Why Your Toddler Throws Tantrums and What to Do About Them

All toddlers throw tantrums, but they don't have to derail your errands, conversations, or road trips.
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Last Updated
April 22, 2019
posted on
October 1, 2021
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5 minutes
Minute Read

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.

Reason # 3: Tension in the Home

If you are living in a home with a lot of stress or turmoil, your toddler will feel it. But she won’t understand it. The tension in the home upsets her and makes her temper tantrums worse. We often think that toddlers don’t know what’s going on around them but don’t kid yourself. They are emotional sponges. They see and feel everything. Tension in the home will cause her to feel on edge and she will explode more intensely when a tantrum comes. 

So, now that you understand why your child throws tantrums, what can you do about it? There are a few things, seven to be exact.

Because I hear from parents of toddlers so often who are exhausted by their child’s tantrums, I decided to create an online course all about tackling toddler tantrums, entitled How to Stop Temper Tantrums.

This course provides seven strategies for shortening the longevity of your child’s tantrums so your child’s emotions don’t run your day and you can get back to your life. The seven strategies are...

 

1. Tell yourself it isn’t about you.

2. Belly breathe for three minutes.

3. Leave the room.

4. Don’t speak.

5. Don’t tell your child to stop.

6. Know that this will pass.

7. Hold on.

I go into detail for all of these in the course, which includes a short eBook as well as instructional videos to talk you through your child’s tantrums.

Click here to download the course today.

Tantrums are inevitable in toddlers, but no parent needs to live with perpetual tantrum-throwing. Download my course today and start learning how you can apply my seven strategies to curb your child’s tantrums for good.

Dr. Meg Meeker, MD

Practicing pediatrician, parent, grandparent, coach, speaker, and author. Say hello @MegMeekerMD

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