Angry Child Outbursts: 10 Essential Rules for Dealing with an Angry Child


Angry pre-teen child

If you’re a parent, it is a certainty that you have had to deal with an angry child. Often, we end up in shouting matches with our kids, or we freeze up, not knowing what to do when an angry outburst occurs.

Anger is a normal emotion in kids and adults alike. But how we express and deal with our feelings of anger is the difference between living in relative peace and feeling like we are at our wits’ end.

Learning to manage angry children and teens is an ongoing process and an important skill to learn. Read on to learn our top 10 rules for dealing with an angry child.

1. Don’t Yell at or Challenge Your Child During an Angry Outburst

Many times parents deal with angry outbursts by challenging their kids and yelling back. But this will just increase your feeling of being out of control. The best thing you can do is remain calm in a crisis.

Think of it this way: even if you get into a car accident and the other driver jumps out and is furious at you, if you can remain calm, they will probably start to relax and be reasonable. But if you come back at them with an aggressive response, and say, “What are you talking about, that was your fault,” the tension just stays at that heightened place.

So don’t challenge your child when he’s angry. That’s just adding fuel to the fire. Instead, patiently wait until he calms down.

Related content: Parenting an Angry, Explosive Teen: What You Should—and Shouldn’t—Do

2. Don’t Try to Reason with Your Child During an Angry Outburst

Many parents I talk with fall back on logic when their kids are angry. After all, as adults, we reason through things to defuse tense situations. But, reasoning with an angry kid is always a challenge because they don’t have the same capacity as we do to stop and reason.

So when you’re dealing with your angry child, you have to leave that verbal place where you feel pretty comfortable and use different techniques. Saying, “Why are you mad at me? You were the one who forgot your homework at school,” will only make your child angrier. Instead, wait until he calms down and then talk it through later.

3. Pay Attention to Your Reactions

It’s important to watch your reactions, both physical and mental. Your senses will tell you “Yikes, I’m in the presence of somebody who is very upset.” You’ll feel your heart start beating faster because your adrenaline will be heightened. Even though it’s difficult, the trick is to act against that in some way and try to stay calm.

Remember, you’re lending your children your strength in these moments. By staying calm, you’re showing them how to handle anger. By staying calm, you’re not challenging your child to engage in a power struggle.

Also, paying attention to your reactions will help your child pay attention to himself because he won’t need to worry about you or your emotions. When you don’t respond calmly, your child will work even harder at his tantrum to try to get you to pay attention to him. So you have to tap into some solid parenting skills to handle the outburst quickly and effectively.

4. Don’t Get Physical with Your Child

In our online parent coaching sessions, we sometimes hear from parents who have lost it and gotten physical with their kids. I took a call from a dad whose teenage son mouthed off to his mom, and the father shoved him. The fight escalated.

Afterward, the son would not speak to his father because he felt his dad should apologize to him. The father, on the other hand, felt that his son caused the problem and worried that his authority would diminish if he apologized. Here is what I advised him to say:

“I lost control and it was wrong for me to shove you. I apologize.”

That’s it. Nothing more. End of story. We all make mistakes from time to time and we apologize, make amends if necessary, and move on.

Don’t go into your child’s role in that situation at all because it is an attempt to place the blame on someone else for your actions. Instead, you want to teach your child how to take responsibility and make a genuine apology.

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Don’t worry, you will have other opportunities to work with your child around being mouthy or defiant. But it’s important to be a good role model and address your role in the fight going south. Remember, if you get physical with your child, among other things, you’re just teaching him to solve his problems with aggression.

Related content: How to Deal with a Mouthy Child

5. Take a Different Approach with Younger Kids

If your small child (eighteen months to age four) is in the midst of a temper tantrum, you want to move ever so slightly away from him, but don’t isolate him completely. When small kids are upset, you want to help them to start to learn that they can have a role in calming themselves down. You can say:

“I wish I could help you calm yourself down. Maybe you can lie on the couch for a little bit.”

So have them calm down until they feel in control. By doing that you’re asking them to pay attention to themselves. So instead of, “You have to sit there for ten minutes by yourself,” it’s better to say:

“When you feel better and you’re not upset anymore, you can come on out and join us.”

You can also give them a choice. You can say:

“Do you need time to go into your room and get it together?”

Again, don’t challenge them when they’re in that mode.

Related content: Dealing with Child Temper Tantrums

6. Don’t Freeze Up When Your Child Has a Tantrum

Some parents freeze up when their kids throw tantrums or start screaming at them. The parent is emotionally overwhelmed and becomes paralyzed with indecision or gives in to the child.

If this is you, you may find that sometimes your child will get angry on purpose to engage you. They’ll bait you by throwing a fit or saying something rude because they know that this will cause you to give in. Don’t take the bait. Don’t get angry and don’t give in.

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I think parents sometimes tend to negotiate with their child in these situations. Often, parents are having a hard time managing their own emotions and so they don’t know how to coach their child properly at that moment.

But remember, if you give in and negotiate, even every once in a while, you’re teaching your child that it’s worth it to act out. Instead, let your child calm down and try to coach them to use his problem-solving skills later.

Related content: Anger with an Angle: Is Your Child Using Anger to Control You?

In my opinion, when you refuse to negotiate you’re not being passive. On the contrary, you are consciously choosing to not get into an argument. You’re saying, “I’m not going to negotiate. I’m going to be calm.” Although it may not seem like it on the surface, all of those choices are actions.

7. Give Consequences for the Bad Behavior, Not for the Anger

When your child throws a tantrum, starts screaming, and loses it, make sure you give him consequences based on his behavior and not on his emotions.

For example, if your child swears at you during his angry outburst, give him a consequence later for swearing. But if all he does is stomp into his room and yell about how life isn’t fair, I would let that go. Anger is a normal emotion and kids get angry just like we do. And they need to feel that they have a safe place to let off steam.

As long as they’re not breaking any rules and not being disrespectful, I think you should allow them to have that time to be angry.

8. Don’t Give Overly Harsh Punishments

Giving harsh punishments in the heat of the moment is a losing proposition. Here’s why. Let’s say your child is angry. He’s having a tantrum and shouting and screaming at you. You keep saying, “If you don’t get it together, I’m going to take away your phone for a week. Okay, now it’s two weeks. Keep it up…now it’s a month. Do you want to keep going?”

But to your dismay, your child keeps going and you keep escalating the punishment. His anger is out of control and the more you try to punish him to force him to stop and get control of himself, the worse he gets.

We have a name for that kind of discipline: It’s called “consequence stacking.” What’s happening here is that the parent is losing emotional control. I understand that it is hard to tolerate it when your kid is upset. We don’t like it. But what you want to try to ask yourself is, “What do I want my child to learn?”

And the answer is probably something like: “I want him to learn how to not throw a fit every time he has to do something he doesn’t want to do. I want him to learn that when he gets upset, there’s an appropriate way to get out of it.”

The worst thing you can do is join him and get upset yourself. Harsh punishments that seem never-ending to your child are just not effective and will only make him angrier at that moment.

Remember, the goal is to teach your child to get control of himself. Effective and well thought out consequences play a role, but punitive consequence stacking is not the answer.

9. Take a Break

During coaching sessions, I’ll often ask parents about their child’s angry outbursts the following question: “When you and your spouse are mad at each other, what do you do to calm down?” Often, people will say they take a break and do something on their own for a little while until they can calm down and talk it through.

This technique also works with your child, but parents often don’t think of it because they feel they should have control over their kids. But remember, when somebody is angry, you can’t reason with them and you can’t rush it.

The bottom line is that if you stay there in that anger and keep engaging each other, it will not go away. On the contrary, it only gets bigger. 

So take a break and come back and interact with each other later when everyone is calm.

Related content: Child Outbursts: Why Kids Blame, Make Excuses and Fight When You Challenge Their Behavior

10. Role Model Appropriate Responses to Anger

I also tell parents they should try to be role models for dealing with anger appropriately. In other words, use managing your own anger as a lesson for your child. What are some good ways to do that? Try saying this to your child:

“I’m getting frustrated—I’m going to take a break.”


“I can’t talk to you right now. I’m really upset so I’m going to wait until I’m calm. Let’s talk later.”

Admitting that you’re angry and you need some time to calm down is not a weakness. It takes a lot of strength to say these words out loud. Remember, you’re teaching the lesson of how to manage your anger, and that’s exactly what you want your child to learn.

Related content:
Dealing with Anger in Children and Teens: Why Is My Child So Angry?
Kids Who are Verbally Abusive: The Creation of a Defiant Child

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Carole Banks, LCSW holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of New England. Carole has worked as a family and individual therapist for over 16 years, and is a former online parent coach for Empowering Parents. She is also the mother of three grown children and grandmother of six.

Comments (200)
  • Star
    I have a 4 year who has been having a lot of behavior issues. This includes bitting hitting yelling. Just today he bit 4xs. It has been a constant struggle to find out what is really triggering it. Any suggestions or feedback i would greatly appreciated it.
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Thank you for reaching out to Our main focus is children over the age of 5 because they usually have developed enough that our concepts will work with them. We have a few articles about younger children you may find helpful,

  • Gloria KO

    I have twin 4.5 year old boys (fraternal); in general there good boys with big hearts, socially comfortable and academically advanced. However, there behavior over the last couple months has been getting progressively worse and in opposite ways.. They seem to constantly be at odds with each other over almost anything.. Whats worse is that they both seem to instigate or provoke these tiffs which might just be associated with Twins escalation issues.. but my concern, anxiety, stress, insert any and every possible synonym related to "about to lose my marbles" etc.. is there seemingly lack of will toward emotional intelligence.. One twin has a short fuse, gets upset, tantrums, and at times physically aggressive with me, his twin brother and his teachers, when he doesn't get his way.. its not frequent but its becoming more frequent regardless of what methods I try... Then, we have the other twin who likes to instigate in a playful way, but is becoming increasingly emotional toward the littlest things but will do everything possible to test our patience with NO FEAR of consequences..

