Parenting Emotionally Explosive Teens

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Does your teen tend to come unglued when things don’t go their way? – Sandra

According to Dr. Ross Greene, a pioneer in the treatment of kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges, highly reactive teens have not yet made the skills of flexibility, adaptability, frustration tolerance and conflict resolution their own.

Explosive behavior occurs in teens when the demands of the environment exceed their capacity to respond adaptively. Many popular explanations for explosive behavior place blame on the kid– or his parents. In Collaborative Problem Solving it is believed that if a teen had the skills to exhibit adaptive behavior, he wouldn’t be exhibiting explosive behavior.



1. Kids Do Well if They Can — The most important premise of Collaborative Problem Solving is the belief that if kids could behave better they would.


2. What’s Your Explanation? — Your explanation for your teen’s explosive behavior has major implications for how you respond and whether you’ll try to help.


3. Three Options for Solving Problems — There are three ways in which adults try to solve problems with reactive kids: Plan A (which is unilateral problem solving), Plan C (dropping the problem completely), and Plan B.


4. Collaborative Conflict Resolution a.k.a. Plan B — Tips on identifying the unresolved problems that are precipitating challenging episodes, and how to implement Plan B.

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