Understanding maladaptive behavior in kids

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Understanding maladaptive behavior in kids

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You know, the conventional view of challenging behavior is that it's working for the kid. It's working at getting him something that he wants, or helping him avoid something that he wants to get out of. But I don't view it that way. I think challenging behavior communicates to us that a child is lacking the skills to meet the expectations that we've placed upon him. And boy, is that a completely different set of lenses. We can look at a kid who's exhibiting challenging behavior and think to ourselves he's manipulative, he's attention-seeking, he's coercive, he's testing limits, or we can look at that behavior challenging kid and say, he's having trouble right now. Something's getting in his way. I've got to figure out what it is. He's communicating right now. A world of difference that leads us in a completely different direction. When you think challenging behavior is working for a kid, you try to prove to them that that behavior is not going to work, and that message is usually delivered in the form of punishment. But when you recognize that all challenging behavior is is the kid communicating to us that he's having difficulty meeting our expectations, it takes you in a completely different direction. It takes you in the direction of trying to figure out what's getting in your child's way.

Watch Ross W. Greene, PhD's video on Understanding maladaptive behavior in kids...

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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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