How to identify the problems that cause your kid to explode

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How to identify the problems that cause your kid to explode

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One of the biggest challenges for parents is to figure out the specific conditions that are setting in motion challenging episodes in their child. Although that may seem kind of difficult in the beginning, it's actually not that hard. What I have many parents do is keep a log for a week, a lot of any time their child balked at something, any time there was a disagreement, any time the child was refusing to do something that the child was being told, any expectation that the child is having difficulty meeting. Notice I'm not having track only the things that the kid exploding over. I'm tracking all of the things that have the potential to cause the kid to get upset, because there are things the kid is not going to get upset over that he might get upset over next week. So anything that could be a source of conflict between adult and child, I'm having people keep track of. And here's the good news. Whatever came up that week is probably what's going to come up next week too. Those are the unsolved problems. There's another way to go about doing it too. When I'm interviewing parents for the first time to gather information about their child, I'm asking them to think about the specific situations in which their child is looking bad. If a child is looking bad, that must be an expectation the child is having difficulty meeting. Children don't look bad on the expectations they're not having difficulty meeting. They look bad on the expectations they're having difficulty meeting. How do we know they're looking bad? That's easy. They're screaming. They're swearing. They're biting. They're spitting. They're falling on the floor and holding their breath until they're turning red. We know when they're looking bad at those problems. So we know what we're working on. One of the biggest reasons the unsolved problems of behaviorally challenging kids remain unsolved is because we never identified what was causing the kid difficulty in the first place. But here's the really good news. Once those problems are solved, they're not going to be setting in motion challenging episodes any more.

View Ross W. Greene, PhD's video on How to identify the problems that cause your kid to explode...

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Ross W. Greene, PhD

Psychologist, Author & Researcher

Ross W. Greene, Ph.D., is the author of the well-known books The Explosive Child and Lost at School, and the originator of a model of care (now known as Collaborative & Proactive Solutions) emphasizing collaboration between kids and adults in resolving the problems contributing to children’s behavioral challenges.  He is also associate clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, on the professional staff at the Cambridge Hospital, adjunct associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech, and senior lecturer in the graduate program in school psychology in the Department of Education at Tufts University.  Dr. Greene founded the non-profit Lives in the Balance to provide free, web-based resources on his model and to advocate on behalf of behaviorally challenging kids and their parents, teachers, and other caregivers.  He lectures widely throughout the world and lives in Portland, Maine, with his wife and two kids.

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