    If you or anyone has any advice or suggestions.. please, I'm all ears. My sons are truly good boys at heart with above average intelligence and I'm just so desperate to find a healthy approach toward helping them move past this behavior and help them build healthy emotionally intelligent traits that foster continued academic and social achievement and happiness..

  • Mary
    My grandaughter is 11 yrs old when she does not get her way she hurts her mother(my daughter) She kicks her in the stomach or legs or bites her until my daughter or someone ends up restraining her. This has been going on for some time. What can be doneMore to stop this behavior?
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Thank you for reaching out to Empowering Parents. Many children lack frustration tolerance and effective problem solving skills for managing that frustration. The acting out behavior you're seeing is possibly a reflection of this. We have several articles that offer tips and techniques for managing this sort of aggressive behavior. You can find those here:

      We appreciate you being part of our Empowering Parents community and wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.

  • Hammer5

    My 9yr old son has anger outbursts often. He will get mad over an issue with his siblings and even if he is in the wrong he explodes. Throws himself around like a toddler. Screaming and screeching when I try to remind him about the calming techniques we have gone through multiple times. He screams at me that they don't work.

    The main issue with it all is that we can never discuss things afterwards. Once he has calmed down and I try and talk through things he gets right back to that level of anger.

    He also loves to antagonize his siblings or make fun of them and when they react he acts like he didn't do anything to cause the problem.

    How can we get to a point of being able to talk through things without him being so angry and stuck on always being right?

    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Thank you for reaching out to Empowering Parents. I can hear how stressful your 9 year old son's behavior is for you and your family. One thing that may help is using a privilege as a motivator for having a calm, respectful problem solving conversation. For example, if he starts to escalate when you try to follow up after things have calmed down, you could say something like "I can see you're still upset. We can talk about this later. However, until we are able to have a calm, respectful conversation about how you behaved, your screen time will be on hold" and then disconnect and walk away.

      For more information on helping your child develop better problem solving skills, you can check out this article: We appreciate you being part of our Empowering Parents community. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.

  • Suzanne

    Thank you for providing this opportunity to share and to learn I’m really grateful. I am raising my seven year old grandson. His mother is a recovering addict and I’ve had him since he was a baby.. I understand that babies in utero that are exposed to substance-abuse definitely have brain damage right now he’s got a lot of aggressions and anger , diagnosed with ADHD and very disrespectful. He’ll throw trash at me when he’s angry and get very sassy and I’m just looking for ideas and things that I can do to mirror to him calm good behavior. Any suggestions I am grateful for, thank you


    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Hi, Suzanne. Thank you for reaching out. Your grandson is very lucky to have you guiding him and helping him develop the skills he needs. We have several articles that give tips and techniques for managing outbursts and temper tantrums that you may find helpful:

      We appreciate you being part of our Empowering Parents community. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.

  • Dev
    My son is 5, he can be fine one minute then go into a tempertantrum the next. He throws things, hits and calls his friends and teachers at school names. He has the same behavior at home and I've tried many approaches that just haven't worked. Any advice?
  • fussybaby
    I have a 7 yrs old boy, who is always gentle and quiet at school, but when he at home is another story. He often refuses to do something that he doesn't like, like getting out of bed, brushing teeth, dressing up, but he is also serious about theMore consequence, so he will say" I don't want to brush my teeth, but I don't want my teeth gets cavity; When he is late for school, he will say:" I don't want to go to school but I want to learn and I don't want to be late." For this reason he refuses to go to school. He will keep saying these back and forth even if I told him it is better to be late than absent, but this will get him more anger. He is very struggle with himself no matter how I clarify to him. The reason he was late is because he play on bed for 30 mins when he support to do the morning routine, and I also remind him many time that it is time to get ready for school. I found him doesn't understand what we said at some point, it is something about communication barriers, he seems has not developed enough for our concept and EQ is under his age.
  • Jess
    I have an almost 4 year old,he talks back,swears and threatens to hit and often hits or shoves his almost 2 year old sister,how do I deal with that
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Thank you for reaching out to Our main focus is children over the age of 5 because they usually have developed enough that our concepts will work with them. We have a few articles about younger children you may find helpful,

      We appreciate you being part of our Empowering Parents community. Take care.

  • Riss
    How do i help my soon to be 11 year old with his angry . it starts off with yelling and swearing then if he cant get his way he will either get up and push away chair or chase after his sister or brother and hurt them. His badMore manner are starting to come out in his little brother. It doesnt matter what i say to the soon be 11 yr old his reply is always go on take it off me i dont think you cant tell me what to do or your not my parent,i am at a lost on what to do any help would be greatful
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      We hear from many parents sharing similar stories, so you are not alone. You may find it helpful to review these articles on how to address aggression here:

      Thank you for reaching out. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.

  • Marie
    How do you stay calm in a situation that has gotten out of control? I feel like sometimes I've got it and then other times I find myself losing control and then having to apologize for my words or actions later. I have an almost 8 year old boy. HeMore is smart, funny, kind....but also, he lies, more often then not does things he knows he shouldn't, screams, talks back. It gets tiring and I don't know how to lead by example when he is always bring disrespectful. I know his excuse, he is 7 and has all the same emotions same but with little knowledge on how to deal with them and little control over his life. I remember being a child and feeling just like he feels. I'm asking for help/advice for myself do that I can be better for him.
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      You bring up a situation many parents have experienced. It can be tough to stay calm and in control in the face of acting out behavior. We have several articles on Calm Parenting you may find helpful:

      Thank you for reaching out. Be sure to check back and let us know how everything is going.

  • Concerned parent
    What do you do when you've remained calm at the start of an angry outburst, say I'm going to take a little break and we can continue playing when you are a bit calmer, then your child screams at you and gets physical? This is an 8 year old boy.
  • Bri
    Hi I have a son who is six who has very angry outbursts a lot lately especially this past year and a half, at first it started as yelling then it moved to throwing things and breaking stuff and now he has been violent he has hit his sisterMore and not just with his hands and leaving marks on her to a point I have to be wherever they are in the house out of fear of what he’ll do. He has threatened to run away on numerous occasions says he hates everyone I feel like I have tried everything i do timeouts I have taken thing, ice tried being calm I’ll admit I’ve yelled Out of anger and it seems like its only getting worse. My husband and I are at a loss on what to do. It’s so frustrating but it’s definitely nice to know I’m not alone here
  • lostmom
    Hi! I have a 7 year old son who has horrible angry outbursts at home. At school and church, he is super quiet, polite, and has never once gotten in trouble. Everyone always comments on how sweet he is. But when he is at home, its another story. If toldMore to do something he doesn't want to do (brush your teeth, go to bed, pick up your room, put up your phone, get in the car, etc.) he will flip. He will tell me and his dad we are the worst parents ever. That he hates us, etc. He will kick things and scream loudly. Extremely rude multiple times a day. I know how important it is to be calm, and I feel like I try so hard. But it's not working. I don't know what to do. Today, he got mad at his sister and pulled a huge chunk of her hair out. I don't know if I've ever been so upset. Of course, I yelled with anger. I don't even know how to punish him. I've found nothing that works. Help please. Open to any and all suggestions.
  • WOW Parenting
    These are very helpful rules to deal with kids anger. Keeping a calm is key to handle kids anger. Thanks for sharing. But before that setting up a good example of own anger and frustration in front of your kids will surely affect them positively. They are likely to learnMore this ability from parents.
  • ESM
    My 16 year old has a habit of falling asleep after school and he is impossible to wake. When we finally get him up for dinner or homework he is in a horrible mood and fights with us. Any suggestions?
  • stuart
    our 4 year old boy he is in foundation class, but going to school in the mornings is a fight sometimes for my partner it can be brutal. He will not allow us to get him dressed and cries and goes berserk, we have to have to carry him toMore the car virtually undressed screaming he even pulls my partners hair and bites she is in tears. I am afraid to say i do get physical and have to hold him down with some force into his seat and try and buckle him in he actually removes the seatbelt and tries to get out of the car when we are moving. My other 2 children who are girls 7-9 yo get very destressed and cry i have put the child locks on to stop any harm coming to him, we are at our wits end now considering taking him out of school and doing home tutoring will this mean he has won his battle with us and what will it mean to his further schooling??
  • Melinda
    I enjoyed this article! I want ti read more!
  • Debbie V
    I have an 8 year old grandson that lives with myself,his grandfather,his 42 year old Aunt and his mother. We are all close in a lot of ways but there is some under tension throughout the house. Grandfather is very loud naturally so when he disagrees with something itMore comes across as the law Lol I am sick but still working so grandfather has charge pretty much when grandsons mother and I are at work He tends to his every need and loves doing it Aunt is currently unemployed but not always at the house She does spend a lot of time doing gun activities with grandson we all spend lots of time with him Most of the time he is so awesome and he acts like a little adult but occasionally he explodes. he talks ugly to whoever is in his path at the moment and then is sorry later. His mother punishes him appropriately I believe so what can we do short of acting ugly to him. Underneath that angery outburst I see a very vulnerable little boy and I would love to help him grow up to be a very happy young man. He is very loved by his entire family so we just need a little direction and advice.
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear how much you care about your grandson, and want to help him move forward in a positive direction. I’m glad that you’re here. One aspect you might consider working on with him is helping him to develop more appropriate skills for the future. Something toMore keep in mind is that consequences and punishments by themselves do not change behavior if a child is not learning what to do differently moving forward. You can find more about this, as well as how to structure this type of conversation, in The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Jolie

    very good article. About admitting being angry...I do it, and notice that sometimes my daughter feels guilty for making me angry and then turns the anger towards herself. I don't want her to feel guilty, I only need to leave the room to cool down and not get as angry as she is. Any tips there?


