All toddlers throw tantrums. This is just how it is. Ages two and three (and four and older) can be some of the most difficult years of parenting because you are constantly dealing with your child’s seemingly sudden outbursts in the most inconvenient of locations, like the grocery store.
When dealing with your toddler’s tantrums, your goal shouldn’t be to stop your child from having tantrums. Tantrums are inevitable and a developmental part of a child’s growth. But you can work to curb your child’s tantrums so they don’t last as long, and you can get back to your grocery shopping, conversation, or road trip without your child derailing all of your plans.
The first step in curbing your child’s temper tantrums is to understand why she has tantrums in the first place. (Hint: It’s not about what she’s reacting to in the moment.) Generally, there are three reasons.
Reason #1: Control
As your child gets older, she starts to crave control. Perhaps you can relate? We all want control. It makes us feel safe and capable. A toddler wanting control can look like her wanting to tie her own shoes, feed herself, or not do what you tell her to do. When she sees she doesn’t have control, she loses it emotionally and physically.
Reason #2: Personality
Some children are just more prone to tantrums because they have strong personalities. They are bull-headed, energetic, or strong-willed by nature. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I love kids with these types of personalities because they are the ones who are going to change the world someday. But these personalities in the body of a two- or three-year-old, rather than in the Oval Office, can be very difficult. Know that if your child has these personality proclivities, he will probably have more difficult temper tantrums or will have them more frequently.