Sorry Parents, Toddler Tantrums Are GOOD For Their Development

Erm, what?
The girl is tired. She doesn't want to walk and she doesn't want to ride in a stroller, so she decided to lie down and cry.
Jelena Stosic via Getty Images
The girl is tired. She doesn't want to walk and she doesn't want to ride in a stroller, so she decided to lie down and cry.

Picture this — you’re in the middle of a shopping mall and your toddler is lying on the floor screaming their face off and banging their arms and legs because you said no to a certain toy.

Now this scenario is pretty familiar for most parents. My daughter has laid down on the pavement floor in anger because she didn’t want to hold my hand. For her, my ‘discipline’ felt like big fat rejection of her independence.

Though these moments are extremely difficult, one psychologist has said that tantrums are actually good for children.

Sorry, what?

Psychologist, Dr Becky, often posts videos on TikTok about why children may act a certain way, and recently, she appeared on the Melissa Wood podcast to explain why a child having a tantrum could be positive.

She said: “I would really stand by, tantrum-ing is healthy. It worries me more kids who never have tantrums than kids who have big tantrums.

“What a tantrum really is, a kid basically saying I want something, I’m not getting it, and I still really know that I want it.”

For some kids this may be an object and in some cases it might be the feeling of independence, or wanting something to be a certain way e.g. even something as small as eating a banana without it being broken into pieces by their parents.

Dr Becky says tantrums are like a ball of desire. “I think we know as adults, wanting something and not having it is one of the hardest human experiences. Yet i think what most adult women really struggle with is we’ve completely distanced ourselves from desire. We don’t even know what we want anymore,” she adds.

@drbeckyatgoodinside Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this idea. Clip is from a conversation I had on @Melissa Wood ♬ original sound - Dr. Becky | Psychologist

She went onto explain that while growing up, for most of us, wanting something was inconvenient for the parent.

“The more you punish a kid and send them away, what they learn isn’t tantrums are wrong, they really learn when I want things it threatens my relationships. So many women learned that early on and they became ‘good girls’, said Dr Becky.

But according to the psychologist, the answer isn’t for people to stop wanting things, it’s to learn how to want and not have.

She goes onto say: “That comes deeply down to boundaries.”

Parenting coach Lisa Bunnage also had a similar sentiment. When asked by a TikToker what to do if their toddler cries when told no, she said this is their learning process and you should actually let them cry it out.

“They can learn how to handle the word no. It’s going to take them longer if you keep interrupting, so let them process it and don’t look angry or anything. Just say no you can’t have that, then put it away and go about your business,” Lisa explained.

So next time your child has a tantrum, just know, it’s going to help them in the long run!