New parents often see other people’s children in a restaurant or a store throwing a temper tantrum. “That will never happen to me” they snicker. Little do they know that temper tantrums are almost inevitable. These intense meltdowns are a regular part of your toddler’s development.
Toddlers throw temper tantrums when they are unable to accurately express themselves. Often, a toddler will experience a strong sense of frustration, anger, sadness, or even joy that he just cannot handle. Part of the reason that toddlers throw tantrums is that they just can’t express these intense feelings through any other methods.
Another reason that toddlers throw temper tantrums is a cry for independence. Toddlers want to be able to do things for themselves. They want to clothe themselves. They want to feed themselves. They want to do a lot of things that their little bodies and growing minds won’t allow them to do. They often become frustrated with their own limitations, and therefore lash out in a temper tantrum.
There are some things that you can do to help avoid temper tantrums. By playing and talking with your child regularly throughout the day, you can help to ward off those outbursts and frustrations. Taking five or ten minutes every couple of hours to really engage your toddler one-on-one can really make a difference. It is also important to establish limits. You need to be clear with your toddler about the rules of your home. By giving them consistent guidelines, they will remember when it is OK and when it is not OK to behave a certain way. Finally, by treating your child with respect and trying to understand what it is that caused a particular tantrum, you will go a long way in shortening that tantrum and avoiding a tantrum of the same cause in the future.
The fact that your toddler has started to throw temper tantrums is not the end of the world. When it is at its worst, try to remind yourself that there is a reason that they call it the terrible twos, and that it will not last forever.