The book Between Parent and Child has good reviews, but I just can't get through it. It is full of obviously fake scenarios that are presented as real. Written in 1965 and updated recently, it also has some weird anachronisms: children are scolded for climbing around in the (pre-seat belt era) car and dumping ashtrays on each other, but children are also encouraged to send an email to talk about their feelings. Whatever. The basic gist of the book is to mirror your child's emotions, and I can get behind that. Funnily enough, the one thing that struck me as worth remembering is actually excerpted from another book. In this scenario, the 1960s Mad Men-style housewife is making breakfast and the baby is crying and the (party line? rotary?) phone rings so she burns the toast, which causes her to cry and her husband to say:
A) "My God! When will you learn to make toast?!"
B) "Gee, honey, it's a rough morning for you--the baby, the phone, and now the toast."
C) "Let me show you, honey, how to make toast."
So the first response makes her feel hatred, the second makes her feel understood, and the last makes her feel stupid. But think of how often you tell a frustrated child, "Let me show you how to do it." The point is to diffuse the frustration by mirroring back to the child that you see what is happening and you see how frustrated the child feels, like response B, which ends up being comforting instead of condescending. Since I read this, I've tried it, and it works! Meltdowns averted!