Why Tantrums Are Not A ‘Behavioural Issue’


This week my daughter and I have been home suffering with a bad cold, so I haven’t felt like writing much. In the meantime I’ve been really enjoying getting into the world of blogging, and reading blogs from other parents and joining in link-ups that I’ve been discovering via twitter.

On the #BloggersClubUK link-up I came across this post Made To Feel Like A Failing Mother which really shocked me.

A mother took her son to a local singing group at a children’s centre. He ended up having a massive tantrum, and she left. Later on she was called up by a staff member from the children centre recommending they talk to another woman who worked there to discuss her son’s ‘behavioural issues.’

This is just wrong on so many levels. Tantrums are a completely natural, normal part of healthy child development. Tantrums are not a form of ‘bad behaviour,’ they’re a way of expressing emotion. When they happen in public it can be extremely embarrassing, and we all do our best to deal with them while worrying about what people will think of us!

This mum absolutely did the right thing, she took her son out of the singing class, and stayed with him till he was in a better mood.

Sometimes toddlers can tantrum for a long time, and all we can do is ride out the storm until they pass. This is actually the best thing we can do. To let our children get through their moment of upset, and out the other side. They’ll be in a better mood because we’ve given them the space to have their feelings.

In my post here, I share how listening to children’s crying, and tantrums is actually key to keeping their behaviour on-track.

Sadly, there isn’t a great deal of understanding about the importance of allowing children to express their feelings. Sadly there are people out there who will look at a tantrumming child and think that the parent is doing something ‘wrong.’ Sadly a lot of parenting advice focuses on stopping tantrums, and inadvertently teaching children that expressing emotions is wrong.  I’d steer clear of any parenting advice that focuses on tantrums being a ‘behavioural issue.’

Next time you see a parent dealing with a tantrumming toddler, just remember this, that they are a good parent, doing their best. Instead of rushing in with judgmental looks or ‘advice,’ give them an understanding smile, some warmth, and support. We all have hard days, and we don’t need to make parenting any harder for each other!

You might also like, Why This Isn’t Another Article About How To Stop Tantrums, and What To Do When Children Have Tantrums In Public

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

5 thoughts on “Why Tantrums Are Not A ‘Behavioural Issue’

  1. me too! We all have tantrums, although we learn the art of self-restraint in public as we get older, we can’t expect that of a 2 year old!

  2. That lady did the right thing absolutely. I’d be horrified to receive a phone call like that. But my own mother raises suspicicions when she witnesses one of my own have a tantrum. I can’t compete with her parenting. I apparently only ever had one tantrum, which I can’t believe. I can never do anything right in her eyes.

  3. I’m so sorry your mum makes you feel like that Sophie. Honestly, I think that tantrums are a good thing. They’re a natural and healthy stress release. If a child WASN’T having tantrums I would be suspicious. Perhaps they have been shamed for expressing emotions, or feel like their parent will be angry if they get upset? The fact that children feel comfortable to have a big cry, and stomp out their feelings means they feel safe with their parents. It can be hard to see tantrums as a compliment on our parenting when we are in the midst of coping with a big outburst, but that’s exactly what they are!

  4. I wholeheartedly agree with you on this point. How thoughtless of them to call a tantrum a behavioural issue! That smacks of a lack of basic child psychology, inspite of their profession. I’ve faced it myself with my daughter and written about it on thepraditachronicles.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/pride-and-protestations/
    Feel free to check it out and add your insight to it. Loved the article

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s