Why Do Some Children Have Such Huge Tantrums?

Updated: Jul 1

And others seem to have none...


This comes back to the old Nature/Nurture debate. Given the chance, all children would have tantrums, but some simply aren't allowed to. And the way we react when our children have tantrums will determine how often they have them and how big they are.


Firstly, it is really important to understand that tantrums are a very natural way for small people to express their BIG EMOTIONS.


Before they learn to communicate with words, they communicate with their voices and facial expressions. They cry, laugh, squeak and babble. Because their brains are developing at such great speed, they quickly learn what sounds and behaviour gets the quickest and most positive response.


By the time most babies reach 18 months, they have learnt how to communicate pretty effectively, without words, and know how to get their desires met. By the time most parents have an 18 month old baby, they start to realise that their baby is becoming a toddler and doesn't need to be responded to in the same way as a little baby. Unfortunately, the toddler is used to having their wishes fulfilled and they can get angry when they aren't. This expression of dissatisfaction can be big, loud and pretty dramatic.




Tantrums are developmental. They are part of a learning process. They are a response to not getting what we want. And often, when parents see that their child is unhappy with a decision, they will do something to make their child happy again, rather than letting them feel and express sadness and anger. This kind of behaviour then teaches children that if they start to feel angry, something positive will happen.


Alternatively, some children are allowed to have their tantrums and express themselves for a while before being distracted or offered an alternative that will make them happy. These children learn that kicking off will get a positive outcome. On the occasions that their parents dig their heals in, the child will pull out all stops and give them an even bigger tantrum.


The solution?

When a child has big feelings, let them have the big feelings. Acknowledge how they are feeling, accept that they are feeling that way and be supportive while they let their feeling out. Feeling cross and sad isn't damaging, providing they are not left alone to do so.


Over time, and with a little maturity, most children learn to regulate their emotions - BUT ONLY IF THEY ARE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITIES TO!


If your child is having tantrums and you need a bit more guidance or a plan to follow, give me a call on 07977 462252!


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