Tears and Tantrums: What to Do When Babies and Children Cry

Aletha J. Solter, Author
Aletha J. Solter, Author Shining Star Press $12.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-9613073-6-3
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
Solter, a developmental psychologist and author of The Aware Baby, upends many common responses to crying in children. Her premise is that crying serves the important function of releasing stress and leading to resolution of conflict or trauma. Instead of attempting to stop a child from crying, Solter advocates allowing the child to cry (after making certain he or she isn't in physical pain) with the expectation that the child will draw on his or her own resources to solve the problem the crying is a response to. Feeding (including nursing), distracting and rocking, Solter argues, only inhibit the release of stress. Instead, she believes parents should gently hold their child while making eye contact, ""accepting"" the crying so that the youngster will benefit from its physiological and psychological benefits (which Solter describes in detail). Solter's approach may be hard to entertain for parents of the hug-and-cookie school, but its close fit with the principles of Parent Effectiveness Training adds substance to her arguments. Her emphatic urging that parents not shame or punish children for crying could relieve much of the tension about crying and tantrums suffered by both adults and children. (Feb.)
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