It’s most parents’ nightmare. You’re out in public with your tot when all of a sudden that little face goes beet red, the fists ball up and the feet start kicking. Before you know it, they’re wailing up a storm and everyone is looking. At you. At your kid. And wondering what the heck the problem is all while judging your parenting skills.
Temper tantrums are the bane of plenty of parents’ existences, believe us. And if you happen to have a kid that doesn’t throw quite so many, well we’re plenty jealous of you. But here’s some good news: an in-depth study says there may be hope for parents of those little darlings who throw tantrums.
According to findings from the Pennsylvania State University, children who have developed better verbal communication skills earlier on in life are less likely to throw fits over not getting their way. The reason? They’re better able to express their frustrations and desires to the adults in the equation.
Sure, it sounds simple enough, and even better, there is actual science behind it all.
The study researcher, Pamela Cole, reveals that they looked at 120 kids between two and four years old. Each kid was tested for his or her language skills and how they deal with frustrating situations in both home and lab situations.
The study doesn’t reveal the exact numbers involved, but leans towards the theory that those children who knew how to “use their words” were less likely to act out. For example, kids that were given a present and told they had to wait eight minutes for their mom to finish working before they could open it fell into two categories: those who made a fuss, and those who talked their way into distraction by asking the mom if she was done yet or musing to themselves what the gift could possibly be.
As an added bonus, the older the child got the less likely he or she was to act out, suggesting that using your words is indeed something that can be taught. So how does a frazzled parent go about that instruction?
One suggestion is to allow toddlers to speak as much as they want without criticizing them. Reading books every night and singing/listening to music is also a good way to tune up on those language skills.
Even more importantly, though? If you’re staring down your toddler ahead of what will inevitably be another temper tantrum, take some deep breaths and try to use your words yourself. Because most parents have been there, and we’ve got your back.