Your Toddler's Temper Tantrum Can Be Decoded

toddler temper tantrumI believe there's a show on cable somewhere that follows around people with really bad jobs and films them for our entertainment. Because who doesn't like to watch men in sewer lines with rats crawling over their faces? But one job you won't see on reality television is the one where scientists listen to recordings of toddler's temper tantrums and attempt to analyze their findings. Mostly because we all would change the channel faster than when that Playboy Club show was assaulting our senses.

Yet, these people do exist and they do have some news for those of us who are interested in the toddler tantrum and how to stop it.


Apparently temper tantrums have patterns. Who knew? The scientists who listened to hundreds of hours of taped tantrums, that's who. While we may see a kid getting angry and then eventually melting into tears, the sadness and anger actually flow together and occur at the same time. Certain sounds indicate anger, while others indicate sadness. Once we can recognize the anger sounds (hint: the yelling and kicking), we can take action. Which is, in fact, no action.

Scientists say the best way to stop a toddler tantrum is to get past the "anger" portion and onto the sadness. Because a sad child will want comfort and will reach out, while an angry child may punch you in the face. Unfortunately the way past the anger stage is to do absolutely nothing. Which can be incredibly challenging when you just want the screaming and yelling to stop. But asking your child what she wants, or asking her anything, or making suggestions during the anger only prolongs that portion of the tantrum. So back up and keep backing up until she's ready for that hug.

Tantrums are horrible, aren't they? Still, this information about doing nothing should (in theory) give a parent some sense of control in recognizing where Jr. is at in that tantrum stage. If nothing else, maybe if we spread this information far and wide, we will stop getting so many angry looks when we're in public and our child is in the anger stage and we just walk away and pretend he belongs to someone else. You know, if you would do that. Which you totally wouldn't, right? Ahem.

Do you think this new information about tantrums will help you?


Image via Mel B./Flickr

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