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2-Year-Olds and Temper Tantrums

by
author image Melissa McNamara
Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.
 2-Year-Olds and Temper Tantrums
Temper tantrums can happen without warning. Photo Credit AOtzen/iStock/Getty Images

Stomping, kicking, biting, scratching, pinching, screaming and throwing are all characteristics of a two-year-old’s temper tantrum. Toddlers are prone to uncontrollable outbursts at this age, so your toddler is not purposely acting out to make you angry. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take during tantrums to calm down your youngster and minimize future outbursts.

He's Just Frustrated

A toddler’s brain is still developing, so they’re unable to control impulses, which results in a fit of rage over minor occurrences. Two-year-olds mainly throw temper tantrums because of frustration. Toddlers have a limited vocabulary and the vocabulary they do know is not always easy to understand, which can add to the frustration. In addition, toddlers are always testing their limits as they learn about the world around them, so it makes them angry when restrictions are placed on their actions and curiosities. Your toddler may also be expressing hunger, thirst and boredom through means of a tantrum, but these are only a few possible causes of a tantrum. Tantrums are your two-year-olds only way to deal with emotional impulses.

When the Storm Comes

Tantrums come with being a two-year-old, so no amount of punishment will stop a tantrum. In fact, if you yell or show anger, the tantrum is likely to get worse. No matter how bad the scene gets, you can never give in to your child’s demands. Ignore the tantrum as much as possible, but if it escalates, remove your child from the situation that is causing his frustration. Wait for your child to calm down, but if this doesn’t happen, take your child home. A timeout can sometimes help your youngster calm down but you can also try picking him up and holding him close to help him relax. Once the tantrum is over, talk to your toddler about what happened.

Tread Gently

Do not yell, threaten or walk away from your toddler during a temper tantrum. No matter how frustrated you get from your toddler’s tantrum, never resort to hitting. Walking out of the room can make your toddler feel abandoned and worsen their emotional outburst. The overwhelming emotions that come with a tantrum can be frightening to your toddler, so it’s important he knows you’re there for him during the ordeal. Avoid tantrum triggers, such as going near the toy aisle of a store or running errands when your toddler will be hungry or tired.

Things to Consider

Give your child choices as often as possible and give praise for choices. Let your toddler choose the type of veggie he wants for supper or choose the shirt he wants to wear to daycare and try to ease up on the amount of times you say no by picking your battles. Toddlers should have a large amount of emotions from very happy to raging, but if your toddler tends to be throwing tantrums most of the time or is persistently sad, consult your pediatrician since there may be an underlying problem.

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