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Jilly's Terrible Temper Tantrums: And How She Outgrew Them Library Binding – May 2, 2017
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Jilly the Kangaroo is very easily frustrated and has no patience. Any parent raising a small child can relate to this. Jilly doesn't want to wait, doesn't like to compromise, and wants everything her way. Yet, with tons of patience, love, soothing words and cuddles, her Mother and Father manage to calm Jilly the Kangaroo down time after time until Jilly learns to use her words to voice her feelings before her negative emotions burst out. Jilly's Terrible Temper Tantrums is a wonderful text that teaches children how to manage their big emotions in a healthy way for a positive outcome. --Kristine Daniels (Librarian). Netgalley.com
An impressive blend of original and entertaining storytelling with colorfully charming illustrations, Jilly's Terrible Temper Tantrums: And How She Outgrew Them is very highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular, 'kid friendly' addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. --Midwest Book Review
Five stars! I loved this book! As a preschool teacher, it has everything that I'm looking for in a book to share with my class. The artwork is beautiful and the story has direct applications to children and helping them grow into kind and compassionate adults. I love that the adults in the book explain what is happening and put words to Jilly's feelings, validating them while not giving in to her tantrums. I love that Jilly learns from her past experiences and knows that when she needs support, she can always just ask for it. I absolutely love this book from both a teaching perspective as well as helping parents use more effective discipline strategies. An awesome find and a book I definitely want to get in my classroom! --Mandy Bartmess (teacher) netgalley.com
About the Author
Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist who works with children and parents, and serves as a consultant to agencies and other mental health professionals. She authored the first book in this series, the award-winning Mommy, Daddy, I Had a Bad Dream! And she co-authored with William J. Pieper, M.D., the bestselling parenting book Smart Love: The Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Regulating, and Enjoying Your Child and the popular adult self-help book Addicted to Unhappiness. For over 35 years, she has counseled parents and helped children of all ages recover from emotional problems. Her work is the foundation for the non-profit agency Smart Love Family Services, which provides a broad spectrum of counseling and educational services to children and families. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Radcliffe College, she earned her doctorate at the University of Chicago.
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Speaking of credentials, here are mine. I am a parent whose oldest child just turned four. That's it. No fancy degrees or extended experience with other children. If anyone needs to discount my opinion because clearly my feelings and ideas are wrong for their kid (s) I totally get that.
I was so excited to receive this book I read it on the way home from the mailbox but after the initial reading I was disgusted. Halfway through I actually thought "maybe in the second half Jilly is going to get to the meat and potatoes of some actual coping mechanisms". I also was a bit taken aback by some of the parents' reactions to Jilly's tantrums and unable to see how they were necessarily helpful to Jilly in the long run.
So I decided to put it down and think it over, come back and re-read reviews to see if anybody else felt as I did. Then came back and read it a second time. I also decided in the meantime that the author and I may share some parenting philosophies but fundamental disagree on others. More on that later.
I will go through each of Jilly's tantrums and explain what I agree with and what I disagree with.
First, Jilly's tantrum over the chess game. I think it's great that daddy acknowledged Jilly's feelings and talked with her and offered her a reasonable alternative. Overall I think this situation was handled well. Though as a military spouse it hit me in the feels when he also said that he would always be there for a snuggle. There were many times after the birth of my second child when I would be using all available body parts and energy to care for the baby and daddy was on deployment and sometimes I just couldn't give my older child the physical love and attention that he demanded right this very second. My older son has learned in time to accept verbal forms affection when physical affection is not immediately available, but this was a tough process for him and definitely not one that happened overnight. After much repetition I think he understands unconditional love as it applies to his behavior and I think that is an important lesson covered in this book.
Next is the situation with Jilly's playdate. Jilly has a disagreement with her friend and says some unkind things out of anger (in my experience this happens a lot with young children). I think this is good because it gives the readers a chance to discuss the consequences (yes, I used that word!) of using our language that way towards other people. How they might feel as a result. The book skips over that and goes straight to the solution. Let's have a talk with our friend and see if we can't come up with a compromise. Luckily the talk worked and everyone was happy. What if the talk hadn't worked? How did Jilly calm down enough to have the talk? How did the playmate feel about what Jilly said? We are left to speculate. (Maybe hopping for kangaroos has the same calming affect as deep breaths for humans?)
Next is the toy shop. Very common cause of upset for most people I'm sure. So again Jilly's feelings are acknowledged and discussed by mommy. But this time Jilly doesn't easily accept the offer. So daddy sweeps Jilly off her feet, effectively distracting her from her emotions in an effort to move on. And realistically, I know this is often what parents are thinking in this situation. We're in public. This is noisy. I'm embarrassed. Just make it stop. But the solution here is not something I think should be taken lightly. Removing or distracting children from how they are feeling robs them of the opportunity to experience their feelings as they are naturally occurring and practice working through them. Learning different ways to deal with one's emotions takes a lot of practice at any age.
Next scene. Jilly's toys are misbehaving. Cue ordinary meltdown. But wait, Jilly had matured and she doesn't need her tantrum now. She now knows how to put her feelings into words, to ask for help, and that mama loves her no matter what. I can get behind all these things. But it's also presented in the book as Jilly being dependent on mama. Instead of having a tantrum about the blocks she yells and screams that she needs mama (right now!) to come and help her (feel better.) Asking for help isn't bad. Wanting to talk it out in confidence isn't bad. But by the end of the story this is the only coping mechanism Jilly has learned. In our house sometimes my son may still be upset no matter how many loving adults he has available at the time. We still teach him to take deep breaths and to center himself so that he is able to talk to us. Sometimes he just wants daddy to be his sympathetic ear because his disagreement is with mommy but guess what? Daddy just isn't home. Daddy is not going to come home immediately just because of this and no, sorry daddy can't come to the phone right now either. So he either needs to learn to accept someone else in the moment, or he needs more techniques to help work through his feelings without daddy. So it may be true what they say no man is an island. (or child?) But there may be times when, in the moment, your emotional rock is unavailable and for the foreseeable immediate future (five minutes, an hour, a day) a person needs to learn healthy ways to work through their emotions on their own. I'm talking about emotional self-regulation and coping mechanisms and for me they are indispensable.
Now that I have read this book twice on my own I think I am ready to introduce it to my 4 year old and I hope that he is more open than the daughter in the other 3 star review to discussing the book so that we can learn from it.
In a nutshell I give the book 3 stars because it does have some good material. It is well written and the language is easy for young children to understand and identify with Jilly and the illustrations do a good job of capturing the main character's emotions. At the same time I don't feel right giving too high of a rating because I feel like the main character is taught to be dependent on others for emotional self-regulation and that natural negative consequences are sugar coated if not avoided entirely. This book is no stand alone. Parents will definitely need to supplement with additional ideas and techniques for the child and discuss how to apply them to each situation or to common situations your child may experience which are not covered by the book.
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He actually saw himself in the pages of the story.Read more