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

Ross Greene
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 11 2010
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, explaining, punishing, sticker charts, therapy, medication—but to no avail. They can’t figure out why their child acts the way he or she does; they wonder why the strategies that work for other kids don’t work for theirs; and they don’t know what to do instead.

Dr. Ross Greene, a distinguished clinician and pioneer in the treatment of kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges, has worked with thousands of explosive children, and he has good news: these kids aren’t attention-seeking, manipulative, or unmotivated, and their parents aren’t passive, permissive pushovers. Rather, explosive kids are lacking some crucial skills in the domains of flexibility/adaptability, frustration tolerance, and problem solving, and they require a different approach to parenting.

Throughout this compassionate, insightful, and practical book, Dr. Greene provides a new conceptual framework for understanding their difficulties, based on research in the neurosciences. He explains why traditional parenting and treatment often don’t work with these children, and he describes what to do instead. Instead of relying on rewarding and punishing, Dr. Greene’s Collaborative Problem Solving model promotes working with explosive children to solve the problems that precipitate explosive episodes, and teaching these kids the skills they lack.

Frequently Bought Together

The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children + Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them + Treating Explosive Kids: The Collaborative Problem-Solving Approach
Price For All Three: CDN$ 69.92

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Product Description

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 at Harvard Medical School and the originator of the model described in this book. He serves extensively as a consultant to families, schools, and therapeutic facilities and lectures widely throughout the world. Additional resources on his approach can be found on the website of his nonprofit Lives in the Balance (

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If your child, even as young as one year old, is wild, explosive and starting to physically abuse you, I HIGHLY recommend this book. My son is six, and I wish I'd had this book when he was one. Even so, it vindicated my years of decisions to NOT use corporal punishment (and not to medicate or pathologize), since, as the book rightly says, "every child wants to be good"!

NO OTHER professionals understand these children (99% will automatically assume the family is violent) or can resist labeling them incorrectly with miscellaneous trendy dysfunctions, but this author resists.

Greene has a solid step-by-step approach to dealing with the explosions, and I found his approach helpful. But really, the fact that he NAMED my wild child correctly; treated him humanely; didn't pathologize him or our family; didn't infantilize and bore me as a reader; and didn't suggest drugging him -- these things made all the difference!

I can't say enough about this book. Other people see a monstrous brat and assume the worst (or else the behaviour only happens at home and nobody believes you); Greene sees an "explosive" little child (otherwise smart, healthy and sane) who WANTS to be and do good for himself and his family.

Don't wait til your child is too old! Buy this book NOW if you have a feeling that, even as a young toddler, your child's temper is white-hot. Even if s/he's too young to reason with, you'll start developing Greene's method and make it into habit.

I could kiss this Greene guy for writing this book! And it's so perfectly titled!

(And I'm not a shill for him or the publisher -- I've wasted money and read LOTS of utterly useless parenting books that went straight to recycling. Most psychologists write lousy books that should have been two-page pamphlets.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally - realistic help Jan. 21 2010
I have read many books about how to deal with my warm, funny, smart, explosive child. Other books have helped me understand WHO he is, which has helped me with my patience, but this is the first book to offer practical, realistic, doable instructions on how to make living with him easier. Part way through the book, I tried out the "empathy" step. Understand that I thought I had oodles of empathy for my son, afterall, I lie awake at night wondering how I can help him. But taking what felt like a fairly ridiculous step of just repeating what he had said turned situations around on a dime. Presto. I know we still have work to do, but this was truly like having someone wave a magic wand for us, and is helping us see that there is light at the end of what is still a very long tunnel. I disagree with the reviewers who say this is not preparing children for the real world, and that it is just a diversion around problems -- they either didn't read the book, or they read it with preconceived notions and didn't understand what the author is saying. Teaching your child how to deal with problems is absolutely preparing him for the real world, and probably one of the most important things that we can do for our children. I didn't buy this book a year ago because I didn't want to have an "explosive" child. I bought softer sounding titles instead, but nothing helped. This book is about Collaborative Problem Solving, which is something the world could use a lot more of, and I heartily recommend it to anyone, parent, or not.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Explosive Child Oct. 19 2009
This was a great book with strategies that are helpful when dealing with a explosive child. However, I feel the book is for children who are at least seven years and older. My son is five and is not mature enough to enter into the problem-solving methods that are suggested in this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stop Explosions Before They Start July 5 2010
This book does what Therapists doesn't - it doesn't give a diagnosis - it actually tells you why your child acts the way he does. It explains in clear terms what is happening in your child's brain that prevents him from acting the way people expect. It then goes on to explain in practical terms what you can do to change the behavior to create a more acceptable outcome.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 4 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Many helpful ideas and explanations
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5.0 out of 5 stars new glasses to see with June 23 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was wonderful and gave me new glasses to see my challenging son with. As I use the tools this book have me, I expect to see many improvements. But the most valuable improvement will always be seeing my son and his challenges in a new light.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Explosive Child June 6 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ross Greene describes the reaction of children who have not acquired self control perhaps at the same rate as their peers when faced with situations that are beyond their ability.As he says "they would if they could"meaning children do not set out to be unruly but explode, have temper tantrums etc. when they become overwhelmed by the demands placed on them.A must read by parents who are at their ropes end and don't know what they can do to raise a child who is more compliant with requests by parents and teachers. Speaking of teachers, they would benefit greatly by reading Ross Greene's book,"Lost at School" so that parents and teachers would be on the same page when interacting with "difficult" children.The outcome is a win-win for everyone involved!
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very practical advice, with examples that you will be able to relate to and start using immediately. It has helped bring me closer to understanding my child.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Explanations good. Very knowledgable author
Explanations good . Very knowledgable author . Have yet to put "theory into practice"
Published 17 days ago by Lorrain B. Barner
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Read
The title may seem a little over the top, but what a fantastic book, it gives parents a great insight into why a child may have a explosive tantrum, and know that it can be helped,... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Pamela Ritchie
5.0 out of 5 stars Child with ADHD
I really have to say that I enjoyed the light hearted nature of this book. It also helped me put things into perspective with my child suffering from OCD and ADHD. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Em Frizzley
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Excellent read, especially how to problem solve, using different plans, ie. Plan A, B and C when facing difficulties with children. I started using it with great results so far.
Published 8 months ago by MM
5.0 out of 5 stars Great info!
Made me realize I am not the only one going through this. Great information that is doable...can't wait to try these techniques!
Published 15 months ago by Melissa Doucet
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
My daughter received this book from my grandchild's school. I ordered copies for the my grandson's other grandparents and daughter. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Cindy Lalonde
5.0 out of 5 stars Accurate, practical advised
If you are dealing with a child that you consider very difficult this is the answer, will help you to understand the behavior and will enable you to built the solution
Published 19 months ago by irina
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Start!
I've been trying this out with my daughter. One day she was on her way into a fit with tears and whining when she said, "Mom, I want to do that talking thing right now. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Colleen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Fast delivery and book was excellent. Thanks! This is an excellent book for anyone (teacher, parents, babysitters!) who works with children. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Tara Neighbour
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