AUGUSTA -- G.E.A.R. Parent Network, a program of Crisis & Counseling Centers, will host a free presentation 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. Parents, caregivers and the community are invited to learn how Greene's Collaborative & Proactive Solutions approach is improving the way youth with behavioral challenges are being understood and treated in Maine.
The presentation will be held March 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at MSAD #75's Orion Performing Arts Center in Topsham.
Greene is the celebrated author of "The Explosive Child" and "Lost at School," has appeared on nationally syndicated television shows such as "Oprah" and "Dateline," and founded a nonprofit organization, Lives in the Balance, providing web-based resources at livesinthebalance.org to parents, educators and other caregivers of children with social, emotional and behavioral challenges.
According to the organization's brochure, "Lives in the Balance advocates on behalf of these children, calling attention to specific situations in which these kids are still being treated in ways that are counterproductive and ineffective, providing vital resources so that people and settings get the information they need to change course and move toward interventions that are non-punitive, non-adversarial, collaborative, proactive, skill-building and relationship-enhancing."
"If you're a parent or caregiver like most of us and are worried about a child who might be described as 'challenging,' 'angry' or 'defiant,' please consider attending this free event," said Carol Tiernan, G.E.A.R. Parent Network director. "Dr. Greene's research-based model may provide you with the strategies and support you need to help these kids in ways that are compassionate and effective."
Lives in the Balance is an example of one of G.E.A.R.'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 caregivers of children with behavioral health needs.
Dr. Greene emphasizes that "kids do well if they can" and that challenging behavior is due to lagging skills, not lack of motivation or poor parenting techniques. "We help parents and kids solve issues collaboratively and proactively since research has shown that many children don't respond especially well when we try to exclude them or work unilaterally or emergently."
The presentation will teach parents and caregivers how to problem solve collaboratively. "Maine is particularly receptive to our message," Greene said. "There are numerous schools throughout the state that have been implementing my model -- impressive reductions in discipline referrals, detentions and suspensions. And the model played a meaningful role in helping to improve care in the state's two juvenile detention facilities, where the lower recidivism rate has become a national example."
"We are fortunate to live in a state that is an example to the rest of the nation," agreed Tiernan. "But there's still a lot of work to be done. Families are the bedrock of our culture, and it's important that we recognize the vital part they play in shaping the world of tomorrow."
Dr. Greene's presentation is free and open to the public. Register online by visiting the G.E.A.R. website at gearparentnetwork.org or by calling the program's toll-free number at 1.800.264.9224.