Book Review – No Such Thing As a Bad Kid!

Understanding and Responding to the Challenging Behavior of Troubled Children and Youth

By: Charles D. Appelstein

Disclaimer: This book review is my opinion of the book. If you have a different opinion of the book that is great. I know I have loved several movies and books that other reviewers have not liked and disliked movies and books that receive great reviews. I think we all have. If you would like to submit your own review, I may consider posting it. Thanks.

This is my new #1 recommended book for houseparents and other residential childcare staff.  This book will help you be a better caregiver after the very first chapter.  It will give you a much better understanding of challenging behavior and the cause.  It will teach you skills to prevent challenging behavior as well as interventions to help you respond to challenging behavior.

The book is divided into three parts.  The first part is titled: “Understanding Challenging Behavior” and includes chapters titled:

  • Misbehavior: A Coded Message
  • Responding versus Reacting
  • Developmental Considerations
  • The Quest for Self-Esteem
  • The Need for Consequences

The second part is titled: “Preventing Challenging Behavior” and includes chapters titled:

  • Asking the Right Questions
  • Troubleshooting in Advance
  • The Power of Humor

The last part is titled: “Responding to Challenging Behavior” and includes chapters titled:

  • The Essence of Communication
  • Basic Verbal Interventions
  • Strategic Verbal Interventions
  • Limit Setting
  • Behavior Modification

For those of you that will read the list of chapters and think this book is all about programs and creating rules, read what he has to say about level systems, “Both sides of the level systems debate raise intriguing issues.  Indeed, abandoning the use of a level system is often risky, signaling the need for a more discretionary approach that may disrupt adult-child relationships.  Yet such personalized encounters lie at the foundation of a good treatment plan.  The objective of out-of-home placements, after all, is to therapeutically replicate events that transpire in the youngsters’ homes rather than artificially construct dynamics that will exist only in a corner of their world.
   Ultimately, our task is not to make the job easier, but to prepare kids for success in less supportive environments – settings devoid of level systems and governed by adult decision-making, some which is bound to be unpopular.”

I absolutely recommend this book for anyone that works with children that have difficult behaviors to include foster parents, teachers, coaches, etc.  If you don’t buy it through Amazon, buy it somewhere or check it out from the library and read it.  It will only make you a better houseparent.

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