The Explosive Child Book Summary - The Explosive Child Book explained in key points
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The Explosive Child summary

Ross W. Greene

A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children

4.4 (90 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

The Explosive Child by Ross W. Greene is a guide for parents and educators who care for children with behavioral issues. It offers a compassionate and collaborative approach to identify the underlying causes of explosive behavior and create practical solutions that promote positive long-term outcomes.

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    The Explosive Child
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    A Different Perspective on an Old Problem

    Think back to your child’s last outburst. What happened? How did you handle it?

    You’ve probably been given a lot of advice from well-meaning therapists or self-help books. Give clearer commands and refuse to back down. Pay attention to good behavior and ignore the bad. Give rewards such as stickers or toys, and punishments like timeouts or loss of privileges. 

    Here’s the thing about consequences: If they were going to work, they would have by now. It’s safe to say that your kid loves rewards, and hates punishment. The first thing you’re going to have to do is change your perspective on the problem. It’s not a motivation issue.

    So, what’s going on? Conventional wisdom says that children do well if they want to – hence the rewards and punishment. However, a better line of thinking is children do well if they are able to.

    Your child isn’t unmotivated. No, your child is lacking certain skills – skills that a lot of children and most adults are born with or learn easily enough. These are things like problem solving, flexibility, adaptability, tolerance for frustration, and the ability to regulate emotions.

    When a child is expected to do something for which they simply don’t have the skills, the results can be, well, explosive. Whether it’s having to stop playing or not having the cereal they want, these unmet expectations can be a great source of frustration for children.

    So they scream. They kick. They explode.

    And when the kid realizes that they’re now going to lose a reward or receive a punishment for their behavior, it only adds fuel to the fire.

    Children do well if they are able to. Keep this in mind when addressing your child’s behavior. Think of these lagging skills and unmet expectations as unsolved problems that you are now going to define and deal with.

    Luckily, there’s a great tool for doing just that. The “Assessment of Lagging Skills & Unsolved Problems” – ALSUP for short – is a free questionnaire and checklist available online that you can use to pinpoint why your child is behaving the way they are.

    In the next section, you’ll learn how to identify these lagging skills and unsolved problems, so you can start constructively addressing your child’s difficulties.

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    What is The Explosive Child about?

    The Explosive Child (2021) is a groundbreaking and scientific guide to dealing with children who react extremely to routine situations. Drawing on neuroscience and child psychology, Greene lays out a conceptual framework focused on the cause of the behavior, rather than the behavior itself. This framework can serve as a guide for frustrated parents who want to understand and address their child’s severe outbursts.

    The Explosive Child Review

    The Explosive Child (2005) is an insightful resource that offers parents and caregivers a fresh perspective on understanding and helping children with behavioral challenges. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With its practical strategies and step-by-step approach, it equips readers with effective tools to defuse explosive behavior and build strong relationships.
    • The book provides real-life stories and examples to help readers empathize with the struggles of children, making the information relatable and applicable.
    • By focusing on the collaborative problem-solving model rather than punishment, the book challenges conventional disciplinary methods, offering a refreshing and constructive approach.

    Who should read The Explosive Child?

    • Frustrated parents who feel like they've tried it all
    • Caregivers and teachers who are concerned by a child's violent outbursts
    • Anyone looking for a fresh and compassionate perspective on children's problematic behavior

    About the Author

    Ross W. Greene, Ph.D., is a professor and New York Times best-selling author concerned with helping the families of children with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. He is the creator of Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS), an evidence-based treatment for understanding and reducing these developmental difficulties. His other books include Lost at School and Raising Human Beings.

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    The Explosive Child FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Explosive Child?

    The main message of The Explosive Child is understanding and helping children with behavioral challenges.

    How long does it take to read The Explosive Child?

    The reading time for The Explosive Child varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Explosive Child a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Explosive Child is worth reading as it provides valuable insights and strategies for dealing with challenging behavior in children.

    Who is the author of The Explosive Child?

    The author of The Explosive Child is Ross W. Greene.

    What to read after The Explosive Child?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Explosive Child, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Parenting by Andy & Sandra Stanley
    • The Power of Showing Up by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
    • Gifted and Distractible by Julie F. Skolnick
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