Every little thing after that was met with another tantrum. Photo: stock
Every little thing after that was met with another tantrum. Photo: stock Oksana_Alex

OPINION: Hell hath no fury like a kid throwing a tantrum

HELL hath no fury like a three year old throwing a tantrum.

I learned this the hard way recently when my son threw the mother of all tantrums in the foyer of the Melbourne Museum.

All because he didn't want to leave.

He then carried on crying, screaming and wailing like a wounded animal all the way across the courtyard to the park.

My efforts en route to calm him down were thwarted. If I spoke to him he wailed louder. In the end, I walked ahead with my daughter and my mother-in-law took him aside.

She managed to get him to calm down and stop wailing (thank goodness, it was like fingernails on a blackboard) but that set the precedence for the day.

Every little thing after that was met with another tantrum.

I had never seen him act like this. And I couldn't understand why.

We were in Melbourne. We'd taken him to the toy department in Myer, to the Jurassic Park exhibit at the museum, to the park…we were doing all these nice things for him and he was repaying us with tears and tanties.

It was exhausting. And embarrassing as many of these melt downs were in public.

Trying to push a pram while your three-year-old clings to the side crying and screaming as you negotiate the lunchtime crush in Melbourne's busy CBD. Not cool.

It wasn't until we were in the car heading home after our jaunt that he apologised for his behaviour.

"But why did you act like that?" I asked him.

He shrugged his shoulders.

As he slept on the drive home I tried to reason his actions with my mother-in-law.

Maybe he felt out of control or overwhelmed, maybe it was being in an unfamiliar town?

When I spoke to my husband about it and why he could have acted the way he did, he had a one word answer: three.

He is three.

Is this the answer to his behaviour? He's simply just at that age where tantrums are the norm?

The Australian Government seems to think so.

According to the Better Health website tantrums are a normal part of child development and they are a young child's way of expressing their feelings.

Being stressed, hungry, frustrated, tired, overstimulated or confused are often tantrum triggers, they say.

They also have these tips for dealing with a tantrum in public:

• Don't lose your cool
• Remember that other parents will be feeling for you
• Go home if the tantrum is severe or prolonged - you both may need a time out
• Don't put yourself down or lose hope if you give in to the tantrum
• Have a strategy for dealing with tantrums and stick to it, no matter what

How do you deal with a tantrum?

Alexia Purcell is APN Australian Regional Media's social media editor.

Connect with Alexia on Twitter or on Facebook.