When we wake up in the morning, we aren’t thinking, “Hey, I’d love to pay the bills today!” Same thing with toddlers. They aren’t consciously thinking, “Hey, I’m gonna scream for 20 minutes today to get my way!”
But just like paying the bills is our job, throwing a tantrum is a toddler’s job. They have to do it. So we can wake up hoping that maybe today, they won’t tantrum, but that would be like waking up and hoping that maybe we won’t have to pay the bills.
Don’t dread the tantrums, and don’t get angry either. I would love to see someone getting angry at the bank because we have to pay our mortgage (people do, by the way). But it doesn’t make sense.
We want to get so angry when they start to tantrum. We want to yell and scream back and we want to tell them to stop. But it is their job to do tantrum, so let them do it and just be there for them when they are done.
So WHY do toddlers tantrum. Why is this something that every child does? When kids are born, they aren’t given instructions for what is allowed and how things work. So they are constantly trying to find out that information. They want to know if it is OK to stay up and not go to sleep. They trying to figure out, “Am I allowed to pull the cat’s hair?” and “Should I throw this bowl across the room?” The answer may sometimes be yes, but more often than not, the answer is no. So then they tantrum and cry and that is ok!
I was watching a family in the library last weekend and they had a toddler and the mom kept saying that it was time to go. Every single time that she tried to get him away from the trains, the smallest whine and the first little twinklings of a tantrum would appear. The mom would immediately back off and let him play more. She forgot that the kid’s job is to tantrum. She was trying to avoid him doing his job and therefore, he was learning that all he has to do is tantrum a little bit more and he’ll get to stay even longer next time. Let them tantrum! It’s OK!