Understanding the Tantrum
Understanding the Tantrum
By: Cynthia Martinez, LMFT
We’ve all seen it, the four-year-old having a tantrum at the store and the parent raising their voice, making threats, rolling their eyes, or name calling their child. “He/she knows better and is just a spoiled brat.” I’ve heard phrases like this time and time again by parents. The idea that a child should be able to control their negative emotions and not act out on them.
However, research about the brain says otherwise. In simple terms, there are two basic parts of the brain, the upper brain and the lower brain. The lower part of the brain is the more primitive part of the brain that is responsible for the fight, flight, or freeze response or “just reacts” without thinking things through. While the upper part of the brain is responsible for controlling impulses, planning, and decision making.
Children’s upper part of the brain is underdeveloped and does not reach full development until mid-20s. When a child is having a tantrum the lower part of their brain is firing. When a parent reacts with negativity such as in the example above, the lower part of the brain views this as an attack and is further activated. In other words, it just makes the situation worse.
So what can a parent do to help trigger the upper part of the brain that’s needed to help calm the child? Remain calm, provide unconditional positive regard, and give validation. Research has shown that the upper part of the brain fires simply by labeling an emotion. So instead of saying, “You’re such a brat, get it together!” a better response is, “It looks like you’re mad and disappointed, you really wanted that toy.” Followed by helping the child calm down with the use of redirection or relaxation skills.
Activating a child’s upper brain, not only makes the current situation likely better, but helps increase the child’s emotional regulation. This is a vital skill that helps children better handle difficult emotions later on in life and in adulthood.
Written By: Cynthia Martinez, M.S., LMFT
Hi i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anyplace, when i read this paragraph i thought
i could also create comment due to this brilliant post.
It’s truly very complicated in this busy life to listen news on TV,thus I just use internet
for that purpose, and obtain the latest news.
Your method of telling the whole thing in this article is in fact pleasant,
every one be able to easily know it, Thanks a lot.
Hey there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a
quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading your blog posts.
Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects?
If you would like to grow your familiarity simply keep visiting thisweb page and be updated with the most recent news posted here.