Why do toddlers have horrible tantrums?

Tantrums: Reasons, definition

Guest post by

Felicity Frankish

The Baby Vine:

Are we prepared for tantrums?

Tantrums were not a word I thought about pre-kids. I worried about sleep, breastfeeding and nappy explosions, while tantrums were pushed into the back of my mind as a problem to be tackled much later. I then found myself at a supermarket with my darling one year old strewn across the floor mid-tantrum and I wondered, how was I not prepared for this? People told me about the terrible twos and teenagers… but here was my normally delightful one-year-old testing the limits and I was lost.

So why exactly do one-year-olds tantrum? While they may still seem like babies to you, there is a lot going on in their little heads. They understand a lot, yet many can’t effectively communicate. Simple expressions like telling you they are hot or cold, tired, hungry, and so on, can’t be verbalised. I found with Cassie, if I stayed on top of all her needs and was aware of them, it was easier to prevent and avoid some of the tantrums – but not all.

Reasons for a toddler tantrums

One is also the age many babies start testing the limits. We were starting to say no to Cassie a lot more. When she tried to take the remote when she stuck her hand in the garbage when she ate something she shouldn’t off the ground when she tried to climb on something she shouldn’t. It was a new word for her, so she would try and test the boundaries with it. Often, she would look at us to gauge how serious we were and then test the boundaries as she went. We let Cassie push, it was only natural for her! Then we would remove her from the situation and tell her no again, and explain why.


Another reason for tantrums is out of frustration. One-year-olds are beginning to get their independence and finding there are plenty of limits to this. They want to practice their walking while we want them to go in the pram, they want to feed themselves while feeding them is easier for us. I started presenting Cassie with choices. The pink cup or the green cup? Sitting in the pram or the carrier? They let her feel in control when I didn’t mind the outcome, so it was a win-win for us both.

Of course, some tantrums aren’t avoidable, and as I stood there in the middle of the supermarket, I pulled out my phone and snapped a shot. If I couldn’t laugh, then I would probably join her!

Tantrums: reasons, definition

Do you know how to deal with tantrums? Share with us your experience 🙂

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  • Reply Dani

    Tantrums are all part of growing up aren’t they? Growing up is tough- we certainly have them on a daily basis at our place.
    Dani recently posted…Three Ways To Keep Your Kids ActiveMy Profile

    12 January 2019 at 22:44
  • Reply Cristina Petrini

    It ‘s true that the tantrums are part of growth, but it is important to manage them and not give them to the children otherwise we will meet with capricious teenagers and immature adults!

    13 January 2019 at 09:23
  • Reply Mo

    I don’t have any kids yet, but I think this post is very helpful. I am going to be coming back to this blog every so often to get ready for the moment I get pregnant haha

    13 January 2019 at 11:05
  • Reply Kristen Frolich

    Oh man… my youngest son is 2 and we are in full tantrum mode at times. It’s such a difference because my oldest son very rarely threw tantrums. For my youngest if a toy falls the wrong way it is the end of the world!

    13 January 2019 at 12:33
  • Reply Rachel Stone

    I bet this is a question parents of toddlers ask themselves often! Really interesting and informative post! Will be useful to many parents I am sure.

    13 January 2019 at 21:15
  • Reply Neha

    Such an amazing share on tantrums of kids!I don’t have any kids of my own, but have seen many of them giving super hard time to their parents. Its awesome to be able to understand the reasons that cause it!

    14 January 2019 at 02:28
  • Reply leah

    aww great info. I have two toddlers and its crazy sometimes but I always have to remember the why!

    14 January 2019 at 03:10
  • Reply Shoma

    Haha! I ask myself this everyday when my toddle throws one of many! Its a struggle bit all part of the process.
    Shoma recently posted…Hotel Review-Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao in BangkokMy Profile

    14 January 2019 at 17:15
  • Reply Caitlin + Dani

    Toddler tantrums is something to look forward to! Thanks for the explanations, we will keep them in mind for the future.

    14 January 2019 at 18:43
  • Reply Sundeep

    This post help many parents and I finding this very informative so sharing with my friends

    15 January 2019 at 07:13
  • Reply David Elliott

    It’s funny that my daughter never seemed to have the tantrum phase. I knew many who did. But she never really did that to test the limits. She either just did something she was told not to, or she didn’t. But she never whined over anything.
    David Elliott recently posted…The Five Best Reasons To Choose Health OR The Five Whys Of HealthMy Profile

    16 January 2019 at 08:24
  • Reply Rishabh & Nirali

    Hahaha loved everything about the post including the cover pic! So cute! See so many nephews and nieces going through the same phase! Maybe it’ll be helpful for their parents 🙂

    18 January 2019 at 11:05
  • Reply Purva

    My toddler has recently started throwing tantrums! Learning to deal with it!

    5 March 2019 at 20:30
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