Maggie Dent says toddler tantrums and meltdowns are part of normal developmental behaviour…

Is there anything worse than being out in a public place only to have your child throw a spectacular tantrum without warning? Many parents are willing to do whatever it takes to avoid this situation, but parenting expert Maggie Dent says we shouldn’t be so afraid of a little foot stamping every now and then…

Nothing Has Changed

Maggie, a mum of four boys herself and author of countless parenting books, says that the fundamental things that children need as part of healthy development have remained the same. “I’m an old mum, but my message is the fundamental things children need hasn’t changed at all,” she told the ABC. “The sorts of things that push our buttons as parents are developmentally normal – things like sleeping problems with children, toilet training, meltdowns and toddler tantrums.” Maggie says that the mounting pressure to raise a tantrum free child is largely the result of  the introduction of social media and online forums over the past 20 years. “Our stress levels are higher and our children are feeling it,” she said.


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 Completely Normal

Maggie believes that a child having a meltdown is not always a reflection on the parents. “They’re all completely normal,” she said. “What happens when we get frustrated and we’ve tried things is we think we’re a lousy parent.” When Princess Charlotte famously threw a tantrum on the tarmac in Germany back in 2017, you could almost feel a collective sigh of relief from parents worldwide – even the royals have the odd toddler outburst to deal with now and again!


Has your child thrown an epic tantrum in public? Share your story in the comments.

  • It’s something we all have to deal with in one way or another. Thanks for the post.


  • Everyone has meltdowns, just look at some adults. Some of them haven’t learnt to control their own behaviour. Sometimes it is their way of letting their parents know they aren’t coping with something at the time and if they are quite young that is their only way of expressing what they are feeling at the time. Showing them understanding and patience helps and trying to distract them if possible. we were all children once.


  • Not something I think I ever embraced. I did manage to ignore which seemed to work. Thankfully they didn’t happen much in public


  • I think I have been lucky avoiding this. My daughter knows that if she wants something she can have 1 item per shop under $5 so she spends her time carefully picking. My son just wants to run up and down the isles and he is happy


  • It definitely helps when you’re just empathic towards their frustration


  • When my youngest was small he would throw a tantrum when in the shop because he couldn’t have what he wanted. I would just say to him “Okay I’m going now so bye”. Then I’d go to the checkout, pack my shopping and put it in the car. Then I’d wait in the seat just outside the shop and wait for him to come out. It was safe to do because I live in a very small country town and knew everyone. Definitely wouldn’t have tried this if we lived in a city or large town.


  • With our youngest we’ve had a few small ones, now he just gets grumpy and walks around with a grumpy face lol


  • I appreciate all of that but… when you’ve had a hard day and in the middle of another meltdown… it’s easier said than done. I carried my son out of a Shopping Centre kicking and punching me, that was our worst. But, I now understand it was a meltdown and not a tantrum (very different), as my son has ASD and he was undiagnosed at the time. It explained why those tantrums went for so long and were so intense.


  • Of course and you just need to say behind the behaviour what they’re communicating


  • It’s a normal emotion that we as adults have sometimes too


  • My son liked to put his arms up straight so that he would slip straight out of you trying to pick him up then lay on the floor if he didn’t agree with you


  • My 1st never really has tantrums. He is quite reasonable when he gets angry or frustrated.


  • Mine haven’t but I have seen others do it. It always makes me smile when I see it though as i remember mine at home when they were little.


  • Not me son but my 22months is try to do them


  • Tantrums only really bothered me if it was a situation that would be unpleasant for others, and I couldn’t easily remove my son.


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