The Explosive Child by Ross W. Greene

Kids Do Well When They Can

Explosive or challenging kids are children that get far more frustrated, far more easily, far more often, in far more extreme ways, and perform less adaptably and flexibly than most children.

In The Explosive Child: A New Approach For Understanding And Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children, Ross W. Greene explains that explosive children also have wonderful traits, qualities, and tremendous potential. But often their inflexibility, poor tolerance for frustration, and inability to solve problems obscures their enormous potential. There is no other group of children that are so misunderstood.

An explosive child is often labeled as willful, manipulative, attention-seeking, limit-testing, contrary, and unmotivated. But these labels are inaccurate and counterproductive.

One of the most important lessons I learned reading this book is that all children want to adapt and act properly. All children want to learn, do well, and gain new skills. All kids want to do better. All children want to succeed. Kids don’t explode on purpose. Some children just lack the skills not to do so.

Also, all children develop at different paces. Be it speaking, reading, or hitting a baseball some kids may not be able to learn as readily at some skills — which is always frustrating for children.

Learning requires flexibility, adaptability, controlling impulses, proficiency in solving problems, resolving disagreements amicably, and modulating emotions when frustrated. These are the characteristics the children in this book have issues with mastering.

Challenging behaviors are caused by children who are having trouble learning these crucial skills — just as a kid may have a learning disability. Outbursts are not planned, intentional, or purposeful. They aren’t just bratty, stubborn, willful, manipulative, attention seeking, spoiled, unmotivated, or defiant children.

Also, contrary to what we have been told, challenging behaviors are not just caused by inconsistent, unreliable, or passive parenting styles. Parents of challenging children are often blamed for being passive, permissive, inconsistent, and inept disciplinarians — which aren’t accurate or productive labels. The reality is that the strategies that typically work for shaping behaviors of most other children, such as restructuring, rewarding, explaining, reasoning, reassuring, ignoring, nurturing, redirecting, punishing — and commonly prescribed medications — often do not lead to satisfactory improvement for explosive children.

Typically, when adults become more strict it makes challenging kids behave even worse because it’s not addressing the issue that the child hasn’t learned the skills to handle frustration socially acceptably.

And when caregivers follow the typical methods of rewards and punishments and they don’t work, adults become confused, bitter, frustrated, guilty, overwhelmed, and hopeless.

What children with challenging behaviors often have in common is striking inflexibility, low frustration tolerance, and poor problem solving skills that make life significantly more difficult and challenging for them. These kids often have difficulty thinking things through when frustrated and respond to simple requests with extreme rigidity and verbal or physical aggression. They often respond with crying, whining, sulking, worrying, withdrawing, tantrums, hitting, spitting, biting, panic attacks, cutting themselves, and worse.

Explosive children often require a different approach to discipline and limit setting than do other children. Once a more accurate understanding of why challenging children behave the way they do, leads to improvements in the adult and child relationship.

Whenever children don’t have the skills to handle what’s being thrown at them that is what we need to help them learn. So identifying the lacking skills is the most important thing to do with working with challenging children.

The author of The Explosive Child explains children’s explosions are actually highly predictable. Kids don’t just explode out of the blue. They typically explode due to the same reasons. If caregivers can pinpoint the 5 or 6 reasons they behave inappropriately in a day or week, then they can help them learn new skills. We must figure out what, when, why, and how are they exploding? Once you identify the triggers them, then you can start solving them.

The author teaches us that kids learn best by direct instruction rather than behavioral modification methods of rewards and punishments.

Most Kids Learn By:

1. Direct Instruction
2. Natural Consequences
3. Behavioral Modification

But when challenging children don’t learn by using these typical teaching strategies, caregivers must collaborate with the children to solve their misbehaviors.

The author teaches caregivers to identify the triggers that cause the child to explode and collaborate with the child to help teach them other ways to cope with their emotions.

I highly recommend parents and nannies that care for explosive children read The Explosive Child. It teaches parents and caregivers how to empathize, problem solve, and collaborate with children to help improve their coping skills and misbehaviors.

You can purchase your own copy of The Explosive Child by clicking the links above of below:

The Explosive Child: A New Approach For Understanding And Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children

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