Tantrums: why does the child throw them?

May 3, 2024

In today’s article, we discuss an always hot topic: baby tantrums.

Children know how to tear us smiles, hugs, and caresses, but let’s face it: being a parent is not easy.

While we experience moments of joy and satisfaction, frustration and anger can take over.

Learning how to handle the child and communicate with him in the right mode is not easy. As the child grows, the modes change to suit the child’s age.

At two years old our communication will be simple and brief, as our child grows we can use more and more articulate and specific language.

What most drives the parent crazy, however, are the so-called toddler tantrums.

What does it mean to throw a tantrum?

With the term tantrum, we go to identify a child’s behavior that we are unable to handle and that the child manifests through:

Before understanding how to behave in these situations, one must learn to understand why the child behaves in this way.

Children, at least young children, cannot yet control their emotions and do not know how to recognize and manage them.

This emotional immaturity often causes them to explode into uncontrollable behavior, while linguistic immaturity does not give them the tools to communicate accurately.

This explosive mix soon results in fights, misunderstandings, and children’s tantrums.


Is there an age when the first tantrums begin?

Actually, if we want to consider tantrums as something that exists and not just a way of communicating discomfort, we could identify 2 years old as a standard period when this kind of behavior explodes.

Right around the age of two, the child increasingly seeks both physical and mental independence, and limits imposed by the parent become a challenge.

We speak of the “terrible two years” to define precisely the beginning of the child’s rebellion.

A tantrum is defined by our vocabulary this way:

“extravagant or bizarre want or idea, of children: to throw a tantrum, to throw a tantrum.”

Now entering common parlance, a child tantrum indicates behavior that the parent fails to understand and manage of the child.

No one, after all, teaches us how to parent, and most of our behaviors are improvised or inferred from evening readings–for those who still have the time and inclination to read!

When the child starts “not listening”

Children quickly learn how to manipulate us and in many cases, they do not even realize it, especially when they are young. That’s the period of self-centeredness, it’s perfectly normal.

Knowing our reactions they behave differently with one parent than with the other because they know how to get something from mom or dad.

You have surely happened to go to the supermarket with your child and pass by the candy or toy department and hear various requests from your child

“Mom, Mom will you get me that red car? Come on, come on!”


“Daddy I want chocolate!”

At that very moment, you know full well that he will raise hell to get what he wants. This usually results in 4 types of reactions:

The parent grants the child the requested object;

Mom or dad resists and denies the requested object only to relent 10 minutes later to avoid the embarrassment of those watching the situation;

The parent yells louder than the child, scolds the child and grounds the child, then yanks the child out of the supermarket with the promise that he or she will never bring it again;

The parent adopts modes of interaction that he or she has been applying for some time now that lead the child to calm down to avoid the embarrassment of outside judgment;

I don’t know which of these parents you are, but surely you must think it would be nice to avoid falling into these tantrums every time.

When children throw tantrums what should be done?

It would be nice to be in charge of the situation and know exactly what to do not only to handle this situation but also to prevent it from happening again.

Educating and raising children requires consistency and cohesion first of all.

Mom and Dad must be consistent and always aligned, with only one educational mode: you cannot tell children that the television must be turned off an hour before bedtime and then, at the child’s first cry, the television stays on.

There must be strong cohesion between mom and dad: it would be useless for mom to always say no and dad to always say yes – or vice versa – in the same situations.

Both must lean toward yes or no in the same way.

Being able to apply even these two pieces of advice is not easy, but doing so will radically change the interactions within your family.

Realizing that there are no courses that prepare the parent to manage and understand children’s tantrums, we have created a video course and guide, with all the best tips for dealing with this delicate phase of your child’s growth to prevent the terrible two years also becoming the terrible three, four…

We are with you.

Certain that being a parent is not easy, we want to be there for you and give you all the tools you need to feel better and comfortable in your parenting role. We support you on this journey with guides, courses, and personalized counseling.

Remember, on this journey, you will not be alone, we’re with you.


  1. What are toddler tantrums?

    Toddler tantrums refer to challenging behaviors exhibited by young children, including screaming, crying, defiance, and aggression, often triggered by emotional immaturity and difficulty in communication.

  2. At what age do tantrums typically begin?

    Tantrums, as distinct behaviors, usually emerge around the age of two, often termed the “terrible twos.” This period coincides with a child’s increasing desire for independence and the testing of parental boundaries.

  3. How can I recognize a tantrum?

    Tantrums are characterized by extravagant or bizarre behavior in children, often manifested through actions like screaming, crying, refusing to listen, or displaying aggression.

  4. What causes toddler tantrums?

    Tantrums stem from emotional immaturity and the inability of young children to regulate their emotions effectively. Additionally, linguistic immaturity may hinder their ability to communicate their needs clearly, leading to frustration.

  5. How should I respond to toddler tantrums?

    Responding to tantrums requires consistency and alignment between caregivers. It’s crucial to remain calm and provide a supportive environment while setting clear boundaries. Avoid giving in to unreasonable demands or resorting to punitive measures.

  6. How can I prevent tantrums from occurring?

    Establishing consistent routines, offering choices within limits, and fostering open communication can help prevent tantrums. Additionally, understanding and addressing the underlying triggers of tantrums, such as hunger, fatigue, or overstimulation, can be beneficial.


Sisterhen LL, Wy PAW. Temper Tantrums. [Updated 2023 Feb 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK544286/

About the Author

Claudia Denti

Claudia Denti is the founder of Genitore Informato and Parentalife.