34 answers

2 Year Old Temper Tantrums

Hi Moms,
I need your help! My 2 year old daughter started having horrible temper tantrums that involve screaming at the top of her lungs, throwing herself on the floor and even hitting on occasions. I realize that this is pretty typical for the age, but I feel like I have tried everything to control these outburst, with the exception of ignoring them, and they are only getting worse and more frequent. Should I just come to terms with the fact that this is again typical and will too pass, or is there something I can do to control this behavior. Thanks for any and all advise.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

It is normal but my suggestion, maybe, is when she starts to have one ask her if you can have a hug real quick. When she hugs you, give her a kiss or tickle her. See if that distracts her from the tantrum. I use this technique on a toddler in my center and it seems to stop him. I ask him as soon as he throws himself on the floor. I keep asking. Sometimes I have to ask a few times so he can hear me over the shrieking :). Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful


My son is 2.5 and he is starting to do the same thing. "Time Out" works best for us. The minute he starts to act up, I immediately put him in his Time Out space for 3 minutes. Once time is up, I approach the area and ask him if he wants to continue sitting in "Time Out" if he continues to yell and scream then he stays there. If he says that he doesn't then I hug him and tell him that I love him, but he can not continue acting like that...
I saw this on Nanny 911 and tried it - it actually worked.

Good luck

Ignore them. Let her scream, kick and wail but do not crack, just let her act it out. eventually they will cease when she realizes that you are not going to cave in.

My now 5 year old did this for quite sometime and it wasn't until I took my doctors advice and ignored them that they finally ended.


More Answers

I think the best way to deal with tantrums is to ignore - obviously that cannot happen if you are in a store but if you are at home, it can work with consistency. When my daughter, who is almost 3, decides to tantrum, I say, "Let me know when you are done." And I leave the room or completely ignore her and don't even look at her. It is all about attention for them. Half the time, she looks at me and says, "I'm done," and then wants a hug. Sometimes she continues for 5 minutes or so but I just keep doing my thing until I see that she needs my help to calm down and I say, "Do you need some lovin?" (which is our way of talking about cuddling). If she is ready to calm down she will say yes, if not, she will scream louder and I just tell her to let me know when she is ready and I walk away again. After she is calm, we talk about how it is OK to be upset and how else she can handle it. As for hitting, it seems that I am the only person she hits but that period was short-lived because she got an immediate timeout for hitting me -- no discussions, no talking at all. I just would say, "You are not aloud to hit. It is not nice and it hurts. Time out." She now knows that if she hits me, there is only one thing that will happen so she does not do it anymore. She raises her hand as though she is going to hit and looks me in the eye, then changes her mind. I then praise her and we talk about what things she can hit (pillows, stuffed animals, etc). And as full of advise as I am (!!), I don't have much for public tantrums. If she gets upset and lays on the floor in the store, I say, "OK, I'll see you later. I am going to finish shopping." And I begin to walk away (obviously not far) but this usually gets her up because she wants to go with me. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

I had this issue with my daughter who is now 2.5. This was around the 2 year mark. I pretty much ignored them, I know that she was looking for a reaction and I made sure not to react the way she wanted me to. I would remain very calm and tell her that when she was ready to calm down I would then talk to her. Sometimes I asked her to go to her bedroom and that she could come back out after she calmed down. It would be little things that set her off i.e. (I didn't use the right cup for her juice, or I cut the banana the wrong way etc.) I would always leave it on the counter and tell her it would be there when she calmed down and if she changed her mind. That sometimes worked as well.

Your daughter is voicing frustration. There is something that she is not able to verbalize that might set her off or if she feels she is not being understood. I know it is difficult not to lose patience and become frustrated. I have two little ones 16 months apart so I feel your pain. Just reassure her the best you can that you love her and that she needs to use her words when she wants to communicate with you.

