"Tantrums" are normal reactions from kids that almost every parent deals with at some point. They can be frustrating and scary for us, particularly if we do not have the tools to guide our children through them in a healthy way. Understanding where they come from can be endlessly helpful. Tantrums are urgent, overwhelming panic responses in a child's brain.


The valuable and insightful book The Science of Parenting: How today's brain research can help you raise happy, emotionally balanced children by Margot Sunderland states, "A distress tantrum means that one or more of the three alarm systems (rage, fear and/or separation) in your child's lower brain has been very strongly activated. As a result, your child's arousal system will be way out of balance, with too-high levels of stress chemicals searing through his body and brain. Distress tantrums happen because essential brain pathways between a child's higher brain and his lower brain haven't developed yet. These brain pathways are necessary to enable a child to manage his big feelings. As a parent, your role is to soothe your child while he experiences the huge hormonal storms in his brain and body." [1]


Remembering that this is a biological response can help parents approach the situation with compassion rather than frustration. I wanted to title this "10 Tips to Tame a Tantrum" because it's catchy, but I recognize that it could potentially seem dismissive of what a child is going through. The aim is not quite to "tame" them, but rather gently guide them through their feelings. Reading tips like this on a regular basis helps me be the parent I want to be!


Click here to read the 10 tantrum-taming tips!