    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      Figuring out how to respond effectively to a child’s anger can be quite challenging, so you are not alone in this situation. Something that can be useful is to talk about a plan with your daughter during a quiet time about how both of you can calm down andMore work through your anger appropriately moving forward. You might also think about how you are phrasing this when you are in the moment with your daughter. For example, instead of saying something like, “You are making me so angry right now!!”, you might choose to say something like, “I need a few minutes to calm down. Let’s take a break.” You might find additional tips on creating this plan in How to Handle Temper Tantrums: Coaching Kids to Calm Down. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your daughter. Take care.
  • Katrina

    Firstly, thank you for the informative article.

    I am a single mum of a 9yr old boy who I really need some sort of advice, guidance and help with. His dad has never been a big part of his life but there has never been any animosity between us and my son had always been a regular boy in respect of behaviour issues until around 6 months ago when things have escalated into some rather worrying situations.

    I should mention that when my son was 2, I entered into a relationship which became rather unhealthy however I failed to realise just how bad until I was in too deep. My ex has all the characteristics of a narcissist and was very controlling without me even realising it. We ended after 5 years but surprisingly on good terms. I was worn out and he lost control of me so we were both willing to walk away. That was 2 years ago and I have remained single.

    My son has always been a bit cheeky in that he answers back a lot but never had been aggressive. It started with little things like when I say we were going shopping after school, he would at first refuse, then ask what I needed to get then he tries to hold me to it saying well that is all we are getting and argues constantly with me. He always contradicts everything I say and if I am being honest, it's as though he has developed some of the controlling and belittling characteristics from my ex which I know I need to take responsibility for and I have tried a lot of the tips in this article.

    About 1 month ago, he was answering back and being disrespectful so I banned him from his computer. When he refused to get dressed so we could go do the shopping, i banned him from his phone.

    I then had nothing left and whilst I always try to avoid spanking, I told him if he did not get dressed, he would get a smacked bottom. Still refusing to get dressed, he ran downstairs. I went calmly down the stairs after hI'm but when I went to the kitchen where he was, he had pulled a large knife out and was pointing it at me with a glazed, angry, yet tearful look in his eyes. This did really scare me and initially I froze. I didn't recognise my son, so much so that I would not attempt to get the knife from him as I was unsure how he would react so trying to remain as calm as possible, I told him if he didn't put it back, I would call the police. Only when I got the phone and pretended to talk to the police did he put it away.

    I was so shocked, after explaining to him how terrible what he did was and how he made me feel, I went upstairs and just cried. I went upstairs as I did not want him to see how upset he made me as this seems to only empower him however he walked past my room saw me and just went to his room.

    Once we were dressed, I took him to my mums as I needed support and guidance. When she asked him why he did it and explained how upset he made me, he just shugged his shoulders and smiled.

    He hasn't done this again since however he does now punch my arms and kick or stand in my way and I am finding it very hard to know what to do in these situations. You are right in saying that trying to discuss or reason 'in the moment' does not work as a child's logic is much like tunnel vision. I am very scared for my son and feel ashamed that I introduced him to this behaviour. My ex and I had a couple of arguments that turned physical in the 5years but nothing so serious and never physical in front of my son but he did hear the arguments. I have a brother who is bi-polar and being very close to my mum and him has also introduced my son to other unacceptable behaviour. My brother had pulled a knife out once at my mums but was not threatening any of us with it and I can only assume that is where my son picked this up however my son understands my brother has problems in his head that prevent him from thinking and acting rationally and that he takes medication for this which my son explains in his own words so I know he understands the difference.

    I am working on undoing the behaviours he has grown to believe as being those of a man but u don't know given the severity of the recent incident if I should seek medical help or not. We have just returned from holiday where I took my mum with us and she has said how she has noticed a big change in him. He is very disrespectful to her and I and often tries to antagonise or create situations/arguments and seems to enjoy them. I know my son would like a better relationship with his dad as he has only seen him 6 times (he lives far away and was with the army for 5 years) and has since had a daughter who is always there with her mum when my son has since his dad. I do feel for my son as I see the hurt he feels when he sees how close his dad is with his sister yet he barely knows him. It's like he feels like an intruder on there family. I am trying to get his dad on board to visit more and offered to travel to him asking for just him and my son to spend time together but now he has left the army and gone back in the police force, I aren't sure he will find the time.

    Can you offer any advice at all. It would be greatly appreciated.

    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I recognize how concerned you are about your son’s behavior, and I’m glad that you are here reaching out for assistance. Many parents worry about aggressive and violent behavior, and I hear how much you blame yourself for your son’s actions. Although your son may have been exposedMore to inappropriate and unhealthy behavior from your ex and your brother, in the end, he is still the one responsible for his own actions and choices. In addition, if you are worried that there might be something else going on with your son, it can be a good idea to check in with your son’s doctor and share your concerns. Because s/he is able to directly observe and interact with your son, his doctor will be in a good position to assess any underlying issues which might be at play, and to provide referrals for follow-up as needed. In the meantime, you might find some helpful strategies in Stop Aggressive Behavior in Kids and Tweens: Is Your Child Screaming, Pushing and Hitting? Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Fina
    My boy doesn't talk he will be 3 years old in April. How deals with his anger. He gets frustrated when he can do things. If I take him to the park he always refund to leave. He gets upset for every little things. He thrown tantrum in public.
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear you. It can be so challenging when a young child frequently gets upset and has tantrums. It’s actually quite normal for young children to become easily frustrated and throw tantrums, due to their developmental stage. Children your son’s age tend to have a low toleranceMore for frustration, poor impulse control, and few appropriate coping skills to use when they become upset, and so they tend to resort to tantrums and other inappropriate behaviors. You might find some useful tips in Explosive Child Anger: Taming Your Toddler’s Temper Tantrum. In addition, a common trigger for frustration in young children is the inability to effectively communicate their needs. If your son is not talking at this point, this could be a contributing factor to his behavior as well. You might consider checking in with his doctor, who might be able to give you additional tips and techniques you can try with your son. I recognize what a tough stage this can be, and I wish you and your son all the best moving forward. Take care.
  • HawkEyesBleed

    Wonderful, WONDERFUL article! I stumbled across this at my wit's end with my preschooler. She's just turned 4 and today I had a meeting with her junior kindergarten teachers. They were wanting my help with controlling her behaviour.

    The situation feels so hopeless to me.

    She's very clever, and won't play along with bribes or consequences. She's stubborn, and when she can't do what she wants, when she wants, she becomes this tiny ball of incomprehensible rage.

    At home we give her space to calm down. We talk about it afterward. We name her feelings, we make 'Calm down' plans. We gave up on time out (extreme violence made her a danger to herself and to the house), so now we just give her a safe space to let her feelings out.

    Once the storm has passed she is talkative again and reasonable. She's never remorseful, though, which makes my husband worry she has a mental issue.

    But it doesn't seem to make a difference, all the calm down plans in the world don't help her. We practice breathing when she's calm, but when she can't have what she wants she won't do it. Reminding her seems to enrage her further. We made a fun day of building one of those glitter jars that are supposed to help calm down - when she had an opportunity to use it she smashed it against a table and broke it.

    When she's angry she has destroyed beloved and cherished objects. Afterwards she's indifferent. She ripped the head off her lovey doll and destroyed it beyond repair. Once she had calmed down she threw it out herself and said she didn't care that she ruined it.

    I just don't know what to do with her. At school she is a danger to the other students. I've been informed of parents calling in because there are spreading about her behaviour and they're concerned their child will be hurt.

    This article feels like I've finally found something that maybe MAYBE will help.

    She's only 4 though.

    Please, can you give me any advice?

    I should add, my husband and I are not violent people. We've never raised more than our voices - but we're usually not yellers either. Especially with her. We always try to stay calm and empathize that we can see she's struggling and we want to help. We also don't give in to her fits of rage, so I know she's not doing it because it 'works' to get her what she wants.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      HawkEyesBleed Thank you for your kind words, and I’m glad that you found our site as well!  It’s not uncommon for kids your daughter’s age to have aggressive, destructive outbursts, and you are not alone in experiencing this type of behavior.  At this age, kids tend to have a lowMore tolerance for frustration, poor self-control, and few appropriate coping skills to use when they become upset.  It’s also pretty normal for young children to lack remorse for their actions once they are calm, because they tend to lack a well-developed sense of empathy as well.  I’m glad to see that you have talked with your daughter when things are calm about other ways she can cope when she becomes upset, as well as doing your best to remain calm when she is having an outburst.  I encourage you to continue to take these steps.  You might find some additional helpful techniques in, as well as  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • rkline27
    I'm a police officer and I deal with angry defiant teens on occasion. I'm always looking to improve my skills as a "counselor" when I need to be. Recently there was a 12 year old female who was arguing with her father because he took her Ipad and wouldn't giveMore it back to her. He stayed calm and she was out of control. She kept saying explicit things to her dad, ignoring him when he spoke, and telling him that she hates him. What are some words of advise for dealing with teens in these situation as they don't want to listen to anything an adult has to say?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      rkline27 We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and sharing your perspective.  I hear how much you want to help the families you are called to in the course of your duties.  Because we are a website aimed at helping people become more effective parents, we are limited inMore the advice and suggestions we can give to those outside of a direct parenting role. It may be helpful to talk with your supervisor about your role in these situations, and how you can respond effectively when you are called to assist with angry, defiant teens.  You might also find it helpful to do some research on local resources which might be useful for these families.  The 211 National Helpline is a referral service available 24 hours a day, nationwide. They can give you information on the types of support services available in your area such as counselors, support groups, crisis services, kinship services as well as various other resources. You can reach the Helpline by calling 1-800-273-6222 or by logging onto We wish you the best going forward. Take care.
  • KelliSay

    I have a 6 year old daughter who is having trouble dealing with her anger and I don't know how to help her.

