The Power of Positive Discipline: 7 Dos and Don’ts When it Comes to Tantrums

The phrase “terrible twos” isn’t just a cute pun; it actually refers to a significant time in your child’s life where he or she is learning and growing – a lot, and in this evolving age of self-awareness and intelligence, kids will tend to push your boundaries.

What are toddler-aged children grappling with exactly? To begin with, they don’t know how to communicate, or manage overwhelming emotions they’re experiencing for the very first time. They also tend to get frustrated quickly at an inability to complete a task they think they should be able to do on their own.

Tantrums are normal during this time of great development that every child goes through, and will decrease around the age of four once motor and language skills are more advanced. But, where does that leave you exactly in the meantime?

If you make the right choices in handling tantrums or freak-outs, these outbursts will occur less and less, and as a parent, a little peace and quiet certainly aren’t overrated! Here are some suggestions as to how you can best manage these scenarios with a positive approach:


  • DON’T ever ignore a tantrum. There’s a time and place when the best thing to do as a parent is simply to ignore a child’s behavior, but this isn’t it.
  • DO remember that all humans appreciate being treated with respect, no matter what age. You will be better positioned for your child to heed your guidance if you are always careful to treat them in a respectful manner.
  • DO empathize. If you can somehow convey to your child that you genuinely feel for him/her in these difficult moments, it will go a long way toward gaining cooperation. Remember these are your little one’s first encounters with over-powering emotions. Try to articulate your empathy clearly to them.
  • DON’T engage in the conflict. If you’re getting worked up, children already know your buttons. Just respectfully and calmly tell your child to calm down, and then walk away from the battle. Stick to whatever lesson you were teaching and tell him/her you’re ready to help more when calm returns; balance empathy with peaceful, confident consistency, leading the way to communication and solutions.
  • With that said, DO always be mindful to set the example. Kids learn best by modeling good behavior. Think about the people you’ve looked up to; they are calm and confident with poise.
  • DO allow emotions. There will no doubt be times when you have done all you can, and your child is just not having any of your pearls of wisdom. This is the key:allow your child to experience, label, and understand his/her emotions. If you meet these with understanding, support, and acceptance, the tantrums will lose power and eventually cease. Sometimes, like us, kids just need a good cry.
  • DON’T get defeated. Your confidence is key and should be bolstered by the fact that these situations are inevitable given your child’s age. Helping the child in these moments is very much a part of your role now, even though it’s difficult. You’ll be much more effective if you can accept this.


Toddlers relish attention and are striving to express themselves. In the case of a tantrum, using positive discipline focuses on the behaviors you want children to develop, rather than on the negativity of the tantrum itself. While tantrums are inevitable, an inept parenting approach doesn’t have to be. Incorporating the “Dos and Don’ts” discussed today won’t magically make tantrums instantly disappear, but they will absolutely help both you and your child handle them better, while aiming to reduce additional ones down the road.

About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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