Everyone gets angry at times—children and adults alike. Anger is an emotion that can range from slightly irritated, to moderately angry, to full-blown rage. And it can happen quickly.

A child’s anger naturally makes us feel uncomfortable. As a result, we may try to appease our child, give in to their demands, or avoid certain situations so that their anger goes away.

Alternatively, we may “bring down the hammer,” to put a stop to the anger through intimidation or punishment. In short, we get angry at their anger.

The fact is, your child will experience situations that trigger anger. You can’t stop the triggers, but you can give your child the tools to understand his anger and how to deal with it in an appropriate and reasonable manner.

“You can’t expect someone to control their emotions—you can only ask them to control their behavior.”

So what can parents do when faced with a supernova explosion of anger? Here are 9 tips you can begin to use today.

1. Don’t Try to Control Your Child’s Emotions

You can’t control your child’s emotions—and that’s okay. Emotions are normal—we all have them. But you can expect your child to control their behavior.

It’s okay and natural for a child to be angry at times, as long as that anger is expressed appropriately.

So, do not ask “How do I prevent my child from getting angry?” Instead, ask “How do I get my child to behave appropriately when she gets angry?”

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2. Try to Control Your Own Emotions

A child’s rage will often trigger a parent’s own emotions. How do you usually handle it when people are angry? Some people are very uncomfortable with anger—it makes them anxious or fearful.

For those of us who grew up in homes where anger meant shouting and danger, your child’s anger may push some of your emotional buttons. If you aren’t aware of your own issues, you could respond in ways that are a disservice to your child (such as giving in to what they want or yelling back).

If you start experiencing intense emotion yourself, take a breath and a mental step back. One trick is to picture your child as a neighbor’s kid. This can give you a little emotional distance.

Also, understanding where you are at with your ability to control your emotions can give you empathy about where your child is in developing this skill. It’s not easy—it takes discipline and practice. And remember, our kids are new at this.

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3. Don’t Escalate the Situation

Make sure your responses don’t escalate the situation. Just because you choose not to argue with your child doesn’t mean you’re giving in. Give your child some space and time to cool down.

If he’s screaming at you, it’s okay to wait to give a consequence. The time to say “That’s disrespectful! You’re grounded!” is not in the middle of an emotional tsunami. You can always hold your child accountable later on when things are calmer.

4. Help Your Child Recognize When Anger Is Building

There are physical signs of anger that your child can start to tune into: stomach clenching, a feeling of tension, feeling flushed, clenching teeth.

Sometimes when we’re angry, we hold our breath without realizing it.

If your child can notice these signs early on, it can keep anger from escalating to rage. An ounce of prevention really can be worth a pound of cure.

5. Talk About the Incident

When you are both calm, talk about the incident. Many kids will experience or express true remorse after having an emotional meltdown.

After screaming and throwing things, one teenager I worked with told his mom: “I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I do these things. There must be something wrong with me.”

If he’s open to talking and willing to learn anger management skills, you can help him work backward from the incident. What happened right before the rage was triggered? What was said? What was he feeling? Embarrassment, frustration, disappointment, fear, anxiety?

There is always another emotion underneath the anger. Learning to recognize underlying emotions is a powerful tool your child can use throughout life.

A word of caution: many kids, particularly those with oppositional defiant disorder, are not willing or trusting enough to explore this with a parent or therapist. If you make an effort to brainstorm solutions and he resists, drop the subject and see if you can come back to it at another time.

6. Remember That Emotion Is Different from Behavior

The problem isn’t the anger—it’s the behavior that follows. You can validate your child’s emotions while addressing the behavior that is a concern. You can say this to your child:

“I understand you were angry when I said you couldn’t go to your friend’s house. Sometimes there will be rules or limits that may frustrate you, but breaking things won’t change that rule or limit and will only end in a consequence for that behavior.”

Then help your child identify more positive ways he can express his emotions.

7. Minimize Contributing Factors

The way your child perceives a situation is at the heart of anger. However, you may want to keep a calendar on her mood if it seems things are escalating. Does she tend to be more irritable if she doesn’t get enough sleep, skips meals or has poor eating/snacking habits or otherwise isn’t feeling well physically?

Adolescence is well-known as a time of higher irritability for kids. This isn’t an excuse for negative behavior but it can explain why “little things” seem more irritating at different times.

