Dr. Ross Greene presents on stage in TopshamTOPSHAM -- G.E.A.R. Parent Network, a program of Crisis & Counseling Centers, hosted a free presentation Wednesday by Dr. Ross Greene, a well-known educator and author who has devoted his life to helping children and teens with behavioral challenges and their caregivers. Those attending the Topsham Lives in the Balance event learned how Greene's Collaborative & Proactive Solutions approach is improving the way youths with behavioral challenges are being understood and treated in Maine.
Greene led the crowd of more than 250 caregivers, educators and community members through a journey of self-discovery, explaining why some children with behavioral issues are considered "challenging" and how adults can best support them.
"There has never been a better time to help a behaviorally challenging kid because we now know way more about how to help them," Greene said. "Challenging behavior is a form of developmental delay...and it's no different than any other form of developmental delay."
Greene encouraged those who care for or work with behaviorally challenging youths to pinpoint the lagging skills or unsolved problems children may experience in order to address these issues proactively.
"Kids do well if they can. If you remember nothing else tonight, remember that," Greene said. Rather than punishing a child for his or her behavior, he recommended focusing on the problems that give rise to those negative behaviors. "This is about lagging skills...not the behaviors that are byproducts of those problems."
G.E.A.R. Director Carol Tiernan said she was grateful to have Dr. Greene presenting Lives in the Balance for the third time through the G.E.A.R. program. "We really support and enjoy his model since it mirrors the work we do, because we provide family-peer support based on choice and family decisions, not unilateral decision-making," she said.
Greene is a well-known educator and the celebrated author of "The Explosive Child" and "Lost at School." He founded the nonprofit organization Lives in the Balance, which offers web-based resources at livesinthebalance.org to parents, educators and other caregivers of children with social, emotional and behavioral challenges.
Lives in the Balance is an example of G.E.A.R. Parent Network's many collaborative efforts to provide free offerings to caregivers throughout Maine. Other ongoing no-cost opportunities include monthly support groups, intensive workshops and a toll-free phone line for parents of children with behavioral health needs.
G.E.A.R. Parent Network empowers parents of children with emotional and behavioral health needs to effect life decisions based on their family's individual strengths and needs. For more information, visit gearparentnetwork.org or call 1.800.264.9224.