5 Types of Toddler Tantrums

It’s time for a laugh! This guest post by Darlena Cunha from ParenTwin.com literally made me laugh out loud… Enjoy.

My life plunges ever deeper into the realm of ridiculous as my kids struggle to determine what is reality and what is imagination, what is reasonable and what is impossible.  It’s a long process and their “coping mechanisms” involve a bit too much noise for my tastes.

At age two and a half, here are the most frequent tantrums in this house.

toddler tantrums

1) You can’t understand what I said because I’m all garbled and my diction is terrible. Clearly you hate me.

My littler twin has slightly worse pronunciation than her sister. She also has a longer memory for perceived slights to her little person. This makes for a deadly combination, especially since she has a sister with whom to compare desires versus fulfillment and time taken for each. So that, added to the delight of “I cannot get you what you want or respond in an appropriate manner because I can’t understand you” there’s the bonus of “but you just did what Dulce asked you to do, and it’s not fa-air!”  Lovely.

These types of tantrums are the most common in this house because the girls are forever talking and forever wanting, and I just can’t keep up.  I also have anywhere between three and ten seconds to figure out the exact nuances of each request before total meltdown. Talk about working on deadline.

2) You can’t create the object of my fancy out of thin air. I want it and you are obviously withholding it from me because you hate me.

My kids haven’t quite grasped the concept of what is real and what is in their mind. They are disciples of the power of positive thinking…without the positive. They assume if they can think something, that thing must exist in real time because they can see it in their mind.

The most ridiculous example of this in recent memory is last week when I decided to let the babies try raspberries for the first time. I thought they would love a new treat. Haha. No. The raspberries, you see, are red, like their favorite fruit, strawberries. So, they excitedly took the berries from me, and were immediately repulsed when they tasted not strawberry, but raspberry. They spit them out, gave them back and demanded strawberries. But we didn’t have any strawberries. My cruelty to them was unfathomable. How dare I not create their beloved strawberries out of thin air? This, truly, was the height of insult. And had I only not offered them a raspberry to begin with, I’d have saved myself the literal and figurative headache.

3) I want hers not mine because hers is better because it’s hers. Why do you hate me so much?

I don’t know if parents of singletons experience this type of tantrum, but it is the defining aspect of my life right now. It covers slightly different items, like the Dora underwear we have, all with Dora on them but in different poses or outfits. It covers items that are the exact same in every way. “Her red mardi gras beads are better than my red mardi gras beads even though there is no discernible difference. I know they are because she has them.”

The most frustrating version of this tantrum has to do with the potty. I am helpless in the face of it. One of them will go potty, and the other will be beyond inconsolable that she did not also go.  And it is somehow my fault. No amount of me explaining that I have no control over whether or not she has to go to the bathroom will fix this. And God forbid one of them poop. We may as well have tortured and maimed the non-pooper, such is her dismay.

And that’s just the tip of it. The twins now flush the potty when they’re done, and they love it.  They are so competitive that they have found a difference in the speed at which the water drains from the toilet. So that the twin that goes potty second knows she’s getting a “slow one” and cannot stand it.  Her sister got a “fast one.” Are you kidding me?

4) Every minute detail of this plan is not in accordance to my imagined schedule, and I don’t care how awesome the payoff is if I can’t have it this exact way right now, screw you and your fun plans.

There is no prioritization when you’re 2.5. We may be going to the beach, but if they want to wear sneakers instead of sandals, they will die on that hill. And so will I. We will wear appropriate shoes to each place we visit, and I don’t care if you scream as if I’ve just cut off your hand. But I can never quite understand why they would choose to be so completely miserable over a sensible decision I made, when the end result of their acquiescence is that we go to the beach, their favorite place. They cannot see the forest for the trees. It’s amazing.

5) No one can do anything for me if they are not my Mommy. And if you are my mommy, I want someone else to do it for me until they try, then I am beyond offended.

We have trouble with this one when my husband tries to feed them or put them in their car seats or hold one of their hands or basically anything. They’ll insist it be me, and sometimes we allow it because we simply cannot handle another tantrum after the tantrums about the potty and about the foodstuffs and about the necklaces and about the shoes. We just want to go to the beach. But we should never allow it. It’s turned them completely dependent on me, and it’s allowed them to think that if they put up a fuss, I will do it just to shut them up.  So, no more!  We are going to beat this tantrum if it’s the last thing I do.

As for the others? What can we, as parents, do?  I don’t know.  We always do our best to distract them or lead them in another direction with about a 25 percent success rate. For the other 75 percent of the time, I recommend hanging on by the skin of your teeth and hoping for a better tomorrow when their vision of the world is more in line with the actual reality of the world and they aren’t disappointed quite so often.


parentwinWritten by Darlena Cunha from ParenTwin.com.

Darlena is a mother of twins, journalist, novelist, editor, and owner of Tales of an Unlikely Mother. She has written for dozens of publications including the Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, Fem2pt0, McSweeneys and more.

Image provided by David Castillo Diminici via FreeDigitalPhotos.net


  1. Vickie Couturier says

    lol,,well with 13 grandkids ive seen them all,they will always try a temper tantrums to get what they want,ive found to ignore it works well or a spritz of cool water on them works fast and good

  2. Rebecca Parsons says

    I have seen all of those tantrums and with three kids it became easy to spot what the tantrum was.

  3. Georgia Beckman says

    These are hysterical AND TRUE! Oh my goodness, I’m sure we could all get our children into the FIT HALL OF FAME with some of our stories!

  4. Debby Chandler says

    I sure do remember those days. Now when my grandkids have a tantrum I just let the parents handle it.

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