By Louise Bates Ames, PhD, Frances L. Ilg, MD, and Carol Chase Haber
I'm a big fan of manuals and how-to books—almost anything that falls under the category "Please help me because I don't know what I'm doing!" I've found that parenting books can be very progressive, very groovy, very "Let's sit down and talk about why you bonked Billy in the eye." Or there's the English take, which is, "Baby must be in bed at 6 o'clock with a mashed banana and a glass of milk."
Thank goodness this series of books is actually helpful (the last is Your Ten- to Fourteen-Year-Old.) The authors explain that children go through six-month cycles of equilibrium and disequilibrium. During disequilibrium, things that used to go smoothly no longer do. It's not because your child is being a brat or you're a failure as a mother, but because there are periods of readjustment, often sparked by physiological changes. The book says it's entirely normal behavior and it's okay if it drives you totally mad.