by Elizabeth Crary, M.S.
You're tired of tantrums. Weary of tears. Exasperated by the tirades.
Why can't I teach my kids to handle their anger, their frustration, their disappointment, you may be asking.
You can, says Elizabeth Crary—but not at the moment of crisis. When your child is in the middle of an emotional meltdown, you can't teach anything. All you can do is sooth and support your child—and start thinking about what to do when the situation improves.
How to teach children to avoid and manage problems is exactly what Crary outlines in Dealing with Disappointment: Helping Kids Cope When Things Don't Go Their Way (Parenting Press, Inc., (800) 992-6657, www.ParentingPress.com, $13.95). Based on more than 20 years work as a parent educator, this practical guide provides an introduction to emotional literacy and discusses the importance of helping kids identify and acknowledge their emotions. Then it walks parents through what to do when children are upset and how to gradually teach them to take responsibility for handling their emotional problems.
Like all of Crary's books, Dealing with Disappointment provides step-by-step help in the form of self-calming and problem-solving tools, games and exercises parents and teachers can use—before disaster strikes—to help children manage their feelings. And when those emotions aren't being managed? Crary comes through with more tips for adults—realistic suggestions for defusing anger before kids explode.
Not all of Crary's advice is kid-oriented. She recognizes the importance of parents' staying calm—even when their kids can't. You can't take care of your children if you're not taking care of yourself, she says. That's why there's an entire chapter, "Staying Calm When Kids Are Upset," that gives parents advice, exercises and action plans for their own coping strategies.
This easy-to-read book is light on theory and long on help. It packs dozens of ideas in its first 100 pages. But that's not all! The extensive appendixes include activities, songs and skits for understanding and expressing feelings, and "first aid" techniques when you need immediate help in working out anger and averting a crisis.
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