You're shopping with your toddler in a busy department store. He or she has spied a toy that you don't intend to buy. Suddenly you're at the center of a gale-force temper tantrum. Everyone is looking at you.

What's the best response? Why do these emotional meltdowns happen? And can you prevent them? Consider these tantrum tips.


Why do tantrums happen?


A tantrum is the expression of a young child's frustration with the challenges of the moment. Perhaps your child is having trouble figuring something out or completing a specific task. Maybe your child doesn't have the vocabulary or can't find the words to express his or her feelings. Frustration might trigger anger — resulting in a temper tantrum.


If your child is thirsty, hungry or tired, his or her threshold for frustration is likely to be lower — and a tantrum more likely.

Do young children have tantrums on purpose?


Young children don

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