Helena Mooney



When your child is having a tantrum or an emotional outburst it’s easy to feel irritated, frustrated, worried, embarrassed, overwhelmed or angry.

But when you see just how beneficial tantrums can be, you can start to see them as healthy ways for your child to offload their stress & upset feelings with you.

Because your child’s behaviour is governed by their emotions, so when you effectively help your child with their emotions, then their behaviour automatically improves.

Let’s flip the old view of tantrums, start to see the benefits of them and understand what your child really needs during those times to help them the most which, in turn, makes your life as a parent so much easier.

Key points to remember when your child is having a tantrum:

  1. your child can’t help it – they’re not doing this deliberately
  2. there’s a really good reason why your child is behaving in this way, even if you don’t know what it is and even if you don’t agree with it
  3. the underlying reason is usually not about the issue they’re crying about
  4. tantrums are healthy responses to stress – they’re a highly effective way for your child to offload upset feelings which are driving their challenging behaviour

It’s such a relief to know that, when you hold the space, offer empathy and stay with your child whilst they tantrum, the benefits are significant.  

They strengthen your connection and, importantly lead to your child feeling relaxed, being more cooperative, more loving, more resilient, more confident

The next time your child becomes spectacularly unreasonable about something, you can move in with play first to see if connection and laughter is going to be enough.  If it’s not – if play doesn’t ‘work’, or your child is already starting to cry and rage, then remember:

  • Your child needs you to help them through it
  • Stay close, listen, offer empathy and your connection
  • Allow full expression.  Allow them to physically move within a contained, safe space and to have freedom of the mouth – to say whatever they need to say. .  
  • Don’t try to placate, justify, defend, distract, shush, shame, etc.
  • Stay close and listen (listen 75%, talk 25%)
  • You can counter in a way that’s helpful to help your child work on the feelings .  E.g. I know you can do this.  I love you.  I know you’re finding this hard.
  • Your child will finish when they’re done – they won’t tantrum just for the sake of it. 

I know it can be hard, especially to begin to start to be with your child in this way.  But know that the benefits are so so worth it!