Handling Temper Tantrums

Lately I’ve been studying the issues around young children’s temper tantrums: Why do they happen? What do they mean? What are the best practices for handling them? What are the pitfalls?
My adult daughter shared with me her memory of a temper tantrum from her childhood: She remembers wanting a stuffed animal in a department store, and me saying “no.” She remembers crying really hard; she remembers thinking how much she wants this bear, how she cannot be without it, and not understanding how I do not understand her.

She also said she remembers how I said “no,” and just stood there, calmly, waiting for her to be done.

And then she said the most remarkable thing. She said: “I think this was an important experience for me. I learned how to be strong. I think if you would have just bought me the bear, I would have felt that every wish of mine needs to be met just because I cry.”

What a lesson!