Parenting Tips: 2-3 Years

Kicking and screaming, your child throws a tantrum on the floor of the toy store because you won’t buy the toy she wants. What do you do?


  1. Don’t try to reason with your toddler. Children cannot listen during a tantrum.
  2. Don’t lose your temper, because this will frighten your child and set a bad example.
  3. Don’t give in to your child, because this rewards bad behavior and encourages tantrums.
  4. Don’t bribe your child with a candy or other treats. He may start demanding such bribes to behave.


  1. Stay calm and don’t worry about what others think.
  2. Ignore the fuss. Give your child as little attention as possible.
  3. Hold your child, if necessary, to prevent injury or damage to property.
  4. Leave the store if the tantrum continues.
  5. When your child is calm, explain that you will leave the store whenever she throws a tantrum.
  6. Reward good behavior by spending some special time together as soon afterwards as possible.

We’ve all heard of the “terrible twos” as a time when children become defiant and unmanageable. This may be how it seems at times, but children need to go through this stage. They need to discover their own strengths, to separate themselves from their parents, and to learn self-control. We can teach our children to behave properly by rewarding good behavior, ignoring provocative behavior, and preventing them from injuring themselves or others.

  1. Before entering the store, describe the behavior you expect and the consequences of misbehavior.
  2. Feel secure in your overall strategy, so that you don’t feel the urge to negotiate or give in.

From “Good Kids, Bad Behavior” by Jonathan Brush, PhD, MD