    Sometimes, she will go off on her own- to her room or a quiet area (when at school) to calm down, which in part seems healthy. The problem is that she will often take an hour or more. While somewhat disturbing at home, it can be quite a problem at school. She doesn't want anybody to come and try to make it better. She just wants time, but it takes so long. Once it is over, she will come out of her room (where I have NOT sent her- she goes by herself) like nothing has happened.

    Other times, particularly when she and I clash, as mothers and daughters often do, she gets completely out of control yelling, screaming and stomping. I try to stay calm, but she has hit me and thrown things at me, and I honestly don't know what to do. My husband and I have never hit each other or thrown things. I can be a yeller, but have really been working on that.This usually happens when my husband is not at home. She has had one of these episodes with my Mother in Law. After one of her outbursts last night where she said she wanted to "rip the house apart" and "break everything", and she finally calmed down, she was crying and just kept saying as she cried, "I don't know how to control my anger!" I felt so sad. I have tried to give her suggestions such as breathing, reading a book, coloring, but in the heat of the moment she will do none of these things. I am at a loss as to how to help her.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      KelliSay I hear you.  It can be so challenging when your young child is acting out, and you don’t know how to help her.  It’s pretty common for children your daughter’s age to have difficulty managing strong emotions appropriately, as they tend to have a low tolerance for frustration andMore few appropriate coping skills to use when they become upset.  The fact that she is willing to go to a quiet space and calm down at times is really encouraging.  Sometimes it can be a process of trial and error to find other appropriate coping skills she can use to work through her anger.  I encourage you to involve her in the brainstorming process of coming up with other skills she can use, instead of simply telling her what to try, as this can make it more likely that she will follow through on using them.  You might find some additional helpful information in  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your daughter.  Take care.
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
    Jenniifer a k I’m sorry to hear about your family’s involvement with DCFS, and I’m glad to hear that you have been reunited with your daughter.  It’s not uncommon for young children to have difficulty managing their anger appropriately.  This is because they tend to have a low tolerance forMore frustration, poor self-control, and few appropriate coping skills to use when they become upset.  If you are still working with the caseworker from DCFS, s/he might be a good resource for you for assistance in developing a plan to set limits with your daughter while also reconnecting with her and rebuilding your bond.  You might also find some helpful information on handling these outbursts in our article,  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • challengedparent

    Hi im new to this site after seeking for some answers on how to manage my 10year old sons anger issues. ive tried my best and now ive come to the conclusion that im fighting a loosing battle, but scared that if we dont find a solution now it will only get worse as he approaches his teenage years.

    Back story is that myself and his biological dad seperated when he was 2 years old which unfortunaltely wasnt a pleasant experience and my son was witness to a few cross words between us. His dad is a very bitter man amd has a very unique awkward personality so i assume my son has picked up on that. However since then i remarried and have been with my current partner for 6 years who my son chooses to refer to him as his dad (which obviously did not go down well with his dad) however time has passed and we have just tried to deal with the situations that have been thrown at us (my son goes to his dads twice a month and each time he comes home he is so wound up and angry but every time i approach the subject with his dad i never got any where productive with him so i gave it up as a bad job) but recently my sons anger and outbursts are obviously becoming harder to control as he is getting older. he is a very intelligent young man and even says him self he cant help its just the way he is. However, his behaviour is becoming more challenging and im starting to feel vulnerable. he is very stubborn amd even tried to stare me down today during a disagreement. Im at my witts end with him now and dont know what to do for the best anymore. my husband backs me up and my son even talks to him with no respect. ive read the books and searched web sights for advice but i just cant seem to help my son manage this anger. which seems to be triggered by him not getting his own way

    i thought he would have grown out of it but like i said it seems to be getting worse as he ages. Please have you got any advice?

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      challengedparent Anger can be a difficult emotion to manage for both kids and adults, so you are not alone in seeking out answers to this.  I’m glad you found our site.  Something to keep in mind is that the problem is not that your son is angry, but rather howMore he chooses to express his anger.  Therefore, part of addressing this with your son will be to figure out more appropriate ways he can work through anger when it occurs.  We have numerous articles, blogs and other resources which address here on our site.  One you might find helpful to read next is  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • Angrydad

    I'm a dad with 2 girls who live with their mum.. I see them at weekends.. I also live with a woman and her 10 year old son. He knows I'm not his real dad and he thinks I show the girls more love.

    My partner and I also have a 3 year old girl who is adorable.

    My issue is with the 10 yr old boy. We clash a lot. He is so cheeky rude and answers back. . He pulls a funny face when I'm telling him something.. This makes me so angry.

    I've never ever felt like this with anyone other than this boy.. I resent him a lot... I know it's wrong but when he walks in the room I will roll my eyes and think here comes trouble..

    He bugs the other kids gets in their faces and I'm sure the 3 yr old girl acts up now because of having him bugging her all the time..

    He gets very angry when you ask him to do anything if he's busy with something like his xbox or laptop.. he's glued to watching mine craft videos on YouTube but we saw him watching a violent one recently...

    He's been this way since I met him 6 years ago..

    On a recent family holiday he was so bad my partner and I fell out .. I want to give him a ban from any fun for a few weeks but mum says it's best to do 3 warnings then a 1 day ban.. so frustrated because it's like he's got no respect for anyone or anything.. In the past few years he's thrown things at walls.. punched doors and made all manner of threats..

    We've tried keeping calm and admittedly gotten angry with him far too many times. .. I've pushed him and threatened him to stop being naughty when he's pushed one of the other kids. Ie my two girls from first relationship. .

    I've tried giving him lines.. and found pen marks and dents in the table when he's forced then pen down in anger.. feeling helpless...

    I feel it would sometimes be easier apart.

    Familyl say we need to keep calm and I need to do stuff with him.. fine but I'm trying to grow a business so am often preoccupied. .

    My dad says he needs a shock budge from my elbow but I don't feel comfortable at the idea of being physical.. I know it's wrong..

    I don't feel like I can say "I love him" like the way in love the rest purely because of his behaviour..

    What should I do?

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Angrydad Thank you for writing in.  Although it can be difficult to admit at times, you are not alone in feeling this way.  As Debbie Pincus points out in, acknowledging these feelings is an effective step toward changing your relationship with your partner’s son.  It’s also important to keepMore in mind that you can only control your own actions and responses.  In the end, you cannot “make” him behave in a certain way.  I encourage you to avoid becoming physical with him, as this will not be effective in changing his behavior over the long term.  I also don’t recommend excluding him from family activities, as this is more likely to cause feelings of resentment and anger, rather than remorse for his actions.  At this point, I encourage you to focus on to remain calm and in control when you are around your partner’s son, and allow his mom to be the main disciplinarian.  In this way, you can focus on strengthening your relationship with him.  I recognize what a difficult situation this must be for you, and I wish you and your family all the best moving forward.  Take care.
      • Angrydad
        Thanks.. He had lines tonight.. I could see him eating his tea very slowly to avoid doing his lines.. Still. . As I asked him I got all the usual.. You're mean daddy.. I smiled and kept calm ..
  • WhyMe01


    I have an 18 year old daughter that does not listen to anything I ask of her. She stays out at nights, calls me names like stupid, and crazy. I suspect she smokes marijuana as I have found a lighter in her book bag and confronted her on it. She told me the lighter was not hers. She has been out of high school since I May 2016. She goes to community college and has a part-time job. She refused to pay on her cell phone which is on my plan so I am paying the bill. She will not be using the service though. She also refused to pay rent, a small stipend (less than $100 a month). She did not call home when she had a phone and since I cut it off, she has not tried to compromise about about the bill. She has not spoken to me in 3 weeks. When she is in the home, she does not speak to me and keeps her door closed. I don't know what I'm dealing with. I do not know her anymore. Help!

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      WhyMe01 I’m so sorry to hear about the challenges you are facing with your daughter, and I’m glad that you’re here reaching out for support.  It can be so difficult when your young adult child is mistreating you and not following the rules.  As James Lehman points out in hisMore article,, it can be helpful to think of young adult children as house guests or tenants, rather than as a child.  What behavior would you tolerate with a tenant, and what rules would you put in place?  For example, you probably wouldn’t take it personally if a tenant didn’t want to socialize, and at the same time, you probably wouldn’t tolerate name-calling.  Once you have determined your boundaries, it can be useful to with your daughter which outlines your expectations for her behavior while she is living in your home.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your daughter.  Take care.
  • MsTeacher


    I am a preschool teacher. I have a student who has frequent angry and aggressive outbursts. I have figured out that he is not getting a lot of sleep at home and is most likely acting out due to exhaustion. He just turned 3 and can explain why he's upset when there is a reason (isn't in front of the line, friend took his toy, etc.) but more often than not, he explains that he doesn't know why he's upset. I've spoken to the parents but I'm certain that the child is still exhausted all of the time. So, I have to work with what I have... exhausted or not. How do I help this child?

