A two-year-old’s temper tantrum can be a frightening thing to witness. He may throw himself on the ground, kicking and thrashing; shriek and sob for something he cannot have; and wring his hands or rhythmically tug on a piece of clothing.
Not surprisingly, most temper tantrums occur in public places, where the pressure on your child to control her behavior is the most intense. Whether you are in the grocery store, at a restaurant, or at church when a tantrum strikes, you are likely to get disapproving stares from adults who think you should do something to control your child.
Recognize that temper tantrums are a normal, healthy, necessary release for toddlers and that you can do nothing to control them. Young children lack the verbal skills or cognitive awareness to interpret the powerful emotions they feel, and sometimes fear, anger, or frustration explode in a very physical way. A no-holds-barred tantrum can be very cleansing to a child, who will usually emerge calm and renewed.
A tantrum is as overwhelming to the child experiencing it as it is to the adults witnessing it. The best thing you can do for your child when she is in the midst of a full-blown tantrum is to stand by quietly and give her the time and space to work out her rage. If you are in a public place, you may have to remove her to a place where she won’t disturb others. Instead of shutting her in a room by herself, stay with her until her fury subsides, so that she can climb onto your lap, be comforted, and then get on with the business of learning about the world in a trusting, open way.
For more ideas on how to cope with Temper Tantrums, see Amy Wright Glenn’s article, Help for Tantrums
About Peggy O’Mara. I am an independent journalist who edits and publishes peggyomara.com. I was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine for over 30 years and founded Mothering.com in 1995. My books include Having a Baby Naturally, Natural Family Living, The Way Back Homeand A Quiet Place. Ihave conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League, and Bioneers. I am the mother of four and grandmother of three. Please check out my email newsletter with free tips on parenting, activism, and healthy living.