Monday, March 26, 2012

The Explosive Child

About two years ago I went over to my neighbor's house for lunch to pick her brain about parenting a child with ADHD. She loaned me the book, "The Explosive Child" by Ross W. Greene, Ph.D. I have turned my house upside down looking for that book and for the life of me can't find it. Then, at a lunch, our lovely hostess handed each one of us a book and the book she loaned to me was "The Explosive Child." Apparently, it really is something I need to spend some time reading right now (much to the chagrin of my mother who has been waiting ever so patiently for me to finish Pope Joan. I'm almost done Mom! I do read it!)

One thing I have been working on for myself is getting to bed at the same time each evening. I have read on more than one occasion that regular bed times and bed time routines help the body recognize when it is time to 'power down' and keep your circadian rhythms in check. In doing this, my body does get very tired in anticipation for sleep and I'm not much good reading in bed before the lights go out. So, I picked up The Explosive Child and flipped open to a random page (127) to read just a touch. Again, what I needed to hear was right there in front of me. The incident in the book was referring to a girl that was explosive when she didn't get her way. The incident they refer to is how to she wants to do her homework sitting atop the heat 'register.' The Dad's initial reaction is to object to this request. What he had been taught with the therapist was to ask himself if it was a big deal or not and then to see what kind of compromise could be worked out between him and his daughter. They compromised, but the Dad had a concern regarding the technique (known as Plan B) in all of his recent interactions with his daughter:

"I'm afraid that we're teaching her that she never has to listen to us, and I don't think that bodes well for the future."

"What, she never does what you tell her to now?" the therapist asked.

"No, she actually does what we ask quite often," he replied. "I'm worried that she'll think that all she has to do is start to throw a fit to get what she wants."

The therapist asks a few questions about how the relationship between them is and on all accounts everything was better. This is the part that struck me the most:

"The real world doesn't have Plan B or people who always try to understand," he [Dad] said.

"I don't expect that your fighting with her a lot will help her live in the real world. On the other hand, I do expect that helping her stay calm enough to think clearly in the midst of frustration will be very helpful to her in the real world. If you think about what the real world demands, it's a whole lot more about resolving disputes and disagreements than it is about blind adherence to authority." (125-129)

This is priceless. I need to frame it for my wall or have it embroidered on my pillow for those tough moments.

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