Reviewed by Kathy Empen on July 03, 2012

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T.Berry Brazelton, MD Developmental Pediatrician

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Video Transcript

Narrator: How should a parent handle a temper tantrum?

T. Berry Brazelton Pediatrician: I'm not a very good one to ask because I nearly killed my first child for having a temper tantrum on the 4th floor of Jordan Marsh Department store. And she just laid down and started screaming and I'd seen some of my patients so I knew they were watching me and so I took off my over coat and wrapped her up real tight and ran down four flights. When I got out into the street and unwrapped her she was blue and I thought oh my Lord, I've killed this kid over a tantrum. So I certainly can identify with the anxiety they produce in an adult.

T. Berry Brazelton (cont.): I was taught by the quintuplets how to handle a temper tantrum. One of the quintuplets on the west coast had a temper tantrum, the other four tried to stop him. One lay down and held his arms and patted his face. Another one threw cold water on him. Another one yelled at him. The fourth one had the answer, she looked at him and she said Scotty and she walked away. And he sat up like, why do you leave me at such an important time and his temper tantrum quit.

T. Berry Brazelton (cont.): So I would say if the child is safe, leave it to the child. Cause temper tantrums usually occur when a child is conflicted and doesn't know whether to do this or that, or go in or out, and they're normal.