My Angry Boy, Not So Much Now...

When we found The Explosive Child and the Lives in the Balance website, we were desperate. My son was desperate. Up until kindergarten most people would have called my son a "normal", high-energy kid, but nothing that far out of the realm of ordinary. In kindergarten things changed drastically. Almost from the beginning of his school life he started having issues...primarily behavioral ones. As time went on, and as we followed all the usual guidelines about teaching him about acceptable and unacceptable behaviors -- and encouraging him to choose the acceptable ones -- things got worse and worse for him. The carrot and stick approach to his behavioral issues morphed into just bigger and more carrots and bigger and more punishing sticks. The more the school pushed, the more we pushed, the more severe his reactions became. We were advised that he might be "incorrigible" and we should put him in the special classroom for bad behaving kids. We told that in that classroom -- where there were even larger sticks and more plentiful carrots -- he would learn to quit being bad.

But our son wasn't challenging all the time. In fact, at home, we wasn't challenging most of the time. We could see that he was trying to please the adults, he was trying to do his school work well, he was trying to make kids like him. He wanted to fit in. Our hearts were breaking for him. I read every book I could get my hands on about angry kids, ODD kids, kids with attitudes. Nothing really fit. Then I finally found The Explosive Child. It was like reading a book by someone that knew us. I immediately began to implement the advice of Dr. Greene in that book and lo-and-behold we experienced success. It wasn't 100% our son that was causing all the problems swirling around was the way people were handling him, with mega-doses of Plan A. When that didn't work, people just gave him more Plan A. When I finally gave him some Plan B, I could literally see the relief on his face and the stress leave his body. Finally, finally someone was listening and trying to understand HIS problem, not just trying to make him understand their problem.

About six months ago, we had our son tested and discovered that our son does have verified learning delays and cognitive developmental delays due to a chromosomal condition called 47-XYY Syndrome (sometimes called Jacob's Syndrome). Cognitive testing showed him to be almost universally developmentally 1 1/2 years behind where he ought to be. We had to place him in a private school and he is getting occupational therapy to help him develop his fine motor skills and speech therapy to help him with his communication delays. Our son is retaking first grade. So much time was spent at the public school focusing on his behavior and "finding the right incentive to get him to want to behave" that he received none of what he really needed. He lost a whole year for sure, really probably more like two whole years.

Right now he is doing great at his new school and for the first three weeks he has a grand total of 3 small incidents that they don't consider very significant. Many days at the public school had that many incidents by lunch. He is happy and wants to go to school and proudly shows his accomplishments when he gets home. He is sad too, though, because he knows that he is "supposed" to be in 2nd grade, but isn't.

Anyone considering CPS to help their child, any age, any situation, I say give it your all. Like Dr. Greene oft repeats, it's not easy. But the alternative is so much harder. Put in the time to REALLY understand how it works, and WHY it works. Put in the time to learn the LANGUAGE of CPS modeled by Dr. Greene. DO NOT try to teach CPS by telling any of your kid's teachers to do it, teach them by DOING IT WITH THEM. Use CPS with the teacher. Model it by doing it. Don't Plan A the teacher, or Plan C the teacher, give him/her Plan B again and again. Let him/her SEE you doing Plan B with your child. It will sink in even if you can't get the teacher to click a single link on this website or flip a single page of any of Dr. Greene's books. This is IMPORTANT: You want your kid to see you doing Plan B ALL THE TIME. If your kid sees you trying to Plan A the teacher, or accepting Plan A from the teacher, he won't learn much. But if he sees you using Plan B with the teacher, with your spouse, with siblings, neighbors, everyone everytime there is a problem that requires a mutually satisfactory solution, your kid will pick up on your example. He will see that it's not easy, but it's worth it. And when you get your kid doing Plan B on his own with others, without you being present every time, you have helped him establish a life skill that will serve him well throughout his whole life. It is working and for that I am the most thankful dad in the world to Dr. Greene. I can honestly say that there is no other person living, or who has ever lived, that I would more like to shake hands with and say "thank-you" to than Dr. Greene. CPS has made THAT much of a difference in our lives.