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Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Children's Health Channel
Reported December 21, 2012

The Power of Language


(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Temper tantrums are common when a child hits their “terrible twos”, but as they enter preschool parents try to teach them self-control by using their words instead.  A recent study has announced that toddlers with more developed language skills are able to manage frustration better and are less likely to express anger by the time they enter preschool.
Researchers wanted to determine whether developing language skills relates to developing anger control.  They looked at 120 children who live above the poverty line, but below middle income from when they were 18 months old to 48 months.  They observed the children’s language and ability to cope with frustrating tasks. 
In one task, children were asked to wait 8 minutes before opening a gift while their mom finished work.  Researchers observed that children used certain strategies, such as, seeking support from their mom (“Mom, are you done yet?”) and distracting themselves from the gift (like making up a story).  
Children who had better language skills as toddlers expressed less anger at age of 4.  Children whose language developed more rapidly were more likely to calmly seek their mother’s support while waiting when they were 3 and they were more capable of occupying themselves when they were 4, which helped them tolerate the wait.
"Better language skills may help children verbalize rather than use emotions to convey needs and use their imaginations to occupy themselves while enduring a frustrating wait," study author, Pamela M. Cole, liberal arts research professor of psychology and human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University, was quoted as saying.
Source: Child Development, December 2012
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