8. Managing Explosive Rage

Some parents worry because a child’s anger is beyond what they would consider typical. Know that if your child exhibits explosive rage, you can still use the suggestions above to deescalate a situation.

If your child’s anger is extreme, you may want to seek counseling. Even if your child won’t participate, you can go yourself to get support and guidance.

No matter what degree of anger your child exhibits, the fact is, he is still responsible for managing that emotion.

And remember, it’s a learning process. It doesn’t happen overnight, but with support and encouragement, you can help your child continue to strengthen coping skills.

9. Managing ODD and IED Kids

Kids who are diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) will fight against being controlled in even the smallest way. These kids have trouble controlling their impulses and often lose their tempers in a way others don’t understand. One mom I worked with shared:

“I just don’t understand why my son gets so mad, so fast…over nothing! It can be as simple as me asking if he has homework or requesting that he put his backpack away. No matter how nicely I say it, he takes it as a criticism and starts yelling.”

That’s because her son sees almost everything his mom says as an effort to control him.

Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is another diagnosis parents may hear from mental health professionals. It means a child (or adult) is having episodes of intense rage that result in behavior such as screaming, throwing or breaking things, and aggression toward others.

This diagnosis is marked by episodes of anger that come and go (intermittent) and are intense or severe (explosive). The episode may appear to come out of nowhere, and the individual has difficulty managing the intense emotion.

The techniques above are particularly important for ODD and IED kids. But remember, no matter the diagnosis, your child is responsible for his own behavior and should be held accountable for his own behavior.

Notes and References

About and

Kimberly Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner are the co-creators of The ODD Lifeline® for parents of Oppositional, Defiant kids, and Life Over the Influence™, a program that helps families struggling with substance abuse issues (both programs are included in The Total Transformation® Online Package). Kimberly Abraham, LMSW, has worked with children and families for more than 25 years. She specializes in working with teens with behavioral disorders, and has also raised a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Marney Studaker-Cordner, LMSW, is the mother of four and has been a therapist for 15 years. She works with children and families and has in-depth training in the area of substance abuse. Kim and Marney are also the co-creators of their first children's book, Daisy: The True Story of an Amazing 3-Legged Chinchilla, which teaches the value of embracing differences and was the winner of the 2014 National Indie Excellence Children's Storybook Cover Design Award.

Comments (32)
  • Jen
    This was an informational article. Thank you
  • PattyL6
    My son is 6 years old. Diagnosis is Adhd, mood disorder, seperation anxiety, and explosives disorder. I deal with rage at least 2times a day. I get so angry and dont know how to handle it. Hes broke 4 flat screen tvs. Threatens to hurt himself and others. Had toMore hide all the knives in the house. I cant leave the house for 20 mins and im getting a call he is enraged because im not with him and hitting ppl and tearing things up. My anxiety is through the roof. They put him on meds. Dont seem to work. Idk what else to do. I cry every day. Any suggestions would be great
  • TJ
    We have been looking for answers for 9 years and at times almost given up, but i cant i have to keep trying to find the help my Grandaughter needs ! Since she was a toddler she would throw fits by throwing her self down on the grounds kickingMore and screaming and this would go on and on, mainley over not getting her way. we took her to the base doctor who referred her to a psychiatrist, which she went to for about 3 months, the psychiatrists said she recamended medication because she seen things in my grandaughter that she seen in her teenage patients (at the time my grandaughter was 6) so we go back to the base doctor to talk about the psychiatrists findings, and he says ... she dont need medication, you just need to take parenting classes. We were at a lose for words none of the other 3 siblings act nothing like this. So here we are now and she is 14, does not like being told no, will do what ever it takes by lying or manipulating to get what she wants. She is now cutting on herself, she has been hospitalized three times now and no one can tell us exactly what is wrong with her. She will tell you she does not beleave in violence,but doesnt hesitate to give her brother a black eye, when he is agravating her. Please if you have any sugestions please let me know, Thank you so much !
  • Kimi
    Unsure if this is a place to post here but this reading is our son. We adopted him at age 7 with his two sisters ages one and two. He was abused as a child. We have had our son in counseling since he was 11 full time on aMore weekly basics. Now he is 17 and counseling has not helped him or we just don't see it. He just scored a 32 on his ACT test and is very bright. With this he has ODD and ADHD. In the past 6 months he has started hitting us. His anger is out of control, mostly inside our home. With the counselor advise, he was diagnosed as Bi-.Polar 2. I'm having a hard time seeing this because he explodes on a monthly basis and not one or two episodes a year. We have had to put him in Juvey twice because of the anger. This is the third time and he hurt his father bad enough he had a concussion and marks all over him. He attack his sisters and myself. He ran off however we found him in hours and now he is in Juvey again for the third time in 6 months. How do we get some one to do a psy avail on him. Everyone things the counselor is right but we feel we need x-rays and a full body exam. As a parent I think what if when his birth parents choked him tell he passed out, there could be amiss in his brain. He is threating to kill us but they send him back home and he laughs. We are trying to get him in at ACH in our state for testing. Does CH do that? Please fill me in because I'm at a lost on what to do.
    • Cynthia A
      I have almost the same thing going on. I have a 12 year old adopted son that has hit both me and my husband. He has been to juvenile twice and is on probation. The last time he was out of control we took him to the ER and theMore doctor called a treatment facility and EMD transported him to there place. We where able to bring him home the same day but he is now going to there high intensity treatment school. And they are helping with meds. Also we now working with a neurologist to help with the other side of the condition. He does have ADHD and anxiety disorder. Both his biological parents where bipolar. So get starting hopefully some on some further testing. You know it's the bad words and disrespect that totally breaks my heart.
  • Elizabeth
    My 16 year old son bottles emotion. Today he got upset because he could not go with friends. He was in car sitting in passenger side. He kicked the window and broke it. He was crying after.
  • Maureen

