Temper Tantrums Get Scientific Scrutiny

Do your younger siblings have temper tantrums? Or do you maybe remember your own fits of screaming, crying, kicking, and whining that drove your parents—and any unlucky bystanders—up the wall? No aspect of human experience seems to be unworthy of study by psychologists, and temper tantrums are no exception. A new study of these toddler tempests indicates that tantrums follow patterns and that these patterns give caregivers opportunities to calm the storm. The findings can also help parents distinguish between normal upsets and those that might indicate a serious illness.

Before they could analyze the tantrums, the researchers had to collect data. To do so, they recorded the sounds of more than 100 temper tantrums by attaching wireless recording devices to toddlers’ onesies. If a child had a meltdown during the session, every ear-melting moment was recorded. The researchers then analyzed the sounds. One of the study’s findings indicates that anger, with its screams and thrashing limbs, and sadness, evidenced by whining and whimpering, occur throughout the tantrum. Child development specialists had thought that temper tantrums start with anger and devolve into sadness. There are peaks in the anger, though, and getting past the peaks to the lingering sadness offers a chance to calm the child.

Probably the most useful aspect of the study is a list of recommendations for dealing with temper tantrums. Here are five not-that-easy-to-follow basic rules:

1. Just wait it out. Get the child to a quieter place where she won’t disturb others.
2. Don’t try to coax the child into better behavior, threaten, bribe, or question. The child is not listening to even your most eloquent reasoning.
3. Offer comfort. Once the child is past the peaks of anger, he will want to be comforted.
4. Find the humor in the situation. Well, you can try.
5. Don’t take tantrums as a personal failure. They happen in every family.

Image credit: © Getty Images

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  1. Brooklyn says:

    whoa that was like me! first comment!

    • Victor says:

      Great post! Nya is only four months but still has a way of litnetg me know when she is unhappy by squealing, squeaking, and becoming very squirmy. Given her baby “mini tantrums” now, I am nervous about what is to come with the toddler years!-Jessica a.k.a Nya’s momP.S. I am now following!

      • Deni says:

        To age oolong, you need to lltghiy ‘bake’ it yearly, to reduce the humidity it absorbed.Puerh does not have this problem. Thanks to humidity it experiences post fermentation. Humidity and heat actully improve aging, but best is to let this happen naturally. So, I wouldn’t control humidity (except if too dry) or temperature (except to keep it from cold or freezing!) Only important thing to control: odors! Keep bad smells away from your tea.Climate change has an impact. Good or bad also depends on taste, I guess. You may also grow more attached to a tea aged at home than in a place you never lay foot.

  2. Ryan says:

    That looks like my sisiter. Yay second comment!

  3. phoenix gomez says:

    this website is cool wat uz

  4. tyler rhine isak says:

    this is a cool web site

  5. Lexiiemonae38 says:

    this is a very interesting article and luv the little girl tutu

  6. Kaylealove80 says:

    This is cool!!

  7. jayjay3333 says:

    looks just like my sis wow thats sad

  8. BiiG~BabYiie B says:

    i quess i will be number 8 2 post a comment…..but i dont think that the 5 not-that-easy-to-follow basic rules are so ok but it could get better.
    Also, the children might not just have a temper tantrums because they cant get something it as 2 deal with the parent hitting the child when they do something wrong….

  9. Miyah97 says:

    I think that the 5 listed recommendations are very helpful to the ones that do not know how to control temper tantrums of young toddlers. Therefore, It can help anyone understand the main reasons why infants throw fits, holler, kick, and scream when they are angry or or sad. I also think that that was a very good way for the researchers to collect data and find out the reasons why they threw temper tantrums.

  10. joey says:

    ok i guess

    • Jake says:

      hey check out my new camera POW!!! oh wait this isn’t a camera $#@%! wast of money (it was a pistol and he killed someone)

  11. tasha says:

    who is the author ?



  13. Anonymous says:

    I Think Kids Have Tantrums Because There Scared Trying To Get What They Want , But You Hve To Remeber Its Not Always About Whaat They Want And There So Littles Sometimes That We Dont Understand At Some Points , The Reseaches Did A Very Good Job Fiquring Out A Lot Of This About A Toddlers Brain And Wat They Think , Good Job 🙂

  14. willow smith says:

    hahaha that stuff is funny

  15. keyanna says:

    haha lol excactly my sister does it all the tim e and he 8 and talks like a baby lol but got to love my sis

    • I am a boss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! says:

      Yay 16th comment!

  16. Diana says:

    I throw a fit all the time!:{D

  17. ashley says:

    this sucks

  18. ashley says:


  19. james breh says:


  20. purple says:


  21. Marcus says:

    YES AND NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. #1Directioner says:

    Jezzzzzzzzzzz! Toddlers and Tiaras Here she comes!!!!!!!