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      MsTeacher It can be quite difficult when a child is acting out and disruptive in the classroom, and you are limited in terms of what you can do to address the cause of this behavior.  I am glad that you are talking with the child’s parents about his behavior, andMore I encourage you to continue to do so.  You might also talk with your supervisor about your school’s disciplinary procedures to help you manage your classroom.  Thank you for your question; take care.
  • Schweible

    Please advise. I am new to this site and read some of your articles. I tried to have a problem solving discussion with my ASD, ADHD son last night. He became physically uncomfortable and anxious about the topic of solving a problem. He dug his heels in and insisted he is incapable of solving anything. But he is very smart in science and loves engineering. I pointed out how that is all problem solving and how great he is at it. It still ended in a panic attack. How can I help him feel comfortable enough to engage in such a discussion?

    Your advise is greatly appreciated

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Schweible  Welcome to our community; we are glad you are here!  I hear you.  It’s pretty common for most kids (and even some adults) to feel uncomfortable when they have to talk about poor choices they have made, or rules they have broken, so your son’s response is not unusual.More  Something that can be useful is to schedule your problem-solving conversation ahead of time, and give your son a task to complete before then.  For example, you might say something like, “I want to talk with you about XYZ after dinner tonight.  Take some time this afternoon, and write out what happened along with 3 other ways you could have handled this situation.”  You can find more tips on having effective problem-solving conversations in our article,  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your son.  Take care.
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


    I hear

    you.It sounds like you are dealing with

    some very frightening statements and behavior from your younger son, and I’m

    glad that you are reaching out for support.At this point, I strongly encourage you to work with local resources to

    develop a plan to keep everyone safe in your home.If you are not currently working with anyone,

    try contacting the at

    1-800-273-6222.211 is a service which

    connects people to resources in their community, such as crisis response services,

    and counselors.I also recommend

    securing any potentially dangerous items, such as knives and hammers, until

    your son is better able to control his impulses.I can only imagine how scary this must be for

    you right now, and I wish you and your family all the best moving forward.Take care.

  • Lily
    Hello. My name is Lily. I have four children. 17 yr old, 10 yr old twins and a 3 yr old. For about 4 years now, one of the twins has had anger issues. We've been to an anger management, school counselor and now a school therapist. I feel hisMore anger keeps escalating. Recently he ran away from home before going to school. I found him walking down the street ten minutes later. I was so scared I didnt give him any consequences. I was just happy to see him. All we did was talk about it, and I expressed how worried I was. Today he became upset after he was caught in a lie and my husband (stepdad) lost his patience and talked to him in a very loud tone of voice. He called him a liar and he told him he was disappointed in his poor choices. I'm writing today because I don't know what to do. I found a letter he wrote saying "I want to run away. You shouldn't have a son that is a liar. I will miss you so much and it's hard for me. I just don't want you to have a lying son." (He wrote a letter about running away a few months ago too). I just don't know what to do. My husband suggested the "silent treatment". I'm afraid he might do something to hurt himself. Please help!!!
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      I recognize your concern for your 10 year old, and I’m glad that you are

      reaching out for support.We do not

      recommend using the “silent treatment” with kids, because it will not teach

      your son more effective coping skills, and could negatively impact your

      relationship with him.At this point, I

      encourage you to talk with your son about the note you found, and to talk about

      what else your son can do to cope instead of running away.You might find our article series on running

      away helpful as you continue to move forward.Here is the first article in the series: be sure to write back and let us know

      how things are going for you and your family.Take care.

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    A mom in need of help 

    I’m so sorry to hear about the struggles you are experiencing

    with your son, and I’m glad that you are reaching out for support both in your

    community and here online.I encourage

    you to continue working with your son’s counselor and psychiatrist to address

    his threats to harm others as well as his unsafe choices.You might talk with his counselor to see if

    s/he has any suggestions for what you can do at home to support the work being

    done in their sessions to help your son manage his emotions more effectively.I also hear your concern for your son’s

    future.While this response is normal, I

    encourage to stay in the present and avoid

    as much as possible, so that you can better respond to the behavior you are

    seeing right now.I recognize how

    challenging this must be for you right now, and I wish you and your family all

    the best moving forward.Take care.

  • Felice123

    Hello, my name is Felice. I have a four year old who throws tantrums whenever he have to sit down n do some work. It doesn't matter even if it's painting. The most difficult part is when he is asked come and sit down for his Quran. Before the studying starts it will be a major tantrum of shouting n crying.

    I will be honest, I loose myself because he refuses to study Quran. It gets very ugly n physical.i regret it later.

    I have put away all his vehicle toys because he refuses to study. But it doesn't seem to get into his head.

    How do I deal with this. I really need some help

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      I hear you.It can be so challenging

      when you are dealing with tantrums, shouting and crying whenever you attempt to

      have your child do his work.It’s

      actually quite common for kids your son’s age to have tantrums and

      outbursts.This is because they tend to

      have a low tolerance for frustration, poor impulse control, and few appropriate

      coping skills.Dr. Joan Simeo Munson

      outlines effective techniques you can use in the face of your son’s outbursts

      in addition, you are not alone in feeling

      frustrated and angry in response to your son’s behavior.I encourage you to develop some strategies to

      respond to your son more effectively than becoming physical with him, as this

      is not teaching him how to comply and meet his responsibilities in the

      future.You might find some helpful tips

      on other techniques you might try in our article, hope that you will write back and let us

      know how things are going for you and your family.Take care.

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    @Hina Urooj 

    We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and

    sharing your story. I understand your concern about your brother’s behavior,

    and the possibility of hurting himself or someone else.Because we are a website aimed at helping

    people become more effective parents, we are limited in the advice and

    suggestions we can give to those outside of a direct parenting role.Another resource which might be more useful

    to you is the Boys Town National Hotline, which you can reach by calling

    1-800-448-3000, 24/7. They have trained counselors who talk with kids, teens

    and young adults everyday about issues they are facing, and they can help you

    to look at your options and come up with a plan.They also have options to communicate via text,

    email, and live chat which you can find on their website, We wish you

    the best going forward. Take care.

  • sarahbrown321
    Hi, Could you give me some advice.  90% of the time my 9 year old daughter is loving, caring kind and shows amazing intelligence.  However, she is overly sensitive and she has outbursts which can turn violent.  They are usually sparked by her getting annoyed or rude.  I then askMore her to go to her room for 5 mins as a consequence.  Most of the time she will do this, often with a stamp and moan but she goes and then will say sorry after her time out and its forgotten.  Around once a week she refuses to go to her room which then results in me leading her to her room and asking her not to leave, she does often.  Then she throws things at us, shouts,hits and  throws things around her room.  We have been advised to try to give her no attention for her outburst and wait till she calms down.  When she acts violently we tell her once we are going to put her in her room until she has been calm for one minute and will not give her any attention until this is done.  This often leads to us having to physically hold her door shut as we have no other way of keeping her in her room.  She shows no anger at school or anywhere else and has never behaved like this in front of anyone.  When she is in her room one second she is saying sorry how sorry she is and then the next she is kicking the door and saying how much she hates us.  Any advice please as we are struggling.  Thanks
    • JohninAus
      sarahbrown321 Sarah - this sounds similar to my 9 year old, who is aso overly sensitive and quite fragile if challenged or not getting her own way.  Her reactions are over the op and we are putting it down to a lack of confidence in herself.  We've just completed aMore confident kids course and whilst it has not provided an immediate solution it has goven us a common language that we can talk about anxiety, confidence, resilience and some tools to improve her decision making through recognising that she is anxious or nervous, and focusing her energy inward to try and cope better.  Good luck. John
  • BillCarlos
    Excellent advise! I needed to read something like this and recommend it to other parents who are dealing with tweens!.
  • Rachel
    What do you suggest when the tantrums come while you are facing a time deadline? For example, when there's suddenly a power struggle out of getting dressed for school, or about going to bed at bedtime. In those situations, I feel like I can't just sit back andMore wait for him to calm down because it'll make him late for school (and give him the idea that he won't have to go if he throws a tantrum) and make me late for work; or at bedtime give him the idea that bedtime doesn't actually apply because he can just throw a tantrum and get to stay up late. It's these time-sensitive struggles that are ripping apart our happy home life and turning it into one of screaming and tears and anger and resentment. Help!
    • Darlene EP


      While time sensitive situations

      are something your child needs to learn to manage appropriately, your response

      is not going to be different than a situation that is not time sensitive. Like

      the above article mentions, it is most effective to avoid power struggles by

      doing things like keeping your cool and not giving consequences in the moment.

      These things only tend to escalate a situation, rather than get your child to

      comply. By having problem solving conversations when things are calm about

      morning or bedtime expectations, you can help your child to learns ways to

      manage their time better. For more on effective problem solving conversations,

      check out this article by Sara Bean Thank

      you for reaching out with your question. Take care.

  • Avie dow
    I can't get my son to go to school, he is 13yrs old, I have grounded him & took his phone etc from him, I've had meetings with the school, I've had the school officer at the door, I've had blood tests done! They came back fine! I put anotherMore appointment on at docs to see if they could refer me to a councillor or something, but he wouldn't go, he lies in bed all day & night, I told him to get ready for docs but he started shouting & swearing at me & his 25 yr old sister, then he proceeded to wreck his room, I went into the room & he threw a drawer at me & told me to get out & started swearing & calling me names, I don't know what to do from here or how to get him to see sense! How can I help my son?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Avie dow 

      I’m sorry to hear

      about what you are experiencing with your son, between his refusal to go to

      school and his abusive behavior toward you and his sister when you are

      attempting to get him out of bed.  Working with the school to hold him

      accountable for his refusal to go is something that we recommend doing. 

