school to recommend him to go there and not sure how to do that until he is already in school. He has problems with any transition and that would be so hard to change schools again... Any therapist suggestions or support group that is involved with Dr. Greene's books would be very helpful. We think he has some Sensory Challenges, but not sure at this point. Would love any help for a desperate family wanting to help their amazing yet very challenging son. Thank you Can email me privately if you so choose.

THANK YOU!!! I am ordering these two books TODAY! Exactly what I need right now.

I ADORE this book, and have had so much success already, even just a couple of weeks into using it. I didn't know about "Lost at School" either, but will have to get that, too, as my son will be entering Kindergarten this fall.

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