Main causes of Temper Tantrums

Temper tantrums are common in children, especially during the “terrible two’s” stage. While this is a normal stage in every child’s life, it doesn’t take away from the frustration that can come for the parents. However, knowing some of the main causes of temper tantrums can help to navigate through this difficult time.

Vocalization frustration

The toddler stage can be the time when vocalization skills start to develop. While it may seem like your child has some great words and phrases down pat in their vocabulary, there is still some major gaps in their vocalization skills. This can be a cause of frustration for your child because either they won’t be able to communicate their needs or they can become irritated at their parent’s inability to understand them.


Many times, it can be difficult for a child to transition from one activity to the next. This can be a huge trigger for temper tantrums, especially if a child is enjoying a particular toy or activity. Sometimes a parent can ease a child through transitioning through verbal cues. For instance, giving your child a time allotment on when the transition will happen can help to avoid a temper tantrum. For instance, giving verbal cues like, “Five more minutes and then we’re all done with the crayons or five more minutes and then we play with a new toy,” can help to ease through transitioning.

Overwhelming environments

Many times, children become used to a particular environment. For the first year of a child’s life, the majority of their time is spent at home with their parents. Introducing them to a high stimulation environment can become overwhelming for a child. This is why it’s important to socialize your baby early in life; whether it’s a mommy and me class, frequent trips to a park or just through regular outings for running errands. While your child may still become overwhelmed in high stimulation areas, it can help to deter from more regular outbursts during activities that can seem overwhelming for children that aren’t used to being in differing situations.


While it can be tempting to give your child endless possibilities in terms of making choices, it’s important to set guidelines so your child understands there are boundaries in life. This can come in the form of verbal cues before, during and after an activity. Let your child know they are only allowed one toy during a visit to a toy store or that they have to stay within a certain area at the park. Guidelines are often set for your child’s safety or because of financial restraints and it’s important to let your child know before an activity to help deter temper tantrums.

While temper tantrums can be embarrassing and frustrating for a parent, it’s important to understand that it can be equally frustrating for the child. Understanding the main causes of a temper tantrum can help ease through this difficult time during a child’s life and can help to anticipate and deal with temper tantrums as they come.