    I too have an anisive child. She is my stepdaughter and she is now 7. 3 years ago we merged as a family, I have 17 year old twin girls and her sister who is 10.

    The little one has been diagnosed with ADHD, odd and mood disorder. She isn't as combative as she physically used to be, but she is aggressive towards her sister and disrespectful to me on a daily basis. I feel like I'm losing any connection emotionally with her because of her rages and defiance. I have gotten her therapy and on medication. It is putting a strain on me and my husband and last year I had moved out with my girls for 4 months. I thought she would appreciate me more when I came back but no. My daughters can't stand how his girls talk to me and I feel like this house is run by them. I feel like the daily insanity has made me mean and negative and I don't like who I am anymore. How do I walk away when she's exploding when I feel so angry? It is so hard , the hardest thing I've ever had in my life to live with a child who outbursts and won't listen and learn. She just doesn't care

  • Jamie

    Hi there....not sure what I am looking for, maybe it is just to vent my frustrations, so thank you for being my sounding board. I have 2 boys, 11 and 8...both are polar opposite, the older has been a handful from day one and the younger has never been like that. I embrace the differences, but my oldest knows what buttons to push and he pushes them frequently. He is also and extremely sensitive boy...takes everything to heart...internalizes his feelings, does not let us know something is bothering him and that's when we (my wife and I) get the backlash. Last night it all came to a head. He had a great group of friends and they all recently got phones. We have decided to wait until his birthday (sept 1) to get him his phone. He will be going into middle school and we thought at this point it would be good for him (and us) to have a form of communication. Well, since his friends all have phones now, they turned on him, are making fun of him and are just generally being mean. We try to explain that friends will come and go, that kids will be mean, that if they treat you like that for not having a phone then they weren't your friend to begin with. We try to say all the right things, but he's 11 and lets face it, when you are 11, friends are very important. So, back to last night....he was at a sleep over the night before and I know he does not do well with little sleep so this was a factor...also with the stress of needing to work on a summer school project coupled with his lack of sleep was a perfect storm. My wife was trying to help him with his project and he literally exploded. Lunged at my wife, wife had to push him away, he kept coming, she pushed him again, he kept coming, she had to push him down and restrain him...this was all happening when I was working in the basement and also happened in front of my 8 year old which really scared him. I came into the room to a firestorm of screaming/crying and general mayhem...I then restrained my son, and was so angry that he would actually try to hit/hurt my wife, his mother and I got in his face and in started screaming at him. This I know scared him and intimidated him, but I did not know how to handle this child that was full of rage. We sent him to his room, consoled our youngest son and all took a step back to regroup. Through all of this, we told him that getting his phone was "off the table", which then made the situation worse because the phone was his key to getting his friends back (which we know that is not the case, but you cant rationalize with an angry preteen. 

