Posts Tagged ‘ tantrums ’

Kindergartner Handcuffed and Taken to Police Station After Violent Outburst

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Six-year-old Salecia Johson a kindergarten student at Creekside Elementary School in Milledgeville, Georgia, was placed in handcuffs and taken to the police station after an outburst in which she threw furniture, overturned a bookshelf, and tore items off of the walls.  The bookshelf allegedly injured the school’s principal. has more:

Police defended their actions during the incident which occurred last Friday at Creekside Elementary School in Milledgeville, Ga.

“Our policy states that any detainee transported to our station in a patrol vehicle is to be handcuffed in the back. There is no age discrimination on that rule,” Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord told WMAZ-TV.

The family on Tuesday demanded that the city change its policy, the Associated Press reported, and claimed the girl was shaken up while at the police station.

Johnson was charged with assault and damage to property, WMAZ-TV reported, but she will not have to go to court because of her age.

Johnson’s mother, Constance Ruff, says her daughter was suspended until the start of the next school year.

“She has mood swings some days, which all of us have mood swings some days,” she told WMAZ-TV. “I guess that was just one of her bad days.”

Image: Handcuffs, via Shutterstock.

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Researchers Explore the Science of Temper Tantrums

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

In a groundbreaking new study published in the journal Emotion, scientists studied high-quality audio recordings of over 100 toddlers having temper tantrums, and discovered that the emotional outbursts familiar to every parent actually have predictable rhythms and patterns that, when properly understood, can help parents, teachers, and caregivers tell the difference between a “normal” tantrum, and a sign of an emotional or behavioral disorder.


The scientists then analyzed the audio. They found that different tantrum sounds had very distinct audio signatures. When the sounds were laid down on a graph, the researchers found that different sounds emerged and faded in a definite pattern. Unsurprisingly, sounds like yelling and screaming usually came together.

“Screaming and yelling and kicking often go together,” Potegal said. “Throwing things and pulling and pushing things tend to go together. Combinations of crying, whining, falling to the floor and seeking comfort — and these also hang together.”

But where one age-old theory of tantrums might suggest that meltdowns begin in anger (yells and screams) and end in sadness (cries and whimpers), Potegal found that the two emotions were more deeply intertwined.

“The impression that tantrums have two stages is incorrect,” Potegal said. “In fact, the anger and the sadness are more or less simultaneous.”

Green and Potegal found that sad sounds tended to occur throughout tantrums. Superimposed on them were sharp peaks of yelling and screaming: anger.

The trick in getting a tantrum to end as soon as possible, Potegal said, was to get the child past the peaks of anger. Once the child was past being angry, what was left was sadness, and sad children reach out for comfort. The quickest way past the anger, the scientists said, was to do nothing. Of course, that isn’t easy for parents or caregivers to do.

Image: Toddler having a tantrum, via Shutterstock.

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Doctors Debate ‘Temper’ Disorder Name, Relevance

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Doctors and mental health professionals are deep in debate over whether a new named disorder for children with severe temper tantrums should be included in the new version of the mental health diagnostic reference manual.

Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, or DMDD, would be diagnosed in children 6 years old or older if they suffer from severe irritability and uncontrollable outbursts–far beyond the  “temper tantrums” that every child experiences at some point in normal development.

The Los Angeles Times reports that some proponents of the new diagnosis say it could help reduce the number of bipolar disorder diagnoses made–and medications prescribed–in children who might be able to be managed differently under a DMDD diagnosis.

Opponents, including pediatrician Dr. Claudia Gold, argue that the new label could do just the opposite, leading to more psychiatric prescriptions, not fewer.

“DMDD is being created as a new diagnosis to stem the rising tide of diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children. But I fear that this label will have the same fate, as clinicians feel helpless in the face of these troubled young families,” Gold writes on

The new diagnostic reference volume, the DSM-5, will be published in May of 2013.

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