Toddler Temper Tantrum - Raising good humans

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

A toddler temper tantrum isn't something fun to deal with and, as a mom having to coordinate thousands of things in a day, it can get frustrating. It takes a whole world of patience to turn tantrums in moments to deeply connect and develop a bond of trust with the little ones.

Once they absorb the need of communication and start using their own words, that moment of silence and negotiation can be totally accomplished and love can be found in every moment!

The reality is "not everyone is on our shoes" and it's easier for many to believe that tantrums are a sign of bad parenting... The truth is that toddlers are still learning how to experience life and regulating their emotions. Let's admit there are times we, as grown ups, deal with unwanted situations and we would like to throw a tantrum on that event...


Well... I guess we have been through this phase of learning process and have reached maturity. With deep breaths and taking one day a time, our kids will graduate from tantrums one day.

It might take years! or at least 18, 20, late 20s! for a particular area of the brain to finish wiring up. That's why it's difficult for kids and many people to control their emotions, calm themselves, embrace societal norms and resist impulses. There is absolutely nothing to do with parenting.

So... how can I avoid, help or stop tantrums?

A quick tip is, once we accept that tantrums are totally normal and common stage of brain development, we can try to avoid common triggers, for example: if tantrums happen every time you go to the grocery store and pass by the toy isle... you can try to coordinate your outings to the supermarket with somebody else and start shopping by yourself or even online. It might take a bit of strategy on your end until your child understands the situation better and those episodes won't repeat in the store. Trying to find alternative ways to do your shopping is a good way to avoid having to deal with those moments.

If it is not possible and you still have to bring your child along, start by talking to him/her prior to leaving your home and explain that it's not necessary to buy a toy every time we go to the store. We can touch, we can look at it and see what is available on the market but not necessarily purchase it. Try to offer a treat instead. Remember that you are your child's role model. If you lose control and start shouting or getting angry at the situations that bother you it won't help. You need to remember to calm down before things get worse.

Get down onto their level, be calm, offer to help them to calm down, ask for a hug, and stay close by with calming words. Let them cry for a few seconds until they are able to focus or hear again. You will notice when cortisol is getting adjusted again... When the tantrum passes move on with your tasks and day, try to offer something light and fun to repair the connection and bring that little brain in connection with reality again. There is no point dwelling on the tantrum, children are too young for lectures or lengthy explanations.

That's not giving in...

Whenever necessary, change your terminology. Too many refer to comforting a child and showing nurturance and empathy through a tantrum.

At the very beginning it can be very difficult for a child to have the ability to control a tantrum by using their skill of manipulation or planning. Kindness and self control is the key. By responding to your child with compassion when they tantrum you are showing them that you love them unconditionally. You are their support and they can trust you, with all their little hearts and soul, to help them. This is not giving in. It is called great parenting!

If your child still want that something that for whatever reason they can't have, they you simply empathize with them and support them through the tantrum. You don't have to give them the item because of the tantrum and you don't have to yell with them in public places. You should keep your boundaries active. Being responsible does not mean being permissive.

It's not easy for parents

Normally parents who have had a strict childhood by being raised by authoritarian parents who were constantly punishing your actions, putting your on time out when you struggled with your emotions, it's is very likely your subconscious will be triggered by your child's tantrum. Noticing this response is a huge accomplishment and the first step to try to recognize if you feel irrationally angry as well. When you understand yourself and the source of your emotional responsive reaction to a child's tantrum, you become more mindful of your own emotions and find ways to have them under control. You simply can't raise a calm child if you are still throwing your own temper tantrums in front of him/her.

Taking deep breaths, taking some time to reconnect with yourself after your child is sound and safely tucked into bed, practicing mindfulness exercises, journaling, doing something you like, watching a good movie, enjoying quiet and peaceful time while you sip on your favorite drink in the morning really help. You deserve to offload your own big feelings to make space to accommodate your child's feelings as well. The daily dose of stress can fill your cup really fast... this factor combined with your child's tantrum will be the final nail in the coffin and you will add to their exploding emotions with your own dysregulated ones.

Whatever helps you will calm and offload will be a hug help. Rome wasn't built in a single day, so keep reminding yourself over and over again that your child is not doing this on purpose, they feel bad too, they are just struggling with immature brain development. Be an adult and be the light to your child. It takes time when we are going through this type of emotional phase but nothing is permanent and one day this is will be something to remember, as time flies by really fast. Cope with children and their tricky behaviors from babyhood through teen years in a gentle and effective way.

La Dolce Vita Photography by Layne Fernandes

Newborn, Maternity, Milestones, Family, Parenthood, Teens

Denver Photographer, Colorado, USA.


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