Thoughts About Ross Greene’s “The Explosive Child”
I appreciate the challenges I’ve received from Lisa, Bev, and Allan regarding my classification of Ross Greene as an Old School author. I’ve re-read my copy of The Explosive Child (second edition), and I must admit a) that I did misunderstand some of his approach, and b) that he belongs in the New School camp, and not the Old School. I have changed the chart (“Parenting Authors: A Continuum”) to reflect that.
In spite of the fact that I’ve had problems with some of Dr. Greene’s ideas (see below), I’ve loved the Behavior Baskets imagery and its usefulness as a working tool for parents. I developed a handout for parents in my classes, and use it often (with full credit to Dr. Greene), and some time ago posted this handout on this site. I also appreciate more now than before his emphasis on problem-solving based on understanding and empathy, and his teaching parents to ask the child for ideas on how to solve the problem after stating the two sides of the conflict. I also like his emphasis on parents intervening at the beginning stages of a meltdown (“vapor lock”), and the ineffectiveness of back-end strategies (punishments), that typically do not work well as a teaching tool, and can cause more harm than good.
Some of the problems I originally had with Dr. Green’s approach I still have. These are what got in the way of my appreciating the value of his front-end engagement of children in problem solving as a set of genuinely New School techniques that Old School parents and professionals don’t often use. The difficulties I’ve had (which he might have addressed in a later edition) include the following. Continue reading