    I could hear my oldest in his room saying "this is all my friends fault, they made me like this, I am a good person but they made me like this"...so, knowing full on that he does not express his feelings, by what he was saying, only cements this fact even more. My concern is that he internalizes his feeling so much that he is a powder keg and will explode where ever and at whomever. With not talking about disappointment/sadness/frustration etc, we know this is not a good thing, but he wont....this can lead to many things down the road...depression, rage, getting into trouble, failed relationships, alcohol/drug abuse etc..

    After this incident, we as a family all sat down for a meeting. I explained all of this above and expressed my concerns etc. I think we need to see a therapist as a family and/or his seeing someone one on one for therapy so he can develop coping skills to manage life and its many stresses...My wife feels like a failure, as do I...we still feel horribly as for how things went down...we know he is in pain, but do not know how to deal with him with not dealing with his emotions....Life is complicated and if he cannot find the coping skills to deal with life now, I fear for him and his future. 

    Anyway, like I said, I am not sure what I am looking for, maybe just to unload these feelings of my own.

  • Britmain
    Hello my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD 2 years ago they put her on medicine then we had to see a different dr and he told me she does not have ADHD and ODD she only has anxiety and took her off her medicine. She willMore cry for hours on end over nothing even if she cry when she goes to bed she will wake up and she will start cry for the reason from last night. She has to have the last word in everything she hits others she will pull her hair. Also her socks have to be the right way or she can't put her shoes on and sometime it take 15 minutes just to get her shoes on bc of the socks. I'm a mother I'm not a dr but all these dr will not help and I need help plz help me help her .
    • Britmain
      Also my husband and I fight all the time. All I do is cry bc idk what else to do I'm so stressed out bc I don't know what to do for u her ni dr won't listen to me and her health insurance keep denying any testing idk whatMore to do
  • GrahamMoolman
    Hi, Firstly back ground. I live in Cape Town, South Africa. My wife and I are experiencing ODD with our 14 year old son. He holds lot of anger towards us but more so towards me his father.  The two of cant seem to get along. Everything between us isMore a huge fight or argument. He has physically tried to to take me on. It takes every ounce of me to control my temper and not to get into an altercation with him.  It seems to pleasure him to stress and tease his little brother of 8 years of age. My wife and are falling apart. Its affecting our marriage. We have both tried to reason with him when he calms down and explain to him his behavior is unacceptable. He keeps apologizing but refuses to learn from his mistakes. For us his apology does not have any meaning in it anymore. For us he only seems to care about himself, he has no respect towards anyone. For me he wants to be in charge. He wants to tell us how it will be and not us tell him. Its getting to the point where I want to tell him if that's what he wants then leave our house and go figure it out for yourself. A father is not suppose feel like this. I just want whats best for him. He attends a school that I can hardly afford. My wife and I are sacrificing our needs to give our children the best education we can afford so that they can leave this country and find a better life than here. I feel like a father who is failing at being a father. I feel I lack the necessary  tools  to teach him. Its important for a father to teach his sons how to become a man. But maybe therein lies the answer as i feel that my my father did not do his job properly. Don't miss understand me  i love my father dearly. But I feel he did not teach me on how to become a man properly as he himself was a very young man when he became a father.
  • Losinginla
    What can a parent do if their child is now an adult (19) but has never been diagnosed and the child is unwilling to see that something is wrong.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Losinginla

      You bring up a tough dilemma. At this point, there really

      isn’t much a parent can do if their adult child doesn’t want to be evaluated or

      assessed for a mental health issue. When a child transitions into adulthood,

      the parent role changes, from that of a manager to more of a consultant. What

      the parent is

      responsible for also changes, and the focus becomes more about defining his/her

      own limits and boundaries. For more information on the changing role of the

      parent, you can check out the 2 part article series by Debbie Pincus: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/adult-children-living-at-home-how-to-manage-without-going-crazy/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/adult-children-living-at-home-part-ii-9-rules-to-help-you-maintain-sanity/. We

      appreciate you writing in. Take care.

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    SAMMY34

    What an upsetting situation. I can only imagine how

    distressing this must be for you and your daughter. It’s unfortunate that her

    lawyer doesn’t seem to be helping her case. Has she considered finding another

    lawyer? The 211 helpline would be able to give you information on legal

    services in your area. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling

    1-800-273-6222 or by going online to http://www.211.org/.

