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What Your Child's Temper Tantrum Means — New Study

Wed, December 7, 2011 5:32pm EDT by 3 Comments

A new study might have the answers to stopping kids’ temper tantrums! Just imagine a world with less screaming, kicking and crying!

New research suggests that behind all the kicking and screaming, tantrums actually have a pattern and rhythm to them, according to NPR. Researchers say that understanding that rhythm could have an amazing effect: Stopping the tantrums! This new research could also help distinguish between a normal tantrum and the warning sign of an undiagnosed disorder.

The researchers did a detailed analysis of fussy toddlers and realized that different sounds kids make have a definite rhythm. “We developed a onesie that toddlers can wear that has a high-quality wireless microphone sewn into it,” James A. Green, co-author of the study said. “Parents put this onesie on the child and press a go button.”

If the toddler had a meltdown while the microphone was recording, researchers got a high-quality recording. “Screaming and yelling and kicking often go together,” Michael Potegal, another co-author of the study said. “Throwing things and pulling and pushing things tend to go together. Combinations of crying, whining, falling to the floor and seeking comfort — and these also hang together.”

Getting the child past peaks of anger was the key to ending the tantrum, Michael said. The quickest way past the anger stage? Do nothing. According to the researchers, parents prolonged the tantrum by asking questions.

“You know, when children are at the peak of anger and they’re screaming and they’re kicking, probably asking questions might prolong that period of anger,” said James. “It’s difficult for them to process information. And to respond to a question that the parent is asking them may be just adding more information into the system than they can really cope with.”

Knowing that tantrums have a rhythm will help parents know whether or not to intervene, which is priceless knowledge to have.

What do YOU do when your kid throws a tantrum, HollyMoms?

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