‘They weren’t called the terrible twos for nothing!’

  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • Catherine Brown is 35 and has a 4-year-old daughter, Daisy. Here’s her story about surviving Daisy’s terrible tantrums when she was two.

    ‘Everyone warned me about tantrums, but Daisy reached 23 months before there was any sign of them. Friends used to tell me about their experiences and I always felt quite smug because I’d got away with it with Daisy. How wrong was I?

    One morning, I took her downstairs to have breakfast and she started demanding something different from what I was giving her. When I sat her down in front of her bowl of rice krispies, she threw a massive wobbler and swiped it off the table all over the floor, screaming, ‘No, no, no!’ over and over again. I was so shocked, I stood there for a few seconds totally gobsmacked not able to move.

    The temper tantrums slowly got worse and happened more often. Whenever we left the house, Daisy refused to get in her pushchair and I would have to wrestle her in, otherwise we’d be late. One day, she carried on screaming and crying for 15 minutes after we’d left the house, and everyone was staring at me. If we ever went out for lunch, it was a constant struggle to get her to leave the restaurant. Daisy would go all floppy to try to stop you lifting her up and begin crying.

    It made me feel so embarrassed and I’d go red – even though what she was doing was totally normal. For a while, Daisy even used to hold her breath and she’d start to go blue in the face. I’d have to blow on her to get her to stop – it was actually quite scary. I soon realised that tantrums are a child’s way of trying to gain some sort of control. I used to tell Daisy what we were going to do 5 minutes before we did it – it didn’t always work, but at least she was prepared.

    My other main tactic was just to move her from the place of the tantrum to somewhere else and get her to focus on a different thing. She soon calmed down then.

    Daisy’s now 4 and she still throws mini-tantrums occasionally, but they’re usually because she’s tired and I’ve trained myself to ignore them and they soon go away.’

    Catherine Brown, 35, Worcester – mum to Daisy, 4.

    More help and advice

    Chat: share tips for calming a tantrum
    The secret of getting your toddler to behave
    Expert advice on coping with toddler tantrums