Are more adults throwing temper tantrums these days? A psychologist weighs in

Morning News

SAN DIEGO — From unruly airline passengers to confrontations endured by restaurant workers, you’ve probably heard of at least a handful of incidents involving apparent bad behavior by adults as of late.

“A lot of people are angry. Some surveys show, this year already, 746 FAA investigations into dangerous airline behavior — 149 last year. So a 700% increase,” Dr. Richard Levak said Monday. “80% of workers have said that someone has blown up on them. So it’s on the rise. People are scared, people are worn out, and so tempers and fuses are short.”

Levak is a clinical psychologist in Del Mar. He joined FOX 5 Monday morning to talk about factors leading up to what he calls adult temper tantrums.

“The reason children have temper tantrums is they don’t have the vocabulary. They don’t have the ability to be able to identify feelings — ‘Mom I’m very frustrated with you. You hurt my feelings. Yesterday I was scared.’ Kids can’t really do that very well. So these emotions well up and they tantrum.”

Levak said with the coronavirus pandemic and the return to a heightened level of caution because of the delta variant, there are a lot of adults right now who feel stressed, fearful and uncertain about the future. Those feelings can lead a small event to “hijack” them and cause them to lose their cool.

Levak went on to explain in the video above who is most at risk for a blow up, and how adults can check in on their emotions and regulate them in order to avoid a tantrum.

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