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Children and Depression

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

"All parents should read this book, especially those with children who are out of control. Ross Greene presents a loving, rational, and research-based approach to dealing with problems that most parents have either felt were their own fault or were unsolvable. I could not recommend this book more highly."

Edward Hallowell, M.D.

by Ross W. Greene, Ph.D.



342 Pages

The Explosive Child

Author's Site

We've all seen them: children who explode when they're told to do something or when things don't go their way. The ones who completely lose control and become verbally and physically aggressive. Spoiled, stubborn, manipulative children. Right?

Not so fast. These labels suggest that the behavior if such
children is planned and intentional, and popular
reward-and-punishment strategies are typically used to teach and motivate them to behave more appropriately. But for a significant number of these children, the standard approach doesn't always work.

Such children are easily frustrated and extremely inflexible. They get "stuck" over seemingly simple requests, benign issues, and sudden changes in plans. They may be very anxious, irritable, and volatile.

They may have difficulty telling you what they're frustrated about or thinking through potential solutions to problems. In clinical terms, they may be diagnosed with any of a variety of psychiatric disorders, including

  • oppositional-defiant disorder
  • attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Tourette's disorder
  • depression
  • and bipolar disorder.

If this sounds like your child, you're probably feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, guilt-ridden, exhausted, and hopeless.

Now there is a new way for you, your child, and your entire family to find help. In this groundbreaking new book, Dr. Ross Greene, a child psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, makes a compassionate argument that the difficulties of these children stem from developmental deficits in two critical skills: flexibility and frustration tolerance. He asserts that if such children could do well, they would.

Drawing upon recent advances in the neuroscience, Dr.
Greene describes the factor that contribute to "inflexible-explosive" behavior in children and why the
strategies that work for most children aren't as effective for inflexible-explosive children. Then, with the help of "snapshots" from the lives of children, parents, and teachers with whom he has worked over the years, Dr. Greene lays out a sensitive, practical, effective, systematic approach to helping these children at home and school, including:

  • reducing hostility and antagonism between the child
    and adult
  • anticipating situations in which the child is most likely to explode
  • creating an environment in which explosions are less
    likely to occur
  • focusing less on reward and punishment and more on
    communication and collaborative problem-solving
  • helping the child develop the self-regulation and
    thinking skills to be more flexible and handle frustration more adaptively

In Explosive Child, you'll find ways to regain your sanity and
optimism and rebuild the confidence to handle your child's
difficulties completely and lovingly. With Dr. Greene's
compassionate, expert advice and insight, you and your child will rediscover newfound hope and a relationship you can both feel good about.

Ross W. Greene, Ph.D. is Director of Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology at the Clinical and Research Program in Pediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is also Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He lives outside Boston with his wife and daughter.

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