    It might also be helpful to find out if there are any other types of support

    services available for either you or your daughter. It sounds like this has

    been going on for awhile and it’s starting to take a toll on you. Finding

    people you can talk to about what you’re going through could be helpful. The

    Helpline can also give you information on resources like parent/grandparent

    support groups, counselors, and other services. I encourage you to look into

    local supports who may be able to help you through this difficult time. Good

    luck to you and your family moving forward. Take care.

  • mella3
    I have 13yr old son who has sensory disorder and was doing well with no anger outburst. In the last few months he has had horrible anger. Breaking things at school and at home. I am lost and don't know what to do. He was actuallyMore expelled for a day. He is such a sweet boy with a great heart but his anger takes over him. Gets very aggressive at times. Any advice.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      mella3

      Dealing with aggressive behavior can be distressing. It may

      help to know that most kids act out aggressively because they lack the

      necessary skills for coping with tough situations. Because your son has a

      sensory disorder, it is going to be important to work with someone who is

      familiar with your son. While there’s never an excuse for aggressive behavior,

      taking into account the impact the sensory disorder may have on his behavior is

      going to be essential. If your son currently has a counselor or other

      professional he is working with, I would check in with him/her about this

      issue. If your son is not currently working with anyone, you could contact the

      211 Helpline for information on services and supports in your area. You can

      reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222 or by going online

      to http://www.211.org/. In the meantime, you may find

      these articles useful for your situation: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/aggressive-child-behavior-part-i-fighting-in-school-and-at-home/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/aggressive-child-behavior-part-ii-7-tools-to-stop-fighting-in-school-and-at-home/. We

      apprercaite you writing in. Take care.

  • Angeladoble

    I see that Parenting Support replies here, wheww.... I have a question. My 12 year old son holds on to a lot of anger, he escalates quickly and is pretty intense but not violent. He does yell at his 10 year old brother a lot and is mean to him. His brother (Alex 10) has Asperger's (mild) and does some different things sometimes and that can irritate Ryan (12 yr old) very quickly. My biggest fear is that Ryan will not talk about with me and the mention of a therapist makes him meltdown again. Now, what I contribute to these emotions. Most of it is the fact that their father worked over seas on contract jobs since Ryan was 5 and has only been here for 2 years of his life since. While he was here he was married to his 3rd wife and didn't take much interest in the children besides fighting me for anything and everything. As it happens his last contract ended December 2014 and he moved to Poland to live by his married girlfriend (divorced wife 3 by this time). Both my boys hold a lot of hurt and anger towards their father and I really don't know how to handle it. I have said to them before that it is not an excuse for bad behavior, but it breaks my heart at the same time. Not to mention the fact that I hate their father too but I do not share that with the boys. When they do open up some I tell them they need to talk to their father about it. He calls almost every evening but so far has seen them one a year for ten days each. Being 12 and having so much hurt and anger scares me to death!! I don't want to screw them up. Any advice? By the way... the ten year old with Aspergers is going to a therapist tomorrow - wish me luck!! 

    Angela

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Angeladoble

      I’m sorry to hear your sons have not had much contact with

      their father. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if this is having a negative

      impact on your son’s behavior. It can be so distressing to watch your child

      struggle through tough situations. It may help to know that much of what you

      describe is pretty normal behavior between siblings. As James Lehman explains

      in the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/siblings-at-war-in-your-home-declare-a-ceasefire-now/, sibling rivalry is normal

      in families with more than one child. We have several articles that offer tips

      for helping your son learn to get along better. One in particular you may find

      helpful is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/sibling-fighting-5-ways-to-teach-your-kids-to-get-along/. We wish you the best of

      luck moving forward. Take care.

  • Cynthia
    My 7 year old son has no angry out bursts and listens and follows instructions at school and at his fathers house but when we his at my house he is very hard to get along with, talks down to numerous people in the house and is known as theMore angry child. I have tried talking with him, putting him in his room for timeouts, and taking away things and nothing seems to get through to him. I am now at a loss of what to do and why he feels it is okay to act like this.
  • Lost in love
    ...my 11 yrd old son has angry, violent outburts almost every time he returns home from his fathers on the weekends. This last one resulted in the police being called to our home (last night) after he attempted to do damage to my vehicle. This stemmed from him beingMore told he had to do the dishes as punishment for his behavior earlier in the evening and escalated from there into things in the house being thrown around, trying to get pysical with me and his sister and horrible awful things being said to which i tend to respond to with the same attitude after my temper has been lost. I am threatened by him that he is going to go live with his Dad almost every week as he knows how much this hurts me to hear. He says when calm that he does not want to go there though. I feel lost and helpless in these situations and feel like the entire household is being run by him as we just want him to be happy so we tend to give in to his demands. He has no respect for anyone in the home and gave the impression to the officer last nite that he is being abused here and that is the farthest thing from the truth. I am so sad and need any help that you cld give me and my son to help us into brighter days.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Lost in love