      As James Lehman points out in, problem-solving

      with your son at home during a calm time is another step you can take.  I

      recognize how challenging this situation must be for you, and I wish you all

      the best moving forward.  Take care.

  • Tanya clackson
    I have a 10 year boy he can be as lovely as lovely then he can just turn and have terrible outbursts of such anger and temper then I get cross with him and it just goes round in a circle do you have any suggestions my mum says stayMore calm but when he's being so mouthy I find it so hard and most of the time it's if you say no or take something away that does not work I open to any suggestions you might have
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Tanya clackson  

      We speak with many parents who describe a similar pattern

      of a child becoming angry, then the parent becomes angry, and the whole

      situation tends to escalate from there.  You are not alone.  When you

      find yourself in these power struggles with your son, the most effective thing

      you can do is to focus on your own response and remaining calm and in control,

      so you can help your son to calm down as well.  I realize that this is

      much easier said than done; however, giving your son consequences or continuing

      to argue with him is unlikely to change this pattern.  We have many

      articles on calm parenting which you might find helpful; here are a few to help

      you get started: and 

      Please let us know if you have any additional questions.  Take care.

  • Mercie84
    My 10 year old son have these issues of anger and hate.he doesnt want to fo?low the rules or listen.he have problem playing with other kids he always being school he beats, pinchs,throw stones and many more bad things to other learners and he lies too much,he doesnt fo?lowMore school rules we have been at school many times to discuss about his behaviour.he always say he would change and be a good boy but he doesnt.sometimes when he does something bad when we ask him he doesnt answer or say anything just keep quiet he so rude he doesnt want to be desciplined. He doesnt have any friend because other kids doesnt want to play with him.he have become a big problem to us,to neighbors as well as at school.i really need him to change but i dont know what to do please help.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      It can be so

      difficult when your child is acting out aggressively with other kids, and is

      not following the rules at school.  You are not alone in this

      situation.  It’s not uncommon for kids to tell parents that they will do

      better and try harder to follow the rules, then continue acting out.  This

      does not mean that your son is lying to you or doesn’t mean it when he says

      these things.  It might be that he doesn’t have the skills to know what to

      differently when he becomes angry or upset.  You might consider having a with him during a calm time about specific actions he can use

      instead of becoming aggressive.  I also encourage you to read our article

      series, and, for

      more advice and techniques you can use.  I recognize how difficult this

      must be for you and your family, and I wish you all the best moving

      forward.  Take care.

  • Jools

    Hi, our 5 year old son (soon to be 6 in a couple of weeks) can be a very loving and caring little boy but he is also very strong minded and is ridiculously competitive to the point where when he's at football training if things are not going his way (I.e someone doesn't pass to him or he doesn't score a goal) he starts to have a melt down, he will start to shout & scream at his teammates or kicks out at them or walks off the pitch altogether and cries and shouts at us blaming everyone else. I get quite embarrassed as no one else's child acts this way, the others all seem to enjoy themselves but my son is so fixated on winning and being the best.

    He is an only child but we are quite mindful of making sure he knows he is part of a team and that everyone is learning but he seems to think he's Ronaldo!

    We've tried to say if he continues to act this way we won't take him back or stop his treats but he still continues. He gets himself into such a state and we don't know how to keep him calm.

    Please help, we don't want to stop him doing team sports but if he can't learn to be a team player I don't see any other option until he is old enough to understand better.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      It can be pretty embarrassing for most parents when your

      child is having a meltdown in public; you are not alone in feeling this

      way.  It’s actually quite normal for kids your son’s age to have outbursts

      like this as part of their stage of development.  They tend to have a low

      tolerance for frustration, poor impulse control, and few coping skills to use

      when they become upset, which is a potent combination for a tantrum.  This

      is not to say that you cannot address this, or that you have to take him out of

      team sports, though.  Something you might consider is having ongoing with him during a calm time, such as before he goes to

      practice, about what he can do instead of screaming, kicking, or walking off

      when things don’t go his way on the field.  You also might consider if he attempts to use these new skills at practice.  Please

      be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your

      family.  Take care.

  • Nicole
    My 8 year old son was staying with his grandma over the weekend. She heard a noise and went into the room where he was getting upset with his 9 year old brother. She asked what was going on and he flew off the handle. He was kicking her, pinchingMore her, choking himself and saying ugly things to her. She wouldn't leave him alone because he kept throwing stuff. He finally ran off to lock himself in the bathroom and my mom stopped him and he swung at her. She's never witnessed this behavior and she spanked him. At that point it was as if he snapped out of it and then stopped crying. This is his first outburst like this in over a year. What would you suggest in dealing with this behavior?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      It can be so difficult to figure out how to address

      outbursts and similar behavior when they occur outside of your home, and I’m

      glad that you are reaching out for support.  Now that things have calmed

      down, I encourage you to have a with your son about what happened over the weekend, and what

      he could have done differently instead of becoming abusive toward his brother

      and grandma.  You might also talk with your son about to both his brother and his grandma for his behavior over the

      weekend.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are

      going for you and your son; take care.

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


    I’m so sorry to hear

    about this incident with your son, and the limited assistance you have been

    able to find from agencies such as law enforcement and CPS.  I understand

    your concerns about your safety based on the threats and physical abuse

    directed toward you.  At this point, it could be useful to figure out your

    options and come up with a plan to keep everyone safe from your son’s physical

    attacks.  Part of that might be, as well as discussing options with his

    treatment team about how to handle his aggression.  You might find

    additional information in our article as

    well.  Thank you for reaching out, and I wish you and your family all the

    best moving forward.  Take care.

  • Kk1980
    Hi my just 10 year old daughter has extreme anger issues. Everything is a constant moan with her, even asking her too brush her hair properly causes a war in the house. We live with my parents and brother and she has a sister of 6 who she hates andMore is very jealous of. I'm a single parent they do see their dad once or twice a month. She is extremely rude to everyone in the house name calling and swearing getting more frequent. She also pulls her hair out when having a full blown tantrum, scratches herself. Voilent towards everyone especially her sister. I'm really at the end of my tether with her, dread waking up in the morning and having to deal with her because I just can't. Please help
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      It can be really

      difficult when you feel as though you have to walk on eggshells to avoid a

      meltdown from your child.  You are not alone in this situation. 

      Something that could be helpful at this point is to make sure that your 6 year

      old is safe from violence when your older daughter is becoming escalated, as

      mentioned in  In

      addition, you might take advantage of calm, private moments with your 10 year

      old to help her develop more appropriate coping skills.  Sara Bean offers

      advice on how to do this in her article,  I recognize

      how challenging this must be for you, and I hope you will write back and let us

      know how things are going.  Take care.

      • Kk1980
        Thanks for replying will get back in touch and let you know how I'm getting on
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    Nicky t 

    It sounds like you are dealing with some very challenging

    and violent behaviors from your child, and I’m glad that you are reaching out

    for support.  I see that you have used the police, mental health services

    and other local resources to help you with your child, and I encourage you to

    continue to do so.  I understand your frustration that none of these

    services appear to be able to help you fully address your child’s violent

    outbursts.  I encourage you to contact your social worker or caseworker

    who helped with your Child in Need plan to discuss your concerns, as well as

    your options for moving forward.  For additional assistance, you might

    consider contacting the

    advice line at0808 801 0366.  I recognize how difficult this must be for you right

    now, and I wish you and your family all the best moving forward.  Take


  • becca2016lewis
    Hi my daughter who is 13 is angry she screams she is violent she hangs out with the wrong crowd teachers try to clam her down only her friend can but she has had enough of her outbursts i just want my daughter back we tried to get her toMore breathe she cant or walk out so we cleaned her room and took everything away so she doesnt hurt herself but her sister keeps winding her up please give me techniques so she can let go of her anger in a healthy way
    • Darlene EP


      It is understandable you are

      concerned about your daughter’s acting out behaviors. It sounds like it has

      been very challenging to deal with. When kids are acting out in this way, it is

      generally due to a lack of effective problem solving skills, as Sara Bean

      points out in her article

      Something I would keep in mind is that no one can calm your daughter down but

      her. It is best to be coaching her on ways to handle frustrating or stressful

      situations when things are calm and going well, and then direct her to use her

      new calm down skills when she is becoming agitated. It may also be helpful to

      talk to her sister about what she can do to help deescalate conflicts that may

      arise between the two of them. If her sister can walk away instead of

      continuing to wind her up, that will give your daughter a better opportunity to

      use her new skills. We wish you the best as you continue to work through this.

      Thank you for writing in.

  • Su


    My 8 yr old daughter just comes across as rude and can't answer a question nicely to myself, grandparents or strangers. I struggle to deal with her anger in public places, if she can't have her own way she gets very angry also has no patience. She is an only child. I really need help on how to handle these situations. Thanks in advance. Su

    • Marissa EP


      At 8 years old, it is quite possible that your daughter

      doesn’t realize she comes across as rude. Her perception of the world is likely

      very different from an adult perspective. If it is the wording she uses, it can

      be helpful to coach her on more appropriate responses, in a calm, neutral time.

      If it is her tone of voice you are concerned about, the most effective response

      is often no response. Don’t focus on the “attitude” she has, as that will only

      give the behavior more power. Good behavior is a skill, and you may need to

      help your daughter identify more effective ways to solve her problems when she

      gets angry or impatient. James Lehman, author of the program, talks more about this in his article, Best wishes to your family and let us know if you have any more


  • TammyEliza

    Hi there,

    Sime advice would be greatly appreciated.

