Temper Tantrums in Toddlers and Young Children

When your toddler tantrums what should you do? Experts say try to stay calm, and remind yourself that this too will pass!

Terrible or terrific. However you look at it, one thing is certain and that is two year olds are a challenge. It’s an extraordinary time in a child’s life, and in a parent’s. Suddenly it seems your baby has grown up with a mind of his own and a will that is increasingly determined. For the toddler, this can be an overwhelming period in life says child psychotherapist, Rosalind Kindler. “Two year olds must accomplish many things such as speech, nursery school and even becoming an older sibling,” explains Kindler. “A two year old takes in more and learn more things than at any other period in his life.”

With all of the feats that two year olds need to accomplish, it’s no wonder that they sometimes lose control and have a temper tantrum. But sometimes parents can help toddlers avoid having a tantrum in the first place by figuring out just what is upsetting them and then helping them cope. Infant psychiatrist Dr. Peter Sutton elaborates. “They become aware that other people, bigger people can do things that they themselves cannot do. These things may be very difficult for them to do, none the less they try to do them and become angry when they can’t accomplish these tasks,” explains Sutton who adds, “if a parent tries to help them they’ll get angry because then they are being shown that they can’t do something themselves.”

Kindler says “having a temper tantrum is a very unhappy thing to a two year old. When they get to that point of losing it, it’s really a way of them saying “please hold me together.” The best thing for poor distraught parents to do is to stay calm and let the child know they’re there. Parents may feel better knowing that the child isn’t doing anything to them, rather he is struggling with inner turmoil that he just doesn’t know what to do with. It ends up in a tantrum.”


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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