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 (, 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.

Vistelar Group –