    I have a son with ADHD who just turned 8 this week. Today he was at a school holiday program where he had a huge rage of anger - it was the worst he's ever behaved. Throwing things at other children and staff, he even threw a chair and broke it. I was called to pick him uo. He didnt want to come home so again carried on and was dufficult to get him to leave. I literally had to pick him up and carry him over my shoulder to get him out.

    As soon as we got home he burst into tears and cried uncontrollably. He was very tired as he had had 2 very long and busy days prior celebrating his birthday. He does get angry when he's very tired, but today was definitely the worst he has behaved. He was sent to his room as punishment and was told that he had to have a sleep before coming out. What was especially concerning to me is that he started calling out asking me if i even liked him. Then started calling out asking me if i wished he would die, i didn't answer because i didn't want to prolong or encourage his erratic behavior. He asked me again if i wished he would die then said because he can kill himself. It is heartbreaking to hear your 8 year old child say that to you. He has some learning difficulties which affects his self esteem i have recently sought a referral for a psychologist but cannot afford 150 dollars per session as i am a single parent. I have since got a referral to a free psychologist but it can take up to a year on a waiting list to see them. His dad earns excellent money but will not pay for anything that i ask him too. I don't know what else i can do.

    Any help or advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you

    • Marissa EP



      am sorry to hear about the challenging behavior you are seeing from your son,

      and it can certainly be painful to hear your child say such things about

      themselves. Sara Bean, Empowering Parents author, has a helpful article titled, , where

      she talks about why children act out, and how you can help your son learn more

      effective problem solving tools. It can be helpful to have a brief conversation

      with your son about what was going on for him just before his outburst at

      school, and then help him identify some things he can do to help himself calm

      down the next time he gets upset or angry. You might review and practice this

      plan often with your son, so he has the tools to make better choices next time.

      I also think enlisting local supports as an additional way to support you and

      your son, especially if he is making threats of self harm, will be helpful. I

      wish you the best of luck as you continue to work on this with your son.

  • Nasrin1

    I need help plzz

    I have 10 years one daughter she is very lazy in cleaning her room many times she take off her shoes in her room or school bag liying any were in her room or if she does some thing wrong wich she has promise me before she will say sorry to make go away the moument or not to get in any dicipline rule n again after hour or tow she will do same thing and when i will remind her again she will reply me oh sorry i forget or when erver i ask her to clean she will reply me will do it later though i always ask her your need to clean your room and for that how much time do you want bz i know her if i will ask her to do the moument she will not going to do it but afert the time given by her when she did not complete cleaning and i will ask her to clean she will try to do soem playing things or you can say she will try her best to delay as much as she can and after 3- 4 times reminding her by me the. When i say now this is last time i am asking you to clean it or i will take your ipad away then she will starts getting angry and when i will take her ipad way she will loose her control and will starts screaming and shouting soem times she will throw her stuff in her room kick her door comes by me and make faces if i will go away from there to my room she will kick my room door badly she cant bare the things will go against her wish she will continue this behaviour as long as she can will demanding me if you want me to to be normal give my ipad back or i will not going to stop and she silent my phone and hide it away and continued demanding me if you want your phone give me my iPad when ever on any reason i try to take her ipad she always behave badly and after she get tired or calm down and i ask her can we talk now she will reply me i dont want to talk today aslo same thing happend when she gets calm me and my husband was talking to her she said if mommy will ask me to do things poletly i will do it but she dint gave answer how many times do i need to get poletly to her for a given work plz help me to deal with her anger control bz only one thing is it wich bouther het is her ipad otherwise if i will let reminding her for any work she will continue on later

    • Marissa EP


      Your situation sounds frustrating, and surprisingly, is

      quite common with the parents that we speak with. Trying to address many

      behaviors at once can become overwhelming to both you and your daughter. What

      might work better is to focus on just one or two behaviors at time. Your

      daughter sounds like she is responding in ways that are working for her to

      solve whatever problem that is going on for her. The avoiding and screaming are

      common faulty problem solving tools kids use to get out of doing tasks they don’t

      want to do. Sara Bean, Empowering Parents author, has a great article titled, 

      This article is a good place to start in understanding what is going on for

      your daughter, and how to start addressing the behaviors. Best of luck to you

      as you continue to work on these behaviors with your daughter.

      • Nasrin1
        Thakns a lot
  • Eraha

    I need help

    I have a 16 year old son which is very sensitive most of the time he is angry and jealous of his younger sister 11 years old. We are going through difficult time with him as his jealousy is getting worst everyday. He is disrespectful to all of us and not talking to any one. My husband had lost his control a few time and got physical with him and got things worse. He has no issue at school but not behaving at home please help not sure what to do.

    • Darlene EP


      It is understandable you are

      concerned about your son’s behavior. While it is normal for there to be sibling

      rivalry between siblings, it is not okay to take out your anger and jealousy on

      family members. In her  article, Carole Banks talks about some helpful ways

      you can cut down on the sibling rivalry. In addition, Debbie Pincus wrote an

      article on effective ways to respond to your son’s anger and disrespect, titled We always recommend

      walking away when your son is angry and pushing your buttons. When you stay in

      a power struggle it can often lead to a physical altercation, and as you have

      found out that does not work. Give yourselves and your son some time to cool

      off  before addressing his inappropriate behavior. I know this is not easy

      to be dealing with. We appreciate you writing in with your question.

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


    I’m so sorry to hear about the struggles you are

    experiencing with your children becoming aggressive toward you, along with the

    lack of support from their dad.  The statements that your son is making

    are quite concerning, and I am glad that you are reaching out for

    support.  I encourage you to take his talk of killing himself

    seriously.  Something you might do is to talk with your son’s doctor, or

    other local supports, about these statements in order to help you develop a

    plan you can follow to keep him safe if he continues to make comments such as

    this.  For assistance locating available supports in your community, try

    contacting the  211 is a

    service which connects people with resources in their local area, and you can

    reach them by calling 1-800-273-6222.  Thank you for writing in; take


  • DelishaJones2010
    Im afraid that if my son is already doing this at this age......then what is to come by the time he is 15? Im scared!!!
  • In need of help


    I have a nine year old who gets upset when things don't go his way or he doesn't get what he wants. He will scream and throw things around the room.He will knock over chairs and kick walls.Sometimes he will push his little brother. Anything can set him off.Yesterday I told him that he couldn't have as much play time before homework. So today when he was done with his snack he ask to go ontge computer and I said its time to work on your project .He started getting upset I ask his nana to turn it off and he said not to but she did .He immediately started screaming and throwing a hamper of clothes across the room.This is something he dies 95%of the time when he can't have his way .Nothing I do works.

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      In need of help

      Dealing with angry child outbursts can be exhausting,

      especially when it seems as though your child can be set off by any little

      thing. One thing that can be helpful to know is that for most kids, the angry

      outbursts are due to poor problem solving skills or poor coping skills. Your

      son gets upset and, lacking a more appropriate way of dealing with the

      situation, he lashes out by yelling and throwing things. The good news is you

      can help him develop better skills by having problem solving conversations with

      him during calm times. Sara Bean explains how to have these helpful

      conversations in her article I hope

      you find the information useful for your situation. Best of luck to you and

      your family moving forward. Take care.

  • Ashley soles
    Hello , My son is six years old and is very angry and easily distracted and frustrated. whenever anything remotely challenging or difficult occurs he acts out with crying ,hitting ,spitting,or yelling. I've tried everything to discipline him but it's not working. He has some emotional issues and refuses toMore talk about them whenever I ask ,I admit it's been a very difficult past year for us and it is getting better please help me to help my son
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Ashley soles

      Facing the acting out behavior of an angry 6 year old

      certainly can be distressing. It may help to know that the behaviors you

      describe aren’t uncommon. Young children lack effective skills for dealing with

      situations they find challenging or frustrating. The behaviors you are seeing

      are a reflection of that lack of skills. Dr. Joan Simeo Munson offers some

      helpful tips for dealing with aggression in her article

      Another article you may find useful is You mention your son

      has some emotional issues. If you are concerned there may be underlying issues

      affecting his behavior, it may be helpful to make an appointment with his

      pediatrician. Your son’s doctor would be able to rule out possible underlying

      issues and could also determine if further evaluation was necessary. We

      appreciate you writing in. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are

      going. Take care.

  • Baffled Mommy

    Aloha (Hello),

    I have a son who just turned 10 and he has been having difficulty controlling his anger in school. Today it got so bad he was crawling around the floor shouting about the devil and growling at other students and the teacher. This is all per the teacher as when I ask my son he tells a different more toned down story. No matter what happened one thing is certain is that he has a hard time dealing with his anger and his school does not provide him with the help he needs. He only lashes out at school or when playing video games at home, but it should be noted he is able to calm himself at home. I don't know what to do about when he is in school? His counselor is never available and is always "busy with more troubling students," so she is very little help.

    Thank you in advance :) oh and I am in the process of finding him a counselor/psychologist here as well.

    Baffled Mommy ?

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @Baffled Mommy

      @It can be tough to know what you can do as a parent when

      your child is struggling with behaviors in school. It’s been my experience that

      helping your child develop better coping and problem solving skills is usually

      the best approach. From what you have shared, it sounds like he does have some

      effective tools; he’s just not able to use them when he’s at school. Sitting

      down with your son in the evening and talking with him about these situations

      will continue to be useful. You also can add a problem solving component to

      these conversations that focuses on what he could be doing differently. You

      might ask him things like “When you get angry while playing video games, what

      do you do to calm yourself down?” or “What’s different about getting angry when

      your at school?” For more information on how to have these types of

      conversations you can check out the article We

      appreciate you writing in. Take care.