I hope this was helpful. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

You have to ignore them. Temper tantrums are a form of wanting attention, My daughter started her terrible two's temper tantrums and she was cured in about a week, and hasnt had one in about 6 months. I let her freak out and did not respond untils he calmed herself down and came to me and apologized for behaving like that. It's hard to ignore, especially if you are like me(I never let her cry it out, and am always here with her) but it's well worth it.

1 mom found this helpful

It is normal but my suggestion, maybe, is when she starts to have one ask her if you can have a hug real quick. When she hugs you, give her a kiss or tickle her. See if that distracts her from the tantrum. I use this technique on a toddler in my center and it seems to stop him. I ask him as soon as he throws himself on the floor. I keep asking. Sometimes I have to ask a few times so he can hear me over the shrieking :). Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

My son went through this a couple of times at 18 months or so, but not lately. The way I dealt with it was to ignore it. That first time, I wasn't sure what was going on, so I was trying to calm him down and hugging him but I think it made it worse. the next time I knew what it was, and I made sure he was in a place that was safe and I ignored him. I would ask him every couple of minutes if he was done, and he would then get louder, but he finally came down after about 10 or 15 minutes and then he was nice again. I think the tantrums are a result of not being able to voice something, with my son it was because he didn't like the way I did something. they were very minor things, but it would set him off. Once he realized he wasn't getting attention as a result of the tantrums, they stopped. We may have dealt with this 3 times total. My suggestion is to make sure she is safe, and then ignore her. Even if you stay in the same room (which is what I did), pretend like your busy cooking or watching TV or whatever and remain unaffected by her actions. Once my son was done, I explained why he was wrong and asked for a kiss a hug. It was so weird to see him so upset and minutes later totally fine. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

You want to control the tantrums. IGNORE them. When it starts tell her that unless she can talk to mommy like a good girl you will not listen to her and leave the room. Believe it or not within a week they will be much less. By trying to control her you are just reinforcing the behavior. She is still getting her way and you are still paying attention to her. Walk out and let her throw the tantrum alone. Trust me she'll stop if she doesn't have an audience.

Oh, how I hated the terrible 2's! I remember them so well now that I have grandchildren going through the same thing. I handled it by just ignoring it. If they laid on the floor kicking and screaming i would go about my business as usual. Even stepping over them if I had to. It didn't take them long to realize they weren't getting the reaction they thought they would get.

I had a friend that had twin girls that started throwing tantrums all the time. She was at the mall one time with the twins in the stroller when both of them started screaming and literately throwing themselves around in the stroller. She quickly took out a piece of paper and pen and made a sign that said "twins in tantrum, please ignore", put it on the handle of the stroller and walked to the side wall to wait it out. People that passed by did what she wanted and ignored them. It didn't take them long to figure out that tantrums don't work with mom or with strangers.

It's important to understand that the reason 2 year-olds have tantrums is because they don't yet have the skills to manage the range of emotions they are experiencing and because their language skills are often very limited. The reason for the tantrum may seem insignificant to us as adults - the wrong bowl for breakfast, not being able to read another book at bedtime - but to a 2 yo the intensity of the disappointment, anger, etc. she is feeling is great. Once they get older (even by age 3), they become better able to manage their emotions. One way you can help your daughter now is to put a name to the emotion she is experiencing ("You're really angry you can't have another pretzel, aren't you!"). Even though this may not prevent or shorten the tantrums right now, it will let her know that you understand what she is feeling and help her learn to identify her own emotions as she gets older. As long as you do not eventually "give in" to whatever it is your daughter is upset about, she will not learn that tantrumming is a way to get what she wants. So tolerating/ignoring/waiting out the tantrums (as long as she's safe) is often a good way to let her get those feelings out. If you are not trying to get her to stop crying and yelling, or just physically not right next to her, there shouldn't be anyone close enough to get hit. That's just the only way she knows right now to express how upset she is. And it's not really fair to expect a 2 yo to express those very intense emotions in more appropriate ways when that just isn't where she's at developmentally. Hope this helps!

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