Here’s What You Should Know About Temper Tantrums

Every parent dreads the moment when their child throws a temper tantrum. It can be quite distressing for both you and your little one. It particularly seems like a nightmare when you’re out in public and it feels like everyone is judging your parenting skills. Don’t get caught up in that thinking — it won’t help any. When it comes to dealing with tantrums, knowing what they are and being prepared with multiple responses when they occur is your best bet.

The first thing to understand about temper tantrums is that they are perfectly normal. Don’t let parenting guilt lead you to assume it’s your fault. The following post from one of the leading healthcare systems in America explains the basics:

Temper Tantrums

What are temper tantrums?

Temper tantrums are a way a young child lets out strong emotions before he or she is able to express them in socially acceptable ways. Although a child may seem totally out of control, these fits of rage, stomping, screaming, and throwing himself or herself to the floor are a normal part of childhood development. Temper tantrums often happen only with a parent. They are a way a child communicates his or her feelings. Parents can learn from their child by understanding the situation that caused the temper tantrum to erupt.

Temper tantrums often begin at about 1 year of age and continue until age 2 to 3. They begin to diminish as a child becomes more able to communicate his or her wants and needs.

The fact that your child melts down only when they are with you can be quite distressing. It can even make you doubt your abilities as a parent. However, as the experts note, this is a typical component of tantrum behavior so don’t let it undermine your confidence.


Some fathers feel like dealing with a tantrum is beyond their skill level, but of course it isn’t. It just takes patience, knowledge and the right approach. Here’s some good information and advice from a dad’s perspective, courtesy of Fatherly:

Meltdown Mechanics

It turns out that a tantrum doesn’t just explode in red-faced anger and dwindle (seemingly an infinity later) into gulping sadness. Researchers who recently looked into the anatomy of a tantrum discovered that conventional understanding was flawed. A tantrum is actually a bit more complex. Sadness persists throughout with punctuations of angry behavior.

That anger? Not easy to deal with. The sadness, though, can be tackled with kindness. Which gives you a hint as to what you might want to be doing. No. Not tackling.

Why Tantrums Happen

Your kid might turn into a real life Munch painting for literally any reason under the sun. But there are a couple of things that might prime the pump. The biggies? Sudden, unexpected schedule changes, parental stress, and not knowing your expectations for the situation. Read more at Fatherly…

It helps when you understand that tantrums are not calculated — they are triggered. This helps clarify two key points: 1) Your child isn’t actively plotting to ruin your day when they meltdown; and 2) To some extent, tantrums can be avoided or managed.

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Okay, now that we’ve taken a detailed look at what temper tantrums are, let’s move on to the part you’ve been waiting for: How should you respond when a tantrum occurs? The following post offers some great tips on ways you can take control of the situation and not lose your cool:

11 Ways to Stop Temper Tantrums in Their Tracks

Identify the trigger

Global parenting expert, Jo Frost explains that there are about eight to 10 common triggers that set most toddlers off on a tantrum, including under/over stimulation, being tired, blood sugar levels, craving independence, fear/anxiety, sensitivity, wanting to get their own way, being forced to share, and “just because.” Once you figure out what your child’s trigger is, it’s easier to try to talk to your child and to be prepared when entering situations where they might arise (i.e. toy store, restaurant, etc.). Read more at Readers Digest…

The best way to handle temper tantrums is to make them a learning experience for both you and your child. Remember that they can be opportunities to understand your child better and grow as a parent.

The transition from staying at home to beginning preschool can feel overwhelming for some children. As you’ve read, anxiety and major schedule changes are common triggers for tantrums. Prepare for the possibility of a fit when the time comes. If you’ve chosen a great program, you can take comfort in knowing that your child’s needs will be met in a loving and playful environment that will quickly reset their emotions.

Spanish for fun! is committed to giving your child a learning experience that they will love and look forward to each day. In our Spanish immersion preschool at Wake Forest NC, your child will receive the emotional benefits of being in a nurturing environment along with the educational benefits of learning a second language.