How To Effectively Handle Temper Tantrums

I am super excited to introduce a new contributor to the Moms ‘N Charge team! You can read below about why she’s amazing. But Brittany and I connected through my Facebook fan page. When I talk about the power of social media and how powerful it can be, I speak from experience.  So I was super excited when Brittany expressed interest in writing for the site. I don’t know how you handle temper tantrums, but she shares some great tips on how to minimize them (and keep your sanity in the process). Check it out and then let us know how you handle temper tantrums (as frustrating as they can sometimes be).

Brittany Redfern - MomsNChargeThe following post was written by Brittany Redfern. Brittany Redfern is a first year law student at Villanova University School of Law. Brittany became a mother to her 3 year old son while in pursuit of her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Temple University. Brittany credits motherhood at a young age for piloting her capstone project on breastfeeding disparities in low income minority communities that won her recognition and awards. Brittany aims to expose young mothers to the endless possibilities for them and their children just by having a little faith and being more afraid of abandoning the dream than of the dream itself. 

Deuce has reached the inevitable age of having his own will. He has desires, he has wants, and further, he has temper tantrums when either of the first two are not met. Deuce has recently turned three and though many referred to his past year as “terrible twos.” I can’t say I agree that they were terrible, but I can admit that there are often times when his desire to have his own way can become problematic.

A friend of mine refers to her son’s temper tantrums as a “conflict” between her and her child. I don’t consider Deuce and I have to have conflicts because I realize his tantrums are based on wants and my requests of him are needs he simply isn’t cognizant of. For example: I say bedtime and he says “no.” He isn’t cognizant that he has to go to daycare the next day so he wants to play all night. He doesn’t realize there is another day coming that he must be prepared and well rested for. I do. So we don’t have conflicts because most of his desire to do something other than what I am saying is because he sees every moment as IN THE MOMENT instead of the preparation for something else to come.

I have had to learn to work through these moments with a calm spirit and VOICE. I have recognized that meeting his aggression with my own frustration and aggression can do nothing, but heighten the situation, so when he is yelling, neither his father nor I are allowed to yell back. I have had to take many breaths and even bit my tongue during his tantrums until I found the right words to say without malice. During his tantrums, I say phrases such as “OK John, Jr. This isn’t how you get what you want. Please use your words.” I tend to use his real name during tantrums to assert my authority, but I do not allow a change in my pitch or tone. I also offer him the opportunity to nurse because this act often relaxes him and brings him to a point where he can communicate or even do what I need him to do.


Ignore the negative behavior of course by not responding in the same manner, but ignoring a child could cause more damage both physically and emotionally. Many children will thrust themselves and fling their bodies onto the floor even more violently while being ignored, hurting themselves.

Most of Deuce’s temper tantrums come from the desire to go outside. He loves going to the park, playing with the little girls next door, and even riding his new tricycle around, but he also has no concept of the fact that we cannot play outside at 9 at night or even that when it’s raining, we cannot play outside. In order to ease the transition and shock of going inside, I have started giving him a count down something like, “OK Deuce, we’re going to ride the bike 5 more times, then we’re going in…4 more times, then we’ll go inside…alright Deucey, 3 more times and then we have to go inside and eat dinner remember…etc etc.” I have found that preparing him to go inside instead of instantly saying “ok time to go in” helps to eliminate the temper tantrum when it’s time to go inside.

When did your child begin temper tantrums? How do you handle them?




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  • Reply
    December 12, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    I just shared in a mom group I’m in that my tots tantrums have started and I am feeling overwhelmed. My Z is very strong willed and loves her independence. I am working on adjusting how I react. Thank you for sharing your prep to go inside top!
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    • Reply
      Christine St.Vil
      December 12, 2014 at 1:07 PM

      Hey MJ! I know what you mean as my middle child is like that (moreso when she was younger, not really now as she’s 5). We learned that we needed to handle the tantrums with love. So when she would start having a meltdown, I would say “Aww you need some love and hugs” and just gave her tight hugs until she calmed down and smiled (usually didn’t take long). But hang in there, it gets better 🙂

    • Reply
      Brittany Redfern
      December 14, 2014 at 7:25 PM

      Hi MJ – thank you so much for the feedback!
      Deuce is extremely strong willing – I like to think I’m raising a leader so this is to be expected, however I truly try to encourage him to have respect for authority. I have also started options also, so instead of saying “this is what you’re wearing,” the morning tantrums are lessened when I say, “hey do you like the ninja turtles or the spider man shirt today?”
      I can’t say it isn’t frustrating. I cant say I haven’t had to literally grit my teeth and sometimes even cry in my car. But it gets easier.
      Have a great holiday!

