(Still) Coping With Toddler Tantrums

The day my boy turned three, it was as though a demon had left his body, and my sweet little prince was resurrected. For one full year, I fell victim to the terrible twos, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. I thought the worst had passed – that I’d never again have to fall victim to the toddler tirades – the blood-curdling screams, the thrashing tantrums, and the embarrassing public displays of tantrum-possessed, out-of-control flip outs.

He was potty-trained. He was sweet and affectionate. He was using his words. My faith in my parenting was renewed and my sense of relief that the worst was over was ethereal. That was, until last night.

The hubs had to work late, so I was left to bring my little guy along to his big sister’s dance class. When he was two, I would have considered skipping the class entirely, afraid that the beast would unleash his fury. But my boy was three now, so surely he would be on his best behaviour. Wrong.

I arrived equipped with the essentials: his favourite snacks, a bottle of water to quench his thirst, and some of his favourite miniature characters to keep him distracted. I kissed my girl goodbye, shuffled her into her tap class, and positioned myself and my boy by the viewing window, where I lined up his snacks and toys. For five full minutes, he was engaged, quiet, polite. He sat peacefully watching his sister dancing while munching on his sliced pears and Goldfish crackers, and I held my head high as other parents looked on and smiled at my sweet little well-behaved buddy.

But then it happened.


Suddenly a scream exploded through his little lips, and he went dashing up the stairs and out of my sight. I rushed after him and watched as he screeched at an ear-piercing pitch. I tried to quietly coax him back to our spot by the window, but he refused and his scream only amplified. All eyes were on me as parents and dance school staff watched carefully to see how I would react to my toddler’s outburst. I scooped him up, murmured some threats to him in the tight-lipped mom voice that we all secretly do, and carried his thrashing, screaming body outside.

I transported his beast-of-a-deadweight-body to my car, tossed him into the backseat, climbed into the front seat, and closed the door. Beads of sweat were dripping down my forehead and I held back tears as I sat there, astonished by what had happened. And then it got worse.

My boy didn’t want to sit in the car, and certainly wasn’t going to let the tirade end without an epic finale.

He climbed himself over the centre console and into the front passenger seat, where he proceeded to push all the buttons and knobs in my car while I gave him the mom-death-stare. Suddenly, a loud siren began to wail – it was my car alarm. As the alarm seemed to get increasingly louder, so did my voice as I panicked out loud. “How the HELL do you turn this thing OFF!” I barked as I flailed around in my my seat, trying every button, knob and handle in sight. “You are in SO much trouble!” I growled at my boy as I finally found the switch. All eyes were on me. I felt as though a MILLION judging eyes were watching me as I sat in the spotlight yelling at my boy. Failing as a mother.

And of course it was time to pick up my daughter as her class was over. So out we went, me red-faced with embarrassment and rage, and my boy with a devilish smile, as though he’d won an epic battle.

It was a quiet ride home (to say the least), and I was exhausted with defeat.

Shit happens. Tatrums happen. It’s all a part of mom life, and we get over it, but BOY did that moment rank high on the richter scale of fails.

Not sure what to do when you’re caught in the web of toddler tantrums? Check out this video on Parentdish.ca – How To Handle An Epic Meltdown, and for the love of mom, DON’T FREAK OUT when your toddlers do. Lesson learned.





  1. Oh Bianca… the WORST!!!

  2. My eldest is almost 2 1/2 months. I am just holding on till we get out of these terrible twos. There are mornings that it’s not even 9 am and I am already doing MY deep breathing! This too will pass, this too will pass… Did your daughter go through a similar phase?

  3. My youngest (15months) started daycare recently and suddenly he is having tantrums at home. Ugh. It sucks. Today I made the decision to ignore him and walk away. I was going to say it will pass… but my 5 year old just had a bit of a tantrum… so maybe not. 😉

  4. three was wayyyyyy more intense for us than 2. my mantra is: my child is learning to regulate his emotions, show him how it’s done. I need to tell myself this regularly because I spent a good few months just FLYING OFF THE HANDLE. ahem. onwards and upwards!

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