      What a distressing situation. I’ve spoken with many parents

      in similar situations who have described similar acting out behavior on transition days so, you’re

      not alone. One thing that may be helpful is developing some structure around

      transition. On days when he’s returning from his dad’s house, you might limit

      the activity within the household to allow the children some time to adjust

      back into your family’s routine. You might have each child spend some quiet

      time in their room for the first half hour or so. I would also limit your

      interactions to just the basics – I wouldn’t try to have a lot of conversations

      or give consequences in the moment. If your son acts out, I would focus on

      disconnecting and walking away instead of trying to address the behavior at

      that time. You can hold him accountable for his behavior the following day and

      also problem solve with him ways he can handle the situation more appropriately

      next time. For more information on developing a transition plan, you can check

      out James Lehman’s article http://www.empoweringparents.com/Do-You-Dread-Coming-Home-To-Your-Kids.php#ixzz3tlm9C6R6. I hope you find this information

      useful. Be sure to check back if you have any further questions. Good luck to

      you and your family moving forward.

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    @Broken

    What an upsetting situation. I can hear how distressed you

    are with how you responded when your son was being physically aggressive with

    you. There aren’t any specific programs, counselors, or therapists we are able

    to recommend. You may find it helpful to contact the 211 Helpline, a nationwide

    referral service, for guidance in finding supports in your area. You can reach

    the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222 or by visiting them

    online at http://www.211.org/. We appreciate you reaching

    out to Empowering Parents for help with this difficult situation. Good luck to

    you and your family moving forward. Take care.

  • Lanthony1029
    This also sounds exactly like my 12 year old son. We have taken him to the doctor and to counseling (!which he refused to participate in). He seems to be getting more difficult with age - which I'm guessing could be hormone related, but we are at our wits end.More I have truly tried everything. Every suggestion that I have been given and everything I have read about and no success. He is great at school and everywhere else, he plays sports, has good grades, etc. He has no respect for myself or his father , has no response to consequences and does not care what we say about anything. I am lost. I don't know where to turn. If you have any suggestions I would appreciate them. It is good to know at least that we are not alone in this situation.
  • ScaredMommy
    My 16 yo stepson is a constant struggle. He is very violent and breaks everything in the house. He has assault charges from people he has hurt outside of the family. The police have been called to our house many times (3 times in the last week) He has beenMore to psychiatrists, psychologists, is still seeing a Councellor, angermanagement, and has even been admitted to the mental hospital for his aggressive behaviour. It seems anything can set him off and we tippy-toe around his emotions to avoid the fight but it never works. He is living with my husband and I and our 1yo and 2yo. As much as I want to be supportive of my husband and his son, I don't think I am able to stay in the household with my little ones. I hate to give altimatums but I can't keep my children in a violent, angry home as I fear this will negatively affect them. If I leave, I fear my relationship won't survive and I don't want to leave my husband alone with him as I fear the worst. We could kick him out but he has literally nowhere to go as the rest of his family can no longer handle the stress and anger. I feel stuck in a trap and don't know what to do. I don't want to take my kids away from their home and their father, who is really amazing father and is everything to them, but I can't live like this anymore. What do I do? There is no one left to help us.
    • Debdeb13
      ScaredMommy Call NAMI and find out more info about mental illnesses. If he hasn't been diagnosed then at least you can learn for yourself what might be happening to your stepson. They have a great support system. My heart goes out to you.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      ScaredMommy 

      It’s a very challenging situation you are in right now, and

      it’s understandable that you would feel fearful and torn about which steps to

      take next.  Ultimately, the choice of whether to stay or leave is up to

      you.  I see that you have utilized numerous resources to help you manage

      your stepson’s behavior.  If you haven’t already done so, it could be

      useful to look into some local supports, such as an individual or family

      counselor, to help you figure out your next steps.  For assistance

      locating resources in your community, try contacting the http://www.211.ca/ at 1-800-836-3238.  I recognize

      what a difficult situation this must be for you, and I wish you all the best as

      you continue to move forward.  Take care.

