top of page

Understanding and Dealing with Tantrums


After a lengthy absence, I am returning to Education with Grandma with a new sense of direction. It feels like many of us are experiencing a frightening world with increased anger and despair. With that concern in mind, I will begin by dealing with a child’s tantrums. A close fit will follow with posts focused on managing a child’s anger. Feedback will be appreciated.

To make reading easier, I will often use the female gender. That does not indicate a preference on my part. I am simply avoiding the clumsy his/her writing issues.


Sometime between the first and fourth year, your sweet baby may melt into a puddle of uncontrolled chaos. Throwing herself on the floor with her back arched, legs kicking, and fists pounding while screaming nonstop, you may wonder, “What happened to our sweet little child?” Whether considering a baby tantrum or an adolescent one, paying attention to her behaviors will determine the ways you react. Two major types of tantrums may be witnessed: manipulative and temperamental. Both will be described below.

A manipulative tantrum is contrived for the purpose of getting her way. To have a manipulative tantrum, she must be mature enough to believe she can trick you into giving in to her behavior. Babies do not begin with this kind of tantrum. However, if you give in, even some of the time, she will quickly choose this powerful method of getting what she thinks she wants.

If you suspect a child is engaging in a manipulative tantrum, you may decide to move a short distance away. Although a manipulative tantrum is usually less intense than a temperamental one, you still need to be close enough to monitor and make certain the child does not hurt herself or break things.

How do you differentiate a temperament tantrum from a manipulative one? Notice what happens if you move a short distance away. If she picks herself up, follows you to a new location, and starts the tantrum again, you will know that she is attempting to pressure you into giving her what she wants. Remind yourself, She is trying to get her way, and I cannot reward this negative behavior by giving in to her. The only exception is if you decide you were being unrealistic in the first place. If you know you were being unreasonable, admit your mistake.


bottom of page