throwing tantrums

Eddie has never been a tantrum-thrower.

When he was a toddler, if we told him “no”, he would listen, but he would cry.  If he was sent to timeout, he would stay there and mournfully cry.  He didn’t thrash about or throw himself to the ground.

We went through a phase where he would grunt out of frustration because he didn’t have any words. And even when he did, we had to work to break that habit.

We thought these defiant grunts and the loud crying from his room were what people meant when they referred to kids having tantrums.

And then we had Charlie.

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Oh he tricked us with his calm, laid back demeanor for the first year or so of his life–always so laid back, just taking things in. Always being all happy and content unless he was tired or hungry.

He was always so easy to please: give him lunch or put him to bed.

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He is one of the happiest kids…until he is not.  He has one weakness: The word “no”.

Oh you guys. This child has a FIERCE temper of which I have not seen before.

I don’t remember when Eddie started saying “no”, but I can tell you it was one of Charlie’s very first real words. He furrows his brown and wags his finger at us when he is displeased and firmly says, “no NO!”

He will also tell things he is not supposed to touch (lamps, the TV, lamps) “no, NO!” as if it’s their fault he gets in trouble for touching them.

If we tell him to do something he doesn’t want to do ( “come here,” for example), he will firmly say, “NO!”  If we try to take away the remote, the ice cream scooper, or a pair of scissors (home sluice is a stealthy drawer-raiding ninja) he throws himself to the ground and screams at the top of his lungs and writhes about.

If we won’t let him run amok in the bathroom simply because his brother forgot to close the door behind him, we have to drag him from the premises while he flails and wails. It’s good that we don’t have close neighbors on most sides because I’m sure it sounds like we are stabbing baby seals every time Charlie is displeased with the rules being enforced.

Tonight Cortney had to remove a mischievous Charlie from the bathroom so Eddie could take a bath. When Cort picked him up, Charlie arched his back and screamed. Cort had to set him down in the hall way on his back where he continued to scream cry for another couple minutes while we all ignored him.

Then he spotted a toy and was fine.

In fact, I think he stood up and sort of pranced to the toy and then did this little football huddle-like dance while giggling like a fool.

That is how The Bird rolls.


I’ll be honest, the first time Charlie threw a tantrum I just stood there staring.  And then started to laugh because WHAT WAS HAPPENING?  My sweet, chill boy turned into something that seemed demon-possessed. It was ridiculous.

That is when it hit me: this is what a tantrum looks like.

So I did what I could, I walked away from him.

There is no reasoning with a 19-month old anyway, especially one mid-temper-tantrum.

Plus watching him only exacerbates things because he tantrums harder because he wants you to stop looking at him.  No one said toddlers were super bright.

Honestly the tantrums are not a problem. Yet.  They are how Charlie is starting to show frustration and that is healthy, but it’s just another reminder to me how different children are.

But they have one thing in common: they know how to push each other’s buttons. Charlie knows exactly what will make Eddie yell, and Eddie knows how to launch Charlie into an epic tantrum (hint: tell him “no” or take something away from him. Then take cover.).

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Charlie working REALLY hard to get Eddie to freak out. It worked. About 30 seconds after I took this, Eddie had a meltdown about Bird being in his space.

As much as the yelling and screaming and seeing who can make my ears bleed faster can drive me batty some most days, it’s so fun to watch these two grow up together.  It’s REALLY fun to see Charlie’s personality take off now that he is learning to express himself.

Even if that expressing happens to be in a tantrum of epic proportions.


About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. OMG dude – Charlie and my Scrumps are exactly the same!! He’s such a good-natured kid about 80% of the time, and he reacts the same way when we say no, or he doesn’t get what he wants. I have learned to just leave him in a safe place (so he can’t hurt himself), and walk away. He usually gets over it in minutes. Then he’s back to his old happy self.

  2. Cheeks started epic meltdowns about that age.. We just taught her if she was going to throw a fit, it was fine, but we didn’t have to watch. So she has to go to her room to do it & even now at 8, she prefers to have her freak out behind closed doors. She got even MORE mad at me once b/c I wouldn’t let go inside and made her stay and talk about what was bothering her.

  3. May you never have to experience The Double Tanturm.

  4. Thankfully I’ve never had to deal with tantrums. Never from the girls. Cries of disappointment, sure, but just small little woe is me my life is awful I really wanted that toy kinds of cries. The boy has cried MORE but still not the I’ma just throw myself to the concrete kind. I am grateful. And also afraid for how they’ll rebel when older.

  5. My youngest is definitely the diva in the house and if you tell her no – she starts crying – at the drop of a hat. It is getting better now that she’s a bit older but some days all I wanted to do was lock her in her room… God luck!!! 🙂

  6. Both my kids are were excellent tantrum throwers and sometimes I think they are still not past that phase – at 16 and 12 years old 😉
    I guess you just call it a “fit” when they are older, but it really feels like the same thing. Like the fit my son had while walking to school because his shoes were not tied the same and one felt looser than the other… (yes, he ties his own shoes and he probably didn’t even know who he was yelling at).
    I feel ya when you write that you love watching his personality emerge – I felt the same way!

  7. The big girls have thrown their fair share of tantrums, but Zoe plays a whole different game. She knows the moves. She’ll slink off with her head down and give her most pitiful cry and say I don’t love her – things the big girls JUST started doing themselves. That kid.

  8. Oh see we had the opposite. Our first two could throw down like no one’s business. The last one could care less. I think he is my reward for not killing the first 2 in those days.. I really do.

  9. My guys both tried them out – but gave up on them once they realized that they weren’t getting much from them. Now we’re mostly left with crying – and a whole lot of negotiating from my oldest – if things are deemed to be unfair. 🙂

  10. Tantrums are the worst, especially in public. But they too will pass Hang in there, mama!

  11. I just taught a toddler class a few weeks ago and the most popular questions were about tantrums. It’s always interesting to see them starting to express themselves.

  12. Your lucky it started with your second – ha! All of mine have been tantrum throwers of some sort. Sounds like you handle it well though. I do love that pic of the boys on the couch together…. 🙂

  13. This is so going to be us. Challenging first child, mellow second. But take something away from Ethan and OH MY GOD.

  14. Erv is quite the little tantrum thrower, too. But instead of telling us “no” when he doesn’t want to do something, he says “I can’t.” We hear that a lot. Super fun. Ha!

  15. Tantrums are so common at this age.