The Explosive Child? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 7 Old 05-31-2007, 12:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Can a three-year-old be explosive? I'm hoping to find some resources for a friend of mine who's really struggling with her 3-1/2 y.o. Her DD is extremely sensitive and difficult to please. My friend told me that today her little one threw two 40-minute tantrums where she was absolutely inconsolable. My friend is trying to find some ways to start helping her DD to deal with her big emotions (she's been this way since birth). She's an excellent, sensitive, gentle momma, but she's feeling lost and exhausted dealing with her DD. Any ideas?

(I tried to search for this with no luck, so if anyone has any previous threads to link, that would be great!)

thanks,
Erin

Momma to 8 y.o. DS and 5 y.o. DD. Married to a Maker!

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#2 of 7 Old 05-31-2007, 03:36 AM
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Has she read the book The Explosive Child by Dr. Greene (can't remember his first name)? What he advocates is really close to consensual living. It is quite similar to how we are raising Simon and it is working brilliantly for us. It feels good and right and I love it.

I know that if I used common top-down parenting techniques... even gently or "gently" (depending on one's perspective!) Simon would be having tantrums. As it is... he gets upset at times... of course... even very upset (lately he is experimenting with raising his voice and sometimes letting out a few kicks or punches at inanimate objects... not often and never for long though)... but he has never had anything that is close to a full-blown tantrum -- certainly not one that goes on for minutes at a time.

I know a lot of people would say that is just his personality... and I won't say that some people are far more prone to having tantrums than he is... and I think our culture plays a HUGE role as I think the set-up for families here (North America) generally SUCKS... but I don't think his never having had a tantrum (talking a full blown tantrum here where a child is out of control with rage) is a result of his personality... He is a very sensitive boy. I know him so well and can see the downward spiral start if I'm in a bad mood or whatnot and his needs aren't met and I start using more top-down approaches with him (and even then it is quite subtle as far as those things go). The more top-down I have gotten with him... the angrier he has gotten with me (and justifiably so, in each case)... with his responses changing from the usual sad and upset over things not working out as he wants them to work out to feelings that I am his adversary... feelings of being disrespected and humiliated and the victim of injustice... and the feelings of intense anger that accompany these uncomfortable feelings... I have no doubt at all that he would totally flip out under the sort of parenting strategies that are considered beneficial by mainstream Western standards... some of which are also condoned here.

I've read through the reviews for The Explosive Child at Amazon.com. They are really impressive. There are so many parents there who are saying that Dr. Greene was a total Godsend for their family... that their child was completely explosive -- so much so that it was tearing the family apart due to the intense pressure and stress of the ongoing conflicts and need to tiptoe -- and when they applied his advice... the tantrums abated or became significantly less... and this is in many cases for children who are diagnosed with various psychological conditions that (allegedly in some cases) make them far more likely to melt down.

Another book that comes to mind: Sleepless in America.
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#3 of 7 Old 05-31-2007, 03:47 AM
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aaah. double post again!
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#4 of 7 Old 05-31-2007, 07:13 AM
 
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We have the Explosive Child. I have a 4 and a half year old daughter who was a lot like your friend's dd a year ago.

I love this book. It has been the single-most helpful book I have ever read (and I've read many).

Here's what the book advocates (in a nutshell):

Do Plan B as much as possible. Try to avoid Plan A.

What's Plan B, etc.? Well...

Plan A is telling the kid to do something -- the kid needs to do it, period.
Plan C is letting the kid do what he/she wants...kind of like picking your battles and just letting this particular issue slide.


Plan B consists of 3 steps.

Step 1: Empathize. "I understand you want that toy right now. You're saying you really would like to play with that toy she is holding."

Step 2: Put your concern on the table: "However, I am worried that the little girl who is holding the toy still wants to play with it. I think she might cry if you take it from her."

Step 3: Invite the child to help find a solution to the problem. Let the child think up solutions as often as possible.

I've been doing this with my child for a month now. There has been a definite, wonderful difference in her overall behavior. This technique is making me really listen to what's going on with her, and her feelings are being vaildated. She feels empowered when she works with me to find a solution.

The book gives lots of real-life examples using kids of all ages.

A huge, massive thumbs-up.
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#5 of 7 Old 05-31-2007, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the insights. I've been a little reluctant to recommend it to her b/c I don't want her to be offended (your child is explosive!). But I think she's really looking for answers, so I'm going to pass it along.
-e

Momma to 8 y.o. DS and 5 y.o. DD. Married to a Maker!

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#6 of 7 Old 05-31-2007, 02:19 PM
 
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from me. DD is not yet 3.5, and is maybe just a touch young for the techniques, but I really like the book. I'll add that the title is a bit misleading--to me, "explosive" sounds like it means "dangerously violent and destructive," but in this context, it doesn't. The subtitle is something like "Handling the easily frustrated, chronically inflexible child," and IMO that's a much better descriptor.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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#7 of 7 Old 05-31-2007, 06:24 PM
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You can recommend it while saying "I'm not saying your daughter is explosive... I've heard that many people love this book even though they don't at all consider their children to be explosive..." I certainly don't think my son is explosive and I enjoyed reading the book.
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