  • Reply
    Vashti (Veepeejay)
    December 12, 2014 at 6:54 PM

    I don’t have any kids of my own as yet but I’ve dealt with a few temper tantrums from kids in my family. These are great tips and an awesome intro to Brittany’s writing.
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    • Reply
      Brittany Redfern
      December 14, 2014 at 7:26 PM

      Hello Vashti – I didn’t know I would be a mother at 21, but it’s honestly been the best motivation for me to push forward in some areas and slow down in others. Thank you so much for reading

  • Reply
    December 12, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    Awesome tips Britanny! It’s pretty challenging to deal with tantrums because different kids respond differently in my experience. My first needed me to be calm and give her options to express herself. Are you hungry? tired? Etc, my second is only 1 1/2 and he’s already tossing himself down when he doesn’t get his way. Redirection works well with him. Looking forward to more from Brittany. I love how you connected.
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    • Reply
      Christine St.Vil
      December 14, 2014 at 3:58 PM

      Hey Adanna, I totally agree in that different kids respond to tantrums differently. All three of mine needed a different method LOL

    • Reply
      Brittany Redfern
      December 14, 2014 at 7:35 PM

      Hello Adanna – thank you so much for reading! I too agree different children may respond different, but I’m learning even as children age, their response to tantrums can be different!
      Deuce is a really strong willed child, but once I learned he is an auditory learner, it became simple to understand he can be encouraged to have better or more appropriate behavior with either reminders of consequences or even simply asking him sternly is everything ok / how can we fix this, etc.
      Have a great holiday season!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Lots of good info here. I have a wee grandbaby who has her moments so thanks for this post.

    Thankfully my kid and I were so busy running from school to work to daycare to bed and doing it all over again that tantrums were very rare. She was a very quiet baby/little girl but at almost 21, she has definitely made up for it 😉
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    • Reply
      Christine St.Vil
      December 14, 2014 at 3:59 PM

      Wait…did you say grandbaby Jaye! No way! You look amazing, congrats! 🙂 Yeah my firt born spoiled us he was such a good baby and rarely cried 🙂

    • Reply
      Brittany Redfern
      December 14, 2014 at 7:38 PM

      Wow I know all about the running from daycare to school struggle!
      LOL some days I feel like I’m just waking up and showing up for the occasion! Particularly as his ability to stay up later has increased

  • Reply
    Reginia Cordell
    December 12, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    Dealing with temper tantrums is tough. I am not a mom, but students can display tantrums at school. From the school perspective, we try to allow the students to “get it out”. We are discouraged from touching the child unless he or she is endangering themselves or others.
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    • Reply
      Christine St.Vil
      December 14, 2014 at 5:30 PM

      Hi Reginia! I can definitely understand that in working with students. And sometimes even as a mom, I’ve had to let them “get it out” and then ask if they’re done and if they’re ready to talk about it. 🙂

    • Reply
      Brittany Redfern
      December 14, 2014 at 7:40 PM

      Hi thank you for the feedback! My son’s daycare was instrumental also in my change in how I handled tantrums. I was being driven insane with them when I finally asked his teachers how they responded and the first thing I learned was that he doesn’t even have tantrums at school (surprise surprise) then second when other children have tantrums, they talk them through them and ask how they can fix the problem.
      See how these kids know who they can get one over on? LOL

  • Reply
    Kimberly Bolden
    December 13, 2014 at 2:59 AM

    I do not have kids but I believe that our response to tantrums and attitudes is that we manage and not react. Great tips Brittany.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2014 at 1:18 AM

    Even though i’m not a mom I can relate to this as a teacher. Sometimes my students can really get under my skin but I have to remember that I’m in charge and put them back in order.
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    • Reply
      Christine St.Vil
      December 14, 2014 at 5:32 PM

      LOL I can only imagine Nicole. But I do homeschool and teach a class of 15 1-3rd graders in our co-op. It definitely takes reeling them back in 🙂

      • Reply
        Brittany Redfern
        December 14, 2014 at 7:42 PM

        Hi Nicole – kudos to you being a teacher! Sadly, as a mother to a 3 year old, my patience for other children is minimal! LOL particularly several toddlers at once! I volunteer at my son’s school and I just want to break down after I leave. Have a great holiday season!

  • Reply
    Janeane Davis
    December 13, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    I enjoyed Brittany's look at children and discipline. Most of all though, I liked learning that she is currently a student at my alma mater, Villanova University School of Law.

  • Reply
    Brittany L. Redfern
    December 15, 2014 at 12:30 AM

    Great to meet you counselor! Thank you for the encouragement!

  • Reply
    Brittany L. Redfern
    December 15, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    Thank you so much! I've only figured it out through trial and error – mostly error! Have a great holiday!

  • Reply
    Robyn Redfern
    December 16, 2014 at 2:13 AM

    I am beyond proud of this young lady. I love that you share your knowledge as you learn, this is blessing. I have had the pleasure of witnessing your parenting techniques first hand, and applaud your flexibility and ability to absorb teach-able moments. Peace and Blessing to all the families and a wish for a joyous holiday. (proud mom, myself)

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