Q: What causes two year olds to throw temper tantrums?
A: A temper tantrum in a two year old often looks like an attempt to manipulate you and force you to give them what they want, but in reality they are generally caused by an overload of frustration. Being two years old can be extremely frustrating. Some of the reasons for this frustration are:
- Two year olds are changing from babyhood to childhood - just like teens are changing from children to adults.
- Communication is difficult because 2s are not yet thinking verbally: they often misunderstand you and you often misunderstand them.
- It's really hard for them to deny their instinctive need to learn about their world.
- Once they become involved in an activity it can be hard for them to stop, mentally shift gears, and do something else.
- They can also have a short attention span, and so are always looking for new things to investigate. Boredom can be frustrating.
Parents, older sisters and brothers, babysitters and other adults often teach them to continue this type behavior by giving in to them to try to calm them down.