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The Hidden Reason for Whining, Fussing and Tantrums

Fuss and Tantrums

Most often, the Big Three – whining, fussing and tantrums – are caused by a child’s inability to express or control their emotions. They have huge feelings bottled up inside and they don’t know how to deal with them. This is further complicated by the influence of other people’s demands and external conditions. 

 “When I get upset at my daughter, I find myself telling her "Sorry honey, mommy is really tired right now and that makes me more frustrated." Then I thought, WOW! That's the same reason she gets upset, too. I think we just forget that our kids really are humans like we are, with needs, desires, and frustrations that affect their behavior.” ~ Kristi, mother to Arianna, age 3

Tiredness, hunger, frustration and many of the other causes that ignite The Big Three can sometimes be avoided, modified or eliminated. At the very least, identifying them can help you understand your child’s behavior.

When you can pinpoint the root reason for your child’s unpleasant behavior and address that issue directly, you can calm your child and stop the whining or tantrum in its tracks. 

If you become very observant and learn how to identify your child’s emotional triggers before they are pressed, you may be able to prevent many negative situations from even happening in the first place. 

Remember that all children are different, all parents are different, and all situations are different. So the ideas that you use may change from situation to situation, from child to child and from day to day. Be flexible and practice with those solutions that seem to bring you the best results.


These tips are from The No-Cry Discipline Solution 

Elizabeth Pantley's picture
No-Cry Solution Series Author

Elizabeth Pantley is a parent educator, mother of four, and the author of the now-classic baby sleep book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution, as well as six other books in the series, including The No-Cry Separation Anxiety SolutionThe No-Cry Potty Training SolutionThe No-Cry Discipline Solution, The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution, plus other successful parenting books. She is known worldwide as the practical, reasonable voice of respectful parenting.