  • Adri
    chrisdemko Hi, I just saw your post on this website and your son sounds exactly like my 10 year old daughter!  We are at a loss as of what to do.  She has been through outpatient and inpatient treatment for her rage.  I noticed that you said that you wereMore able to get your son't brain scanned.  How were you able to do that?  Did you make a special request with your primary care physician?  Any help is appreciated- thanks!
  • worriedmom
    My 18 year old has had some "raging' episodes, about 4 in the past 2 months. This is so out of character for him, he's always been a mild mannered person. I know he's been under a huge amount of stress. With work and problems with his car and girlfriend. More It scares his Dad & I when all of a sudden he starts yelling and punching walls, it's like he's possessed, it lasts about 30 mins then he calms down, cries and feels bad. He's called some "helpline" in the past where they gave him ideas on what to do when he feels it coming on  - like count from 10 to 1, talk a walk, picture a STOP sign, all these seemed feasible; but when he had another episode none of these worked. He then began to doubt that there is any help for him. He doesn't want to be put on an medication that would alter his personality as these episodes don't occur daily. As parents we are at our wit's end. Now we walk on eggshells around him. Has regular conselling proven to work in dealing with these situations. I'm hoping this is just temporary as he's still a child trying to cope with life as an adult. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @worriedmom 

      It’s understandable that you would be concerned about the

      recent changes in your son’s behavior, especially since it is such a drastic

      change.  Something we talk about frequently with parents is that, many

      times, kids will act out inappropriately because they http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php.  In addition, the onset of young

      adulthood with all of the associated responsibilities can bring new stressors

      that can leave many feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with these new

      situations.  Some people have found that talking with someone, such as a

      counselor or therapist, can be very helpful in learning new skills as well as

      strategies for implementing them.  For assistance locating available

      support in your area, try contacting the http://www.211.ca/ at 1-800-836-3238.  I also encourage you to keep in mind that

      it is incredibly difficult for most people to implement new behaviors,

      especially during times of high stress and strong emotions.  Therefore, it

      can be useful to remind your son even if something didn’t work the first time,

      that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work at all.  I recognize how difficult

      this situation is for all of you.  I hope that you will continue to check

      in and let us know how things are going.  Take care.

  • andbren
    My child is good at home, no problems with behaviors. Everyday that he is dropped off at school he looses it. When separated from his parents or siblings he goes into what I call"fight or flight" mode. He becomes destructive, triesMore to run away, hits, kicks, bites, hides. ....anything he can to not go into class. He is four years old. I'm tired of the school telling me that he"can control his behaviors", "appears to understand the consequence, but chooses to act this way", "conciously making a decision to act this way" I disagree, I feel that he gets so anxious over having to separate that he"reacts" to how he feels. He has no coping skills and at his age its difficult to teach him. I have a behavior meeting next week and would love some literature to bring to explain to them that due to his age and anxiety that this is his reaction/escape of his feelings?
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      andbren

      I hear you. I can be so tough when your child seems to

      behave one way with you and another way at school or away from home. You’re

      right that part of what may be going on is lack of effective problem solving

      skills. That, coupled with low frustration tolerance, can cause many young

      children to melt down when faced with everyday challenges. It is possible to

      help your son develop these skills, as Sara Bean explains in her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/how-to-teach-your-child-to-behave.php#ixzz3bGLjnYBH.

      And, while it may seem as though your son lacks the ability to develop these

      skills due to his age, as long as he is on track developmentally, he is

      probably able to start having basic problem solving conversations with you. We

      have several articles that focus on parenting young children. Two in particular

      you may find useful are http://www.empoweringparents.com/young-kids-at-school-4-top-issues-that-cause-a-rocky-start.php#ixzz3bGN4T4IH & http://www.empoweringparents.com/Reduce-Back-to-School-Anxiety-for-Young-Children.php#ixzz3bGNPpdm0. We

      appreciate you writing in. Take care.

  • my3buddies
    I have 18 yr. Old twins, and a 21 year old. All boys! The twins get along fine, but my 21 year old doesn't talk to one of the twins. Its so upsetting to him and me to see this! They had a huge fight a few years ago, andMore haven't spoken since. I have sit them both down and try to get them communicating, but it doesn't work! Neither one even remember what the fight was even about. When I tell them how upsetting this is to me, they will communicate for a little while, but then that's it. What can I do to help this situation!
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