Children Throwing Tantrums

Category: Psychology
Author: Bendis

 There are many magazines and books for “mothers” to make them conscious mothers. If you just take a glance at some of magazines in the super market, you will see many information regarding to developmental issues and suggestions about attitudes, important decisions such as vaccines or nutrition, and of course “fashion”. I got a cheaper one which took my attention with the title “How do families handle with tantrums?”

 As we learned in class, there are some explanations about anger in early childhood. But, the article which I choose begins with the superficial explanation, which is that anger was told as the sign of the despair of children who are trying to preserve their honor. First, as we look at the other parts of the text, they especially talked about toddlers and preschool years. We cannot talk about the honor for children younger than 2 years old. They only feel primary emotions like interest or distress, because they do not have theory of mind. But, children are on the preoperational stage after 2. Children at this stage do have secondary emotions like embarrassment, pride and shame, which requires to grasp the perspective of others. Never the less, these tantrums might probably be more due to obstinacy because unlike us, children do not have a perception of concept of personality about themselves to “honor” or to preserve. Second, anger is not always a sign of despair. Instead, it is used as a “tool” to get what they want, to maintain what they have or to gain attention as learning theorists claimed. Also, as we know from the “Bobo Doll” experiment of Bandura (1961), they learned aggressive behavior as a style of communication when they observe an adult behaving aggressively towards a novel stimulus.

 According to Erikson, there are some life crises for individuals to achieve at different stages of life. When it comes to autonomy which takes place at the years on which the article based, Erikson claimed that if the stage cannot be achieved healthy, children feel shame and doubt about their abilities. The article claims that if the achievement is inhibited by parents, children become aggressive. Indeed, since they want to do things as they want and by themselves, they may interpret any intervention as an obstacle to their autonomy. Because of this, they may act aggressively. But, as there are many other explanations which I mention before, we couldn’t assert the causal assessment.

 Lastly, the article gives suggestions to parents such as not escalating coercion when children becomes coercive. Also, some questions were asked in order to increase self-insight consciousness of parents. In addition, both book and the article claimed that the conversation with the children should be precisely about the irritating behavior in order children to grasp the main problem. The article does not suggest the time out technique of Parke and Slaby (1983) because of the possible negative feelings like fear of being abandonment. However, the book claimed that the time-out technique is useful beside the incompatible response technique which include ignoring the undesirable behaviors and reinforcing the desirable acts.



Bandura, A., Ross, D., & Ross, S. A. (1961). Transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models.The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63 (3), 575.
Günal, B. (2018) Öfke Nöbeti ve Ailelerin Tutumu. Baby & You. 112, 05.2018.
Parke, R. D., & Slaby, R. G. (1983). The development of aggression.Handbook of child psychology, 4, 547-641.
Shaffer, D. (2008). Social and personality development. Nelson Education.