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Analyzing A Tantrum

girl having a tantrumI just listened to NPR’s story on “What Makes A Tantrum.”

Funny, the little girl whose tantrums they recorded in the story sounded an awful lot like my toddler’s tantrums.

Like my toddler, this 3-year-old’s tantrums are often instigated by something COMPLETELY out of anyone’s control. In this case, her daughter was arguing to sit at the “head” of the table. Unfortunately, the table in question was round, and therefore had no head.

My toddler usually wants to go back in time and do something that is physically impossible now that I’ve already done it: flush the toilet, add detergent to the washing machine, walk through the door, etc. He strategically waits to tell me that he wanted to do it until after it’s done, so it’s almost as if he’s just looking for a reason to go ballistic. As if he needs a reason.

The study in this piece highlights the intricacies of a tantrum and how different sounds are related: Like kicking and screaming, and throwing things and pushing/pulling things are usually seen together. Also of note: Most tantrums have both anger and sadness intertwined, rather than one after the other.

Now, what you’re all waiting for…how do you get a tantrum to end?

Simple. Get them past the angry phase.

The trick in getting a tantrum to end as soon as possible, Potegal said, was to get the child past the peaks of anger. Once the child was past being angry, what was left was sadness, and sad children reach out for comfort. The quickest way past the anger, the scientists said, was to do nothing. Of course, that isn’t easy for parents or caregivers to do.

Right. Easier said than done. As the article suggests, most parents “experience” tantrums with their children, rather than just observe them. It’s hard not to ask them questions, or try to help your toddler in this situation. You want them to stop. You want them to feel better. Plus, you know, all those people around you who have to listen to the screaming would probably like it to be over as well. There’s an emotional piece of this from which it’s hard to divorce yourself.

However, I’m going to try to take this advice. If nothing else, it will help ME get through the tantrum a little bit easier.

How do you deal with tantrums? Here’s the link of the tantrum explored in the article.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4cBU0ZGsHM&feature=related[/youtube]

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