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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$32.99 NZ$34.77
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

“Imagine a guide that can offer you an accessible, scientifically sound foundation for understanding your young child’s tantrums and then provide you accessible, practical, and effective ways to help connect with your child through the moments of meltdowns and tirades....The wonderful creator of this smart book is not only a brilliant translator of the science of good relationships and the brain, but also an astute, humble, and hilarious observer of human nature….Enjoy the journey ahead!”


—from the Foreword by Daniel J. Siegel, MD, coauthor of No-Drama Discipline



“Witty and authentic—an invaluable resource for dealing with meltdowns, especially at inopportune times and places. Unlike most parenting books, this one is painfully realistic. Dr. Hershberg shares her own struggles to manage her toddlers' behavior, despite her considerable expertise as a child psychologist.”


—Joan L. Luby, MD, Director, Early Emotional Development Program, Washington University School of Medicine



“Dr. Hershberg gives parents the ultimate gift of how to survive (and even prevent) tantrums. Her perspective as both a child psychologist and mother is refreshing and easy to relate to. She takes you right into the eye of the storm to help you understand what is going on in your toddler's mind. A 'must read' for all moms and dads—keep this book in your parenting tool box.”


—Deena Blanchard, MD, MPH, pediatrician, New York City



“Dr. Hershberg comes across like the smartest, most thoughtful of my 'mom friends'—and a funny one, too. She doesn’t shy away from digging deep into the outsized emotions of little kids. I feel like a psychological supermom now, ready to handle anything my 4- and 2-year-olds throw my way!”


—Ali M., Dobbs Ferry, New York



“This is the toddler decoding manual you've been waiting for! As the mother of a 3-year-old and a 20-month-old, I deal with a double dose of tantrums on a daily basis. This book has been a lifesaver in terms of how to understand the root causes and triggers of my kids' tantrums, how to process my own emotions during them, and how to handle (and even prevent) tantrums in the future. Dr. Hershberg somehow makes you feel listened to and validated simply through reading her words.”


—Sumana W., Los Angeles



“As a father of two, I found this to be an invaluable tool for living in the trenches with young kids. With warmth and humor, Dr. Hershberg assures you that you are not alone and describes strategies that work.”


—Chris D., Chatham, New Jersey
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.