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Tantrum Survival Guide: Tune In to Your Toddler's Mind (and Your Own) to Calm the Craziness and Make Family Fun Again

by Rebecca Schrag Hershberg Guilford Publications
Pub Date:
Pbk 250 pages
AU$37.99 NZ$39.12
Product Status: In Stock Now
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Most parents of toddlers and preschoolers know a thing or two about tantrums - those epic meltdowns that seem to come out of nowhere. Even though tantrums can be part of "normal" toddler behavior, they are maddening, stressful, and exhausting. What can parents do to help everyone step back and calm down? With candor and wit, Rebecca Schrag Hershberg, psychologist and mom of two, explains the science behind why tantrums occur and what parents might unintentionally be doing to encourage them. She offers a customizable plan for nipping blowups in the bud while fostering healthy development and deeper parent–child connections. Imagine family life with equal measures of love and limits - and less drama.


Audience: Parents of toddlers and preschoolers; also of interest to mental health professionals, early childhood educators, and pediatricians.

1. “You Haven’t Seen a Tantrum Until You’ve Seen My Toddler’s Tantrums”: When Should You Worry?
2. “Really? This Is What You’re Going to Melt Down Over?”: Understanding Causes and Triggers
3. “What’s Going On in That Curious Little Mind?”: Being Realistic about the Limitations of the Developing Brain
4. “Why Can’t I Handle This?”: Parental Expectations, Baggage, and Emotions
5. “Maybe If Things Were Just a Bit Less Crazy on the Home Front . . .”: Family Dynamics and the Foundation for Reducing Tantrums
6. “Of Course You’ll Always Be My Sweet Little Baby (Except Possibly When You Pee in the Bath on Purpose)”: Preserving the Authentic Connection with Your Toddler
7. “Who’s Making the Rules Here?”: Using Reasonable Structures and Routines to Help Your Toddler Feel Secure
8. “OK. But. Now. What. Exactly. Should. I. Do?”: Practical Strategies for Preventing and Deescalating Tantrums
9. “Am I Making Things Worse?”: Concrete Ways to Avoid Knee-Jerk Responses and Other “Anti-Tools” That Just Don’t Work
10. “Please Just Go to Sleep, Already!”: How to Reduce Tantrums at Tough Times of Day, from Wake-Up to Bedtime
11. “How Many Times Can We Order Pizza for Dinner?” (a.k.a. Another Aborted Trip to the Supermarket): How to Reduce Tantrums in Tricky Settings, from the Big-Box Store to the Playground and Beyond
12. “A Tantrum Is Quite Possibly the Last Thing I Need Right Now”: How to Reduce Tantrums under Difficult Circumstances, from Travel to Moving to Divorce

"Offering long-term strategies (think “L” for love and limits), Hershberg conveys the importance of a home filled with both warmth and boundaries….Including proactive and preventative approaches, Hershberg’s comprehensive manual…will prove valuable to the multitude of parents looking to bring calm to their household.”
Rebecca Schrag Hershberg, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and founder of Little House Calls Psychological Services, which specializes in helping kids and parents confronting a range of common early childhood challenges. Dr. Hershberg has held leadership positions at a national nonprofit organization serving children and a hospital-based infant and toddler preventive mental health program. She has taught in the Department of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and has presented numerous seminars and workshops for parents. She lives in the New York City area with her husband and two young sons.