The Explosive Child

  explosive child   

     I’ve hesitated to post any sort of review or commentary about this book.  I’ve hesitated for several reasons.  Not everyone lives with a child who has been diagnosed with neurological disorders, and it has never been my intention to expose all of Will’s problems here.  He is a blessing in my life, and I thank God for him, as well as for my other children and grandchildren, daily.  Many people we know in real life read my blog, and I want my son (all of my children, really) to be able to trust that I will not write anything here that would cause them public embarassment.  Yet, the Lord has allowed William to be challenged with some issues that I pray will, one day, glorify God.  If you’re not familiar with Will’s story, you can read it here.

     The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children, by Ross W. Greene, Ph.D. is a book for parents, teachers and folks who live or work with children who exhibit explosive outbursts of anger and/or frustration as a result of neurological problems.  Various disorders and neurological problems are mentioned specifically, and I found it especially helpful to know that Will’s Tourette’s Syndrome is, very much, a cause of  many of his problems. 

     This is not a child training book and it most certainly is NOT a model for Biblical parenting.  I believe that the Bible, God’s Word, is the ideal child training manual, equipping us for every good work as we grow our families.  I believed that before I read this book, and I believe it now.

     However, this book did help me to understand what might be behind some of my son’s explosive behavior.  For example, I need to understand that his brain needs a bit longer to process some things.  While I require first time obedience and expect for that obedience to happen without delay, there are times when he simply needs a bit longer to process what he has been asked to do.  His brain just works differently! 

     I also now understand his inability to deal with frustrations that most children have learned to just take in their stride.  Certain situations cause him to just hit a brick wall, and he cannot see his way around that wall.  Panic ensues and he explodes.

     The difficulty for me is the same as it is for all parents with special children who choose to raise their children by Biblical standards.  It is, sometimes, difficult to determine whether or not the child’s behavior is a result of his sin or a result of neurological issues.  Dr. Greene’s book helped me to see some of the situations that were not an example of sin in my son’s life, but rather times of his physically not being able to work his way through a problem. 

     The Explosive Child contains a helpful plan for parents to use with their children to help them learn to anticipate and navigate successfully through situations that would normally cause explosive behavior.  The book does not excuse the children’s behavior or condone it, but recognizes that these particular children need help in teaching themselves how to deal with frustrating circumstances.  It is, of course, my desire to give my son the tools he needs to grow up to be a godly, faithful man.  Using the tools given in Dr. Greene’s book to help a child learn to work past the road blocks he hits as a result of neurological problems is no different than giving any other child the tools they need to manage with the problems they face in life.  It’s all part of parenting and homeschooling!  I simply need to understand how Will’s brain works in order to give him the help he needs.  The Explosive Child was very helpful in showing me some of the reasons why we see William struggle, and understanding what is going on in his sweet little head when that happens.

     The plans given in this book cannot be used by just one parent.  Both parents need to be on board, not only in understanding the problems, but especially in implementing the plans given to help.  For Christian parents, I think it is very possible to use Dr. Greene’s examples to help your child while still using the Bible as your primary resource for child training. 

     Please visit my side bar to see what I’m currently reading, and for links to a couple of articles explaining why I think it is so important that you read. 


God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27

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11 comments to The Explosive Child

  • Hi Cheryl,

    Will is so blessed to have you as a mom. My mom never has understood how my brain works. I need more time than most people. I am so bless that Dave is really on board with me. He knows and accepts that my brain works different and I need extra time to do things. My process time is much longer. I am starting to be able to go to more places and do more things now that we understand what I need. If I get somewheres it is too much for me to process at once we just back off and wait till my brain catches up. I am so amazed how stores and place have changed in 5 years. That is when I just gave up trying to go places that over whelmed me. Now with my new tools and us as a team I am ready to tackle life once again. Next month we are going to tackle Barnes and Noble. Yippe. This month it has been Hobby Lobby and Bed Bath and Beyond.

    I will have to get this book and read it. I love the updates on Will you post. They help me so much.



  • Christopher and I were just talking about how good it was that we started homeschooling after first grade (he briefly went back for awhile in third but then we took him out of the public schools for good).

    He was severely ADHD and went through an “explosive” few years.

    It is hard to believe this young man is the same as that child. 

    He still has attention problems but he is learning to get around them (like studying at the library in a study room).

    His brain had trouble reading at first but went from picture books to French Literature overnight in high school!

    He could not understand math at all until something “clicked” in his Senior year of high school and he could begin to make sense of it.  He not only could do math but found he can excel in it to the point he is probably going to study engineering.  Amazing…

    The same kid who had challenges relating to other children now has very close friendships with many his age.

