What is a tantrum?
According to the National Association of School Psychologists, a tantrum occurs when a young child, usually between the ages of 1-1/2 to 4, experiences a mixture of anger and sadness to the point where he or she loses control. A child doesn’t consciously choose to have a tantrum. A tantrum is an overwhelming expression of feeling that is frightening for a child to experience. It’s also hard to watch as a parent.
In 2011, two researchers at the University of Minnesota collected a large amount of data on tantrums. "We have the most quantitative theory on tantrums that has ever been developed in the history of humankind," remarked Professor Michael Potegal in a National Public Radio interview. By placing small microphones in the clothing of toddlers, hundreds of tantrums were recorded. The recordings were compiled and the vocalizations characteristic of tantrums were charted according to angry and sad tones. While these tones overlapped, it was clear that after the angry tones peaked, the sad tones dominated.
So, a tantrum is an uncontrollable outburst of anger mixed with sadness and once the peaks of anger are over, sadness remains. How best to respond to this powerful expression of emotion?
My research on the subject is motivated by the fact that my two-year-old son occasionally passes out from holding his breath in a tantrum. Breath holding spells occur in about 5 percent of toddlers. While children outgrow them, they are jarring to witness. I love my little boy beyond words. I want to find positive ways to side-step tantrums and respond wisely when they do occur. I offer the following reflections as a helpful support to parents of toddlers everywhere.
So, how to respond?
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/birth-breath-death/Tantrums-How-best-to-respond-.html#ufcCbMTP6t2BwJmt.99