  • Shminis
    Hi, I need help. My 13 year old son took part in a squash tournament a few days ago. He hit the ball into his opponent's arm accidentally. And immediately, he threw his racquet, eyewear and headband on the floor in anger. He displayed so much anger at himself thatMore I was shocked. Then, when he lost the second set (which he almost won), he hit the glass wall with his racquet. Because of his uncontrolled emotions, he subsequently lost his third set very badly and was inconsolable right after. How should I help my son? I've talked to him but I'm very worried that this will happen again.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      It’s understandable you would be worried this behavior could

      repeat itself. From what you have written, it sounds like your son has a tough

      time dealing with situations that cause him anger and frustration. An effective

      approach to this is helping him develop better coping and/or problem solving

      skills. Sara Bean explains one way of doing this in her article Another

      article that may be useful for your situation is

      Best of luck to you and your son as you work through this difficult issue. Be

      sure to check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.

      • Shminis
        DeniseR_ParentalSupport Shminis  Thank you very much, Denise!
        • Shminis

          Shminis DeniseR_ParentalSupport 

          Hi Denise, we just returned from another tournament and everything went fine (thank God!). My son didn't win many matches but he displayed a very good sporting spirit and I'm so proud of him. He was courteous to his opponents and wasn't too hard on himself when he lost.

          Right after reading the articles you suggested, I decided to find video clips that showed examples of bad sportsmanship. I found many examples from tennis and watched them with my son while explaining the consequences of all those unruly behaviour. He was shocked to see the way world famous tennis players smashed their racquets and displayed violent behaviour on court. I also showed him some clips on good sportsmanship so that he would understand better. I knew that he fully understood what I had explained to him when he would bring up the ugly scenes whenever I talked to him about how anger clouds one's judgement and causes a player to lose focus on the game. By the time we finished, I could see that he had already made up his mind on which kind of sportsman he wanted to be.

          Also, during the recent tournament, he watched a few players display their anger violently in court when they lost, and this made him fully realize the repercussions of losing one's temper during a game. Seeing things from a third person's point of view has made him realize that what he did the other day was wrong, and hopefully, it will never happen again.

          The learning did not only happen on my son's side. I now know that there is no problem that cannot be solved if I take the initiative to explain things to my son, in a way that he would understand.

          Thank you so much for your help!

  • AdeleMaryHarris
    My son has always had a temper. But recently it seems to be getting worse he's continually smashing his room up and all he says is he can't help it. How am I meant to help him when I don't know why this is happening. Yes he has had aMore rough time personally when he was younger but we are working on that and the past doesn't seem to be an issue. It's more in instances if he loses a game or his team get beat he will break down crying and flip. I have removed his console, the games he has issues with told him I will ban him from watching football and it doesn't make a difference. I just worry if I do not get a hold of this situation now he is going to become more out of control. He is nearly 12.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I hear you. It can be tough to know how to respond in the

      face of such destructive behavior. Generally speaking, kids respond this way to

      frustrations when they lack appropriate coping skills. As a parent, you can

      help your son develop these skills by sitting down with him at a calm time and

      problem solving with him ways he could handle his anger and frustration more

      appropriately. Sara Bean explains how to have these important conversations in

      her article In the

      moment when the behavior is happening, you want to follow the tips outlined in

      the article above. We appreciate you writing in. Take care.

  • Mamagou
    My 8 year old daughter has always had difficult behavior. She is very challenging and quite often has to "learn for herself." It is very difficult to discipline her. Her outbursts are never over anything big but her reactions are huge. Hitting, throwing things, breaking things, screamingMore name calling etc. This occurs on a daily basis. We are all at the ends of our rope. When I try to have her go to her room to calm she will not and instead will follow me around continuing the behavior. I have also walked away from her and locked myself in my room to remain calm and remove myself from her. However when I do this she runs around the rest of the house damaging and breaking our belongings. Our hands are tied. Last night my husband sent her in her room for being disrespectful to him and kept making her go back in her room until she stayed in there and she proceeded to kick a hole in her door. We feel like prisoners in our own home and our 8 year old is the warden!
  • Amy85
    There was a lot of helpful information in there about what not to do, but no real suggestions about what to do instead which would help massively, we are having real problems with our 7 year old at the moment and it is putting a lot of stress on usMore all...
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. You may also find these

      articles useful: &

      I hope this helps. Take care.

  • M
    I tend to bribe my child when they don't do what I want them to do. Is that bad? There is a lot of what NOT to do but what can I do to control my childs anger issues?
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      You bring up a great point. Bribing usually isn’t an

      effective way of bringing about a change in behavior. It may be more productive

      to develop a reward or incentive plan that focuses on the behavior you expect.

      Here are a couple of articles you may find helpful: & I hope

      this is useful for your situation. Take care.

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    at the end of my rope 

    It can be very

    challenging to not only find effective ways to handle troublesome behavior such

    as yelling and screaming from your child, but also to reduce the impact of such

    behaviors on siblings.  We hear from many parents who are concerned about how

    one child’s behavior is influencing other children in the house, so you are not

    alone.  Something I often recommend to parents is to talk privately during

    a calm time with your other children about coping skills they can use when one

    child is yelling, screaming or having an outburst.  We have more

    information on this topic in articles such as and  Please

    let us know if you have any additional questions; take care.

  • RomanaIbrahim
    Lovely article! I typically leave the room when I am angry at someone. But yes, in case of my children, the lose of control really bugs me!!!
  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


    We appreciate you writing in and sharing your story. I can

    hear your frustration and your concern. It may be helpful to know that it’s not

    unusual for a child your son’s age to struggle with situations that cause him

    anger and frustration. At 9, he most likely doesn’t have a very high tolerance

    for frustration and probably also lacks the skills to effectively cope when he

    surpasses that level. Sitting down with him during calm moments and talking

    with him about ways he may be able to cope more effectively could be quite

    helpful. Sara Bean explains how to have these conversations in her article With

    that said, it is going to be important to take any threats of self harm seriously by

    talking with his pediatrician or consulting with a counselor or therapist about the statements

    your son is making. The best of luck to you and your family moving forward.

    Take care.

  • C
    There was a lot of helpful information in there about what NOT to do, BUT no real suggestions about what to do instead.
  • Juhi Bajpai
    Very detailed and nice article, i just want to understand my child who is 8 years old is not paying attention to studies even when he is supposed to appear for exams. He don't want to study and when we ask him to study, he keeps on stalling. AndMore when he doesn't understand something, he don't want to listen and understan the answer but instead he starts shouting or doesn't to study at all.
    • bluzrobin
      Juhi Bajpai I have that going on too, with my 8 yr old grand daughter. She gets mad refuses to do any work , mad at the world so to speak. So do I just let her go to her room until she feels like talking again, and try toMore discuss w h at happened?
  • Hannah
    Wow what an excellent article! If you have time to help with my question I would be so thankful! I am a parent of 3 children, my youngest are twin boys age 4. One of my twins has sensory processing issues and is an anxious child. When he is angryMore he becomes out of control. Today he was mad when I was putting him in his carseat and started to physically hit me and started scratching me in the face. My face was bleeding and I was so defeated, I started sobbing (as in, the ugly cry). A woman even came and hugged me telling me I'll get through it, which was ultra sweet, but ultra embarrassing. But my question is: could his intense emotion be linked to his sensory problems and anxiety? If so, are there additional angles I should take or should I take the approaches listed above. He has always responded very negatively to punishment, seems to internalize it in a negative way. I am trying to raise him in to a healthy happy adult and I already feel like I am failing. Thanks for any help. Oh and he is otherwise very very affectionate and sweet when he is not angry.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      It’s not uncommon

      for young kids to act out aggressively when they become angry.  This is

      due to the fact that they tend to have a low frustration tolerance, and few

      coping skills to use when they become upset.  If you are concerned that

      your son’s diagnoses might be contributing to his behavior, I encourage you to

      check in with his doctor.  S/he would be able to assess whether any

      underlying issues might be a factor in your son’s behavior, and could also advise

      you on how to respond when he acts out.  You might also find some helpful

      coping strategies to use with him in  Thank you for

      writing in; take care.

  • Christian

    Thank you for this article. 

    I knew some of the "technics" you talk about. "Staying calm", "don't get physical" are rules I try to apply (also difficultly at times) but learning why those rules must be obeyed and what alternatives are available is reassuring and makes me more confident on my ability to manage the next crisis.


  • Michelle7979

    My 16 yr old daughter keeps having a go at me. today telling me how I should be doing things with her younger siblings and has no respect for me. She complains when I won't give her money and how I should spend mine she tells me I don't listen to her at times but when she is shouting at me I try to remain calm and tell her not to speak to me like it and she just says don't speak to her like it even though I haven't and tells me to shut up" that has even been times she has told me to f... off I feel I am at my wits end and not coping as a parent cause she makes me feel like a bad one and then I don't know what to say or do. Then she will come home and act like nothing has happened. Please help


    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      It can be difficult to figure out how to best respond to a

      critical, complaining teen.  I speak with many parents in similar

      situations, so you are not alone!  Something that can be helpful is to

      continue doing as you describe, which is staying calm and doing your best to

      stay out of arguments with her.  An additional step will be to set limits

      with her during the calm times about how she can behave respectfully toward

      you, even if she doesn’t agree with the choices you make.  Debbie Pincus

      offers more suggestions in her article  Please let us

      know if you have additional questions; take care.

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


    What a distressing situation! We strongly advise parents to

    take any sort of suicidal threats or behavior seriously. When your son

    threatens to harm himself or makes attempts to hurt himself, it’s going to be very

    important to take him to your nearest emergency medical department

    to have him evaluated. If that