    There were lots of years I wondered how this was going to turn out but with God’s help, leading us to the right books, people, etc… the results are amazing. 

    Thank you for your prayers for his test today!

  • Kudos to you, Cheryl.  I know you love to learn, and you especially love to learn how to help your children.  Sometimes, though, it is really HARD to learn about the “problems”.  I’ve been researching Isaac’s hip situation, and I am learning so much that we have done wrong!  And that just breaks my heart!  So, I know it’s good to read a book about your child and learn new things; but it’s also somewhat painful if you haven’t been doing everything you could have been doing.

    That being said, I know (from viewing your past results – Corin and Dani) that you and Copper are wonderful parents!  I’m hoping that this book brought you great hope, and didn’t discourage you in the least.

    I have to remember, too, that God could have let me learn the needful information years ago.  So, I have to believe that there is some reason that He didn’t share it with me before.  And I have to trust Him that wherever this leads us, He will carry us through.

    Thanks for sharing about this book, and for listening to my rambles.

  • Cheryl:  I stop by your site often but this is the first time that I am leaving a comment.  I read your story about your beautiful son.  The same thing happened to me at 32.  Be Blessed Cheryl. 


  • Cheryl:  I stop by your site often but this is the first time that I am leaving a comment.  I read your story about your beautiful son.  The same thing happened to me at 32.  Be Blessed Cheryl. 


  • My son talked late…very late.  They did tests and told us he qualified for all kinds of early learning program and the public school bus could pick him up and on and on.  The tests showed he was very smart…we knew that…he developed his own special sign language but did not talk for what reason they weren’t sure… he was “special”.  We knew that too. And we did what we knew was right..kept him at home with his family where he belonged.   Guess what…he’s perfectly normal now at age 13…he talked in his own time…  My daughters and I were just talking the other day about how just about everyone has “something”…And those somethings make us who we are.  I can tell your Will is a great little guy (I LOVED reading his story!)and it sounds like he has a couple of “somethings”..those wonderful things that make each one of us special.  He is so lucky to have you too!

  • Cheryl, I had a colleague who had severe ADHD and had to develop coping methods for his illness as well.  He was a salesman and wore a very expensive watch, plus used a calendar system set up to email his cell phone with messages regularly.  The watch could have several different tonal alarms set, one to wake him, one to remind him to eat, and others to mark each half hour increment.

    He always arrived directly on the hour or half hour and spent the allotted half hour with each customer. He was very pleasant, but always left as soon as the alarm sound, making his polite apologies. I finally asked him during one appointment about that, thinking he didn’t like speaking with me.  He explained that the only way he functioned was to stay on that rigid schedule. He even had an alarm set to phone his parents weekly!

    He processed things very differently than most, but was probably one of the best salesmen I ever met because he never depended on his memory. Instead, he entered every order as he took the order to insure accuracy.

    I hope that you find solutions for your family that work as elegantly as my friend’s solutions did for him.

    Melissa in Florida (Xanga doesn’t like me!) 🙂

  • I am so glad you shared your thoughts on this book. I had wondered if it had any value. I too, have a child with these issues. 35% of all crack addicted babies grow into children with very low frustration levels and frequent outbursts. Zach can go from 1-10 on the anger/outburst scale in a matter of seconds. I am certain it has to be neurological, though  there is no diagnosis except, “crack kid”…nope not Zach, he is not wearing that tag! ADHD, Tourettes, RAD…those are real diagnosis…”crack kid” is not. However, we deal with those outbursts and frustrations because they are a part of him. I pray as he gets older he will grow out of it…the brain can heal it’s self in his case and most do out grow it, but in the meantime tools for the child to have self control are so important.

    I know Will will succeed with you and Copper as his parents. God knows what he is doing!!!

  • That is so wonderful that you found additional ways to help him.   It awesome to see parents so dedicated to understanding their children!   May Adonai bless you. 

  • Hello Mrs. Cheryl,
    You made your site simple yet elegant. The pictures are a nice touch. I see that you have a wide variety of interests and observations here!
    I’m sending an important message to people from Jehovah God that is in the Bible: 29 Then shall they know that I am Jehovah, when I have made the land a desolation and an astonishment, because of all their abominations which they have committed. (Ezekiel 33:29) (ASV)

  • Thank you so much for posting this review.  We had a very explosive day yesterday (my 6 year old is autistic spectrum), and I went to bed last night crying out to God for help.  I am putting this on my Amazon wish list right away.  I really respect the way you protect the privacy of your children, and I want you to know that you helped me so much by posting this!  God bless you!