Temper tantrums. They arrive like tornados, sudden, swift, and devastating. We'll be out, or at home, in synagogue, or even at a party when something will happen that is unexpected or disappointing to my just turned three-year-old daughter. And due to her age, personality, effort to assert her independence, or all three, she will erupt into an ear drum blowing tantrum.

Last December, when she was still two, her episodes peeked. In one occasion we were in a nearby mall. It was a favorite spot for my kids as it housed a merry-go-round, pet store, and play area under one roof. We had just disembarked from the merry-go-round and were in happy spirits. As it was the secular holiday season, the ride attendant was handing out candy canes to all the children.

She was strong and her defiance made her even mightierBefore I could subtly signal to her that we wouldn't be needing any candy my daughter eagerly stretched out her little hand. "I'm so sorry, little one," I said. "We can't eat that candy because it's not---" and before the words 'kosher' left my mouth she was spread eagle on the sticky, grubby floor, legs kicking, arms thrashing.

Initially I tried to move her into the stroller for her safety and the safety of others but it was a futile attempt. Though petite, she was strong and her defiance made her even mightier.

A couple of weeks later, on Chanukah, I brought her brother and her to an indoor play-ground set up by Chabad near our house. Given that it was about twenty degrees outside, the warm, fun filled space was a treat for all of us. I was unusually lenient with the sweets, activities, and the like and let my kids enjoy their Chanukah festivity.

After a couple of warnings I announced that it was time to go. I didn't anticipate a protest given that my daughter seemed to be getting bored and was absentmindedly fiddling with my skirt. "Can we go to the park now?" She asked hopefully. "No," I explained, "It's too cold outside. But maybe we can go to the library." No sooner did I finish the word 'library' that she was on the floor again, rolling, kicking and screaming that nothing would do but the glacial park.

I don't give into these explosions of emotions. I've read the literature to ignore and contain the tantruming child which I've tried to follow dutifully. But to my shock, dismay and even guilt that I have not raised her well, they keep on coming. So, while I experience this childhood phase of extreme sentiment, instead of dwelling on the past and what I might have done to cause it I try to explore on how I can mature as a mother from the present situation.

I don’t give into these explosions of emotionsFirst of all, I can practice the middah, the character trait of patience and controlling my emotions. In the beginning of this phase, due to my alarm and embarrassment, I would match my daughter with emotional response. "Get up!" I would cry, "What are you doing?" This, I soon learned, often made the situation considerably worse. Not only did her cries escalate but I became angry and frazzled would often stew in my upset long after the episode was over.

Now I take a deep breath and attempt to calmly remove her from the area, if possible. Otherwise, I just focus on something neutral in the space, and ride the wave until it's over. Only after she has emerged from her throws of distress and is able to listen do I approach exploring and giving consequences to her behavior.

Second, I can apply the mitzvah of not judging others, particularly the tantrum onlookers and other parents experiencing their own screaming brood. Though I consider myself a pretty forgiving person, back in the days before children I too would glance pityingly at a yelling child, wondering what the family could have done to create such a miserable situation. Now as I have found myself in the same situation that I had previously looked down upon, I have learned to view the onlookers with understanding and others in similar boats with empathy.

And third, and this is the hardest lesson to come to, I have learned to see my daughter as a real person with particular needs. My days are no longer my own, but are shared with someone who has very different wants, needs, and opinions. When she was a baby, or even a young toddler, I could manipulate a situation by merely picking her up or giving her a snack or favorite toy. Now she's too big, too strong, and too aware to placate with a mere physical change of scenery or a nosh.

Instead, I avoid emotional breakdowns by trying to understand her feelings in a certain situation. If she refuses to get dressed in the morning, I attempt to uncover the root of the defiance instead of jumping to the conclusion that she's just being difficult. Oftentimes, I have made the request too abruptly and she just wants a couple of minutes to be able to finish a game that she was playing or put a dolly to sleep—activities that are as important to her as making lunch and getting the diaper bag ready are to me.

I have learned to see my daughter as a real person with particular needsOnce a compromise is made, she frequently follows my request willingly. If she does not hold her end of the bargain, however, I establish boundaries by giving her distinct and fair consequences for her actions, such as losing a special snack after school. While the transition from baby and toddler to small, willful child was difficult, I have learned to tolerate and even embrace the change by growing to understand my daughter.

Though the tantrums are less frequent now, and for that I am grateful, I have tried to hold onto the teachings I learned in the interim. Hopefully each phase that my children will go through will not only help them thrive as human beings but help me grow as well.