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Press Release: Tears and Tantrums


Tears and Tantrums

Title: Tears and Tantrums: What to do when babies and children cry
Author: Aletha Solter, Ph.D.
Publisher: Shining Star Press
Publication Date: February 1, 1998
ISBN 10: 0-9613073-6-6
ISBN 13: 978-0-9613073-6-3
LC number: 97-61760
Size/Binding: 177 pages, 5.5 X 8.5 inches, softcover
Price: $14.95
Contains detailed index and bibliography (over 150 references cited)
Distribution: available from all major wholesalers (except Ingram) or directly from the publisher
Trade reviews: Publishers Weekly, Booklist.
Foreign language rights sold: Czech, Dutch, French, Estonian, German, Hebrew, Italian, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish

Parents and other caretakers ask more questions about crying than about any other topic, wondering whether it is appropriate to comfort, ignore, distract, punish, give in, or listen empathically to children when they cry. Tears and Tantrums is a highly readable, compassionate, and well-researched book in which the author directly addresses these questions and concerns. She describes the underlying reasons for crying in infants and children (up to eight years of age). The book is based on her popular workshops on crying, which she has led in 16 countries. It has been translated into ten languages and sold around the world.

There has been a huge misunderstanding about the purpose of crying in healthy development, leading to the wide-spread notion that crying should be stopped. Backed by scientific studies, the author proposes a stress-release theory of crying, and recommends an accepting attitude towards children's tears and tantrums. At the core of her approach is the concept of empathic listening.

The book is divided into four sections: some facts about tears and tantrums, crying in infants, crying and raging in children from one to eight years of age, and practical applications.

The author's discussion of infants includes a description of the sources of stress for infants, as well as ways to reduce stress. She makes an important distinction between crying as communication and crying as stress release, and claims that problems such as waking at night in older infants can be resolved when sufficient stress release has taken place. However, she emphasizes repeatedly that infants should never be left to cry alone. An interesting section discusses the typical behaviors that can result when crying infants are distracted or ignored.

The section about crying in children from one to eight years of age includes a discussion of raging over minor upsets (the "broken-cookie" phenomenon), and how to deal with physical hurts, separations, violence, bedtime crying, and specific traumatic events. The section on practical applications includes many personal accounts by parents using this approach, as well as answers from the author to the most commonly asked questions.

The author, Dr. Aletha Solter, is a Swiss/American developmental psychologist who studied with Dr. Jean Piaget in Switzerland before earning her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of California. She is the founder and director of The Aware Parenting Institute (, an international organization with certified instructors in many countries. She is recognized internationally as an expert on attachment, trauma, and non-punitive discipline, and has appeared on TV in the U.S., Europe, South Africa, and Asia. Her other books have also been translated into several languages. The titles are The Aware Baby, Helping Young Children Flourish, Raising Drug-Free Kids, and Attachment Play.

Tears and Tantrums has been favorably reviewed by Publishers Weekly and Booklist as well as by many psychologists and psychiatrists. Publishers Weekly wrote: "[Dr. Solter's] growing reputation as the leading authority in this area of parenting is well deserved."

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