Your tot’s temper tantrums are normal, which is a good piece of information to know. And even more helpful, a recent podcast on the anatomy of a temper tantrum provides information on what you can do to make things better.

On this week’s Stuff You Should Know podcast (http://www.stuffyoushouldknow.com/podcasts/how-temper-tantrums-work), hosts Josh and Chuck discussed how to recognize the physical symptoms.

And they did a great service to people who love toddlers by helping adults understand the behavior, and where it comes from.

But the real magic came when they provided advice on how we — the rational ones — should respond to such behavior.

They pointed out that our response to tantrums can make the situation better, or far worse.

Here are a few pieces of advice — along with some information on how this advice parallels the Five Maxims of Treating People with Dignity by Showing them Respect.

  • Be consistent — Temper tantrums come from fear of unpredictability.
  • Make the child feel empowered — Distract them from their meltdown with choice: Duck boots or cowboy boots? (Maxim 4: Offer options rather than threats).
  • Stay calm (Maxim 1: Listen with all your senses)Ignore it: Experts say that kids will quit sooner if they’re not getting attention. Of course, make sure they are not being not harmful to themselves or others.
  • Don’t reprimand during or directly after; they can’t help it or understand why they’re reacting the way they are.
  • When things calm down, take time to explain what went wrong and what they didn’t do (Maxim 5: Give them a second chance).

Successful interactions with others depends so much on our personal response — regardless of whether we are interacting with toddlers, middle schoolers or other adults.

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