Behaviour

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Study investigates childrens' temper tantrums

tantrum
ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ
NOT HAPPY: A youngster throws a tantrum, to the dismay of his mother.

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Managing a child’s tantrums could be as simple as helping them make sense of what they are feeling.

Researchers at Victoria University’s School of Psychology want to find out how young children make sense of the emotions they are feeling and whether they are able to manage them as as result.

They hope this can help reduce disruptive behaviour.

The three-year, trans-Tasman project will examine whether children with problem behaviours understand what they are feeling the same way as children who are well-behaved.

One of the project leaders in Wellington, Clare-Ann Fortune said childhood behaviour problems had the potential to cause difficulties for children later in life.

Dr Fortune said the study could potentially reveal ways of reducing difficulties by analysing children’s knowledge about emotions.

The researchers are also running a six-week programme to help parents with the skills needed to manage badly behaved children. The programme will be available to those parents participating in the research.

There are 20 participants so far but researchers want to reach 50.

Research is taking place through Victoria University and Australian National University, and is funded by the Australian Research Council.

Those interested in taking part can email positive-parenting@vuw.ac.nz to register interest.

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- The Dominion Post

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