I'm reading The Whole Brain Child (very slowly. I've been really distracted lately, so it is actually not the book's fault this time). And it has already made me clarify the way I think about responding to tantrums. The Whole Brain Child made it really explicit that not all tantrums are created equal. Some tantrums really are manipulative (unfortunately, I think some parents think they all are designed to manipulate, and they miss out on a valuable opportunity to respond to their child in a more effective manner). And some tantrums are just absolute, emotional melt downs. The kid could be overtired, hungry, or just a kiddo with an immature pre-frontal cortex, executive processing skills, and limited language acquisition (related: The Emotional Life of the Toddler). For the visual learners, I made you a little flow chart. (I'm not very good at this stuff, I'll work on it, I promise.)
In the flow chart above, I've incorporated some things I've learned from The Whole Brain Child and from The Verbal Behavior Approach (where I expand on Mand and Count, Prevent and Ignore, and Prevent and Enforce, if you'd like further clarification).
The Whole Brain Child also provides a lot of great calming strategies. I'll post more about those later, but here is a quick guide.
I think if you combine these strategies with If I Have To Tell You One More Time's tantrum prevention strategies (including one-on-one time guidance and the PRIDE skills) then you are pretty much set to be the best parent in the entire universe (just kidding, but still, they are really helpful).
Anyway, look forward to some more insights from The Whole Brain Child in upcoming posts.