Researchers are studying the science behind the classic kid meltdown, the tantrum. They found tantrums follow a pattern of stages. Being aware of them may help parents react accordingly.
Scientists say no matter how long a tantrum lasts or how often it happens, it follows three phases. The pattern is described in a new study published in the journal Emotion.
Phase one: the child begins yelling and screaming. Then the downward spiral begins.
Phase two: the child becomes physical and throws things.
Phase three: crying and whining. This is the sadness phase.
Researchers say the trick to dealing with tantrums is to get the child past the anger when they're throwing their toys and get to the sadness because, when children are sad, they're ready to reach out for comfort.
So how do you get past the anger? Scientists say do absolutely nothing.
"It's a lot easier said than done in the real moment,” said psychiatrist and mother Dr. Lisa Giles.