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Getting to Calm

Published on: January 01, 2014

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Getting To Calm: Cool-headed strategies for parenting tweens and teens (Paperback)
By Dr. Laura S. Kastner Ph.D. and Jennifer Wyatt 

Price: $19.95

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ISBN: 9780982345405




Getting to Calm is the first book ever to address the crucial issue of emotional regulation for parents dealing with difficult tween and teen issues – and it does so with wit, wisdom and a deep understanding of breakthroughs in brain science.

Hear author Dr. Laura Kastner's recent appearance on National Public Radio.

Hear more from author Laura Kastner in a clip from ABC's The View From the Bay in San Francisco.


Breathtaking … infuriating … exasperating and magnificent: The teenage years can make parents doubt themselves like nothing else. Never have there been more social pressures at play during the sometimes tumultuous years between ages 10 and 18. But new brain research is shedding light on the causes behind the chaos, giving parents insight into a better way to relate to their teen.

Getting to Calm is a practical, realistic and ultimately reassuring guide to navigating one of the most challenging aspects of parenting today: staying calm and clear-headed during some of the most common hot-button situations that arise during the teen years, such as:

  • When your teen is rude and sarcastic
  • When your smart teen does something really dumb
  • When teen problems drive a wedge between you and your spouse
  • When your teen is acting like a spoiled brat
  • When you’re worried you’re losing your teen
  • When teens are mean

With humor, wisdom and a deep understanding of the teenaged brain, Drs. Kastner and Wyatt provide clear and useful tools for parents, giving them effective new ways to manage their own emotions in the heat of the moment  with their teen while maintaining — and even gaining — closeness.
What readers are saying about Getting To Calm

"An ideal guide book for parenting teens, Getting to Calm shows how emotional intelligence starts in the home. Parents are given valuable strategies for managing their own emotions and tackling challenging situations, all with a keen focus on the critical importance of maintaining a strong parent-teen relationship. Indispensable!"

-John Gottman, Ph.D., author of Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child

"This is a smart book. Filled with accessible science and illuminating stories, Getting to Calm offers sound advice for not only staying sane as a parent, but navigating the waters of your teen's life with clarity and skill so that both you and your adolescent will benefit. A wonderful contribution to every parent's library of support. Bravo!"

-Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., author of The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being and Parenting From the Inside Out

"Required reading for any parent who struggles with their teen. Here is true insight into the mental and emotional world of adolescents. Kastner and Wyatt offer parents useful, step-by-step tools for managing their own emotions in the face of teenaged chaos."

-T. Berry Brazelton, MD and Joshua Sparrow, MD, Harvard Medical School

Table of Contents

Introduction: Teen Difficulties Happen to the Best of Parents  

1.  When Your Sweet Child Morphs into a Sassy Teen

Why Are Today’s Teens So Rude?
When to Try to Tame the ’Tude
Staying Calm in the Face of Rudeness
The Tricky Issue of Manners
Family Story: A Mom Deftly Handles a Defiant Teen
The Most Effective Parenting Style for Raising Successful Teens

2.  When Smart Teens Do Really Dumb Things

When – and Why – Teens Don’t Use Their Heads 
Extraordinary Discoveries in Brain Science
Why Emotion Often Trumps Reason in Teens
Family Story: A Teen’s Big Blunder Triggers Extreme Parent Reactions
Helping Kids Learn from Their Mistakes
The Myth of Immunity

3.  When Your Trustworthy Teen Pulls a Fast One

Family Story: Skillful Handling of a Teen Crisis
Stellar Strengths for Confronting a Teen
Why Even Good Teens Lie
Setting up Family Rules and Policies: Don’t Forget to Have Them!
Using the CALM Technique
Dealing with Doubts: Do My Teen and I Have a Good Relationship?

4.  When You and Your Spouse Disagree

The Family Fish Bowl
Family Story: Parents at Their Wit’s End
Good Cop/Bad Cop: Why Nobody Wins
How Decent Kids Turn into Problem Kids
Four Triggers for Splitting Parents Apart

5.  When Your Teen Is Acting Like a Spoiled Brat

The Epidemic of “Entitle-mania”
Family Story: A Parent’s Plan Backfires
The Big Brush-off: A Teen’s Favorite Weapon
The Usual Slog with an Average Teen
Q&A: How to Kick-start New and Better Habits for Truly Resistant Teens
Family Story: If I Say “Yes,” Will My Teen Love Me More?
Weak Boundaries and Family-of-Origin Problems
Pathways to Indulgence

6.  When You’re Worried You’re Losing Your Teen

What Am I, Chopped Liver?
Selfhood 2.0
The Self-centeredness of Young Teens
Lie Low and Wear Beige
Family Story: A Dad Struggles with His Son’s Choices
Forks in the Road: Who Gets to Choose the Way?
Identity Development: There’s a Method to the Madness

7.  When They’re Screaming at You – or Not Talking at All

Family Story: A Savvy Mom Avoids a Mother-Daughter Tornado
Dealing with Emotional Dumping
Family Story: The Burdens of Boyhood
Staying Connected when your Teen Is Shutting You Out
The “Girl Thing” and the “Boy Thing”

8.  When Teens Are Mean

Why Bashing Your Teen’s Friends Is a Bad Move
Family Story: A Mom Helps Her Daughter Outwit an “Alpha” Friend
How Parents Can Blow It by Overreacting to Peers
Adolescent Social Bruises
Social Cruelty on a Spectrum
How “in” a Teen’s World Should You Be?
Strategic Moves for Banning Friends
Nudging Shy Teens Along the Social Path

9.  When Your Teen Wants to Be Wired All the Time

Family Story: A Turbo-charged Cyber Identity
Family Story: Caught in the Web of a Cyber Stalker
Family Story: The Plague of Plagiarism
Family Story: Pornography Invasion
Family Story: Branding of Teens Like Cattle in a Herd
Family Story: Game Washed
Why Face Time Matters

10.  When Your Teen Is “Going Out”

The Teen Brain in Love
Family Story: A Mom Fears Her Son Is Falling for a “Fast Girl”
Dos and Don’ts of Teen Dating for Parents
Socializing, Romance and Going Out
Downsides of Romantic Relationships
The Incredible Benefits of Dating

11. When You Need to Talk About Sex

Puberty Dawns 
New Bodies New Challenges 
Talking to Teens About Sexuality: Myths and Misconception 
Family Story: Navigating the Tricky Waters of Talking About Sexual Intimacy 
A List for Teens Considering Sexual Intimacy 
New Trends on the Block 
Techniques for Talking About Sex

12. When You’re Fighting About Grades

The Core Four 
What Kind of Student Is Your Teen? 
Family Story: A Lackadaisical Student Piles on the Excuses 
Help on the Home Front for Those Disappointing Grades 
Seven Top Tips for Boosting School Achievement 
What Matters More than the Numbers Game

13. When You Catch Your Teen Drinking or Smoking

Why Risk Is a Teen’s Middle Name 
The Teen Brain and Substances: A Unique and Scary Brew 
Good Moves for Sticky Situations 
Write a Caring Letter to Your Teen 
Actions that Speak Louder than Words

14. When Everyone Is Completely Stressed Out

Family Story: A Scheduling Dilemma 
Why We Put up with the Rat Race 
Crafting a Calmer Home 
A Strategic Plan for Building Family Health

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