Bright & Quirky Child Summit

Help bright kids thrive, even with learning, social and/or emotional challenges

Session 1: What to Do When Kids Resist, Refuse or Don't Like School

Ross W. Greene, PhD

Does your child have resistance or lack of engagement at school that has you and teachers stumped? Let's get better at calling on the real expert of your child's struggles - your child! Too often when a child is struggling, well-meaning adults try to help a child with theories and non-specific information when student struggles tend to be highly individualized. Learn from the master of collaborative problem solving, Dr. Ross Greene, how to efficiently gather information from your child about what's getting in their way of meeting expectations, including fantastic tips for handling the "I don't know" responses and non-talkers.

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Now we'd love to hear from you. What's bubbling up for you after hearing the talk? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  1. Melissa on March 16, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    So many great points from Dr. Greene however it’s super frustrating that he oversimplified vision problems by saying you should ask the kid or wait to hear the kid say they can’t see something. If kids have always had vision problems they have NO IDEA they have them. They don’t know another way. Getting to the root cause of vision or auditory problems most likely will not come from the kid suggesting they have those difficulties. And solving those problems can make such a difference.

  2. Lital Levy on March 15, 2020 at 10:53 pm

    Katherine, I suggest reading Ross Greene’s book Lost at School. It will be helpful to you.

  3. Lisa on March 15, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    Similar question to Katherine, but in the home environment. We look to just deescalate in the moment but it’s hard working out what that looks like when the physical safety of others are at risk. Also, what if the unsolved problem is actually just impulsivity in the numerous specific scenarios (eg hitting sibling as goes past – difficulty walking past sibling and keeping hands to self; snatching – difficulty asking to hold a toy; swearing – difficulty using nice words when greeting parent in the morning). Where ‘impulsivity’ is the lagging skill and lens through which behaviour is viewed are we still able to solve the unsolved problems?

  4. Gloria Gallardo-Walker on March 15, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    Love Ross Greene as he simplifies everything for me. Good to work on one unsolved problem at a time and make it specific about an expectation a kid has difficulty meeting. Makes sense.

  5. Mara on March 15, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    My 2e son always loved the school but had hard time with writing. Because of his behaviors and refuses to do the work he was placed in behavior classroom. This January I poll him out and we start homeschool. Little that I know what was going on in the behavior classroom…. there was a child that was aggressive and was put in a “POD”(room without windows) really often and when he was there he will bang on the door and saying bad words. My son who is high functioning and has sensory processing problem need to set there pretending to be deaf, focused, do his work and be successful!?!? And when my son couldn’t achieve a gold that teacher expected from him that day, because he was under stress and refused to do the work, he was punished and put in de “POD”!!!! He even told me that he was so scared that the boy will brake down the door and came out to trash whole classroom!!
    I am so upset with system that failed my child who is exceptionally smart with IQ over 130(their own words). I am also upset with my self that I trust the system and let my child (who is coming from stable, loving home) to go there and be traumatized on almost daily basis.

  6. Kate Bailey on March 15, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    So true that as adults we tend to want to solve the problem and are too global.
    Collaborating with the child and finding out specifics will guide us as parents and therapist, thank you

  7. Mary on March 15, 2020 at 11:07 am

    I found this very helpful for me and the trying to get the support my child needs. She has Dysgrafia and Dyscalculia and I have yet to find a school that really understand how to best support her and the behavior that come up from the frustration with the processing. It does help me as a parent to try to be more patient with the unsolved problems and proactive instead of reactive when the behaviors come up. Thank you for this

  8. Anna on March 15, 2020 at 10:46 am

    Really get so much from listening to Ross Green. His book “The Explosive Child” was a life saver for me and my child years ago when I was raising her. Thank you

  9. Katherine Duarte on March 15, 2020 at 9:31 am

    I love listening to many of these talks. However, I would really like to have some speakers that talk about how you accommodate these types of students in the moment in a group in the classroom. Many behaviours cannot be ignored or a teacher cannot stop and take time to do a talk with them at the time or do a tutoring session indivudally when there are 20+ students in a classroom. So, what do you expect a teacher to do when a student will not follow the group plan and disrupts the class or refuses to take part in class activities? How often do you expect a teacher to have to talk to a student and how often? Is it to be expected that a teacher would spend 20 minutes with each student several times a week? It is easy to have 3-7 students (and these may not be students who have a diagnosis) in each class who need support with being part of the group on a consistent basis and this type of individual assistance is almost impossible to do on a daily basis with many students. There just is not time in the day. Then, there is always the instances also of when teachers are asked not to take time during their recess or break times as well. What do all of these experts suggest then for how classroom teachers handle all of this in the moment. The key for me is in the moment when the behaviour happens and it is such a behaviour that disrupts the entire classroom, for example a student who throws an object when asked to stop what they are doing, or begins to scream because they did not get a turn to share their idea, or hits others as he/she goes to line up, or blurts out thoughts, ideas, answers as the group is disucssing something so often everyone starts to get frusrated or begin to talk among themselves, rolls around on the carpet while everyone else is sitting in a circle in a group, screams into the ear of another student, starts to take off their clothes, puts their hands all over other students when sitting in a group, start laughing loudly or screaming when a teacher starts to or is in the middle of reading a book for everyone. How would they handle this and how should it be handled when it happens repeatedly throughout the school day?

    • Shaari on March 15, 2020 at 11:27 am

      Yes what Katherine says. It’s real and no support in the classroom either, even with explosive kids.

    • Debbie Steinberg-Kuntz on March 15, 2020 at 11:55 am

      Katherine, This is an excellent question. I will pose it anonymously for you in our Summit FB group. I’m sure we will get some interesting ideas there. Link:
      UPDATE: Lots of great discussion happening in the FB group on the question you posed, Katherine!

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