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May 4, 2014

Dissecting the tantrum Supernanny Jo Frost tackles toddler meltdowns in new book

Jo Frost of “Supernanny” fame is out with her seventh book, and she’s taking aim at toddlers. More specifically, she focuses on the thing so many parents dread: toddlers and tantrums.

Frost, who travels the world as a parenting consultant, made her name on TV with “Supernanny,” ‘‘Extreme Parental Guidance” and last summer’s “Family S.O.S. with Jo Frost.”

In the new book, “Jo Frost’s Toddler Rules,” out in March from Random House, she offers a five-step approach to proactive parenting based on knowing when to step back, observe or step in.

Make sure your child has enough sleep; provide consistent mealtimes with proper proportions and the right food; offer plenty of opportunity for physical activity, stimulation and socialization; help development with learning activities; and be clear on family expectations for behavior, with appropriate corrections when necessary.

As for tantrums for this age group, Frost says there are three basic causes:

— The emotional meltdown, when a child loses it due to sadness, pain, excitement or fear.

— The situation tantrum, due to hunger, frustration or being unable to do something he or she wants to do.

— The mock tantrum, a manipulation when a parent has given in one too many times.

Frost, 43 and newly engaged, with no children of her own, hails from England but lives in Los Angeles. She has worked with numerous American families over the years. While there are many universals in parenting worldwide, she does see some differences in the approach to discipline among Americans.

Five questions for Jo Frost:

AP: Is there such a thing as an inexplicable tantrum? The kind where you’ve tried to figure out the cause and there just doesn’t seem to be one.

Frost: No, I don’t believe so. Whether they’re hungry, whether they’re too hot, too cold, they’re always trying to communicate with us. Tantrums are only natural. It’s part of child development, but we don’t have a good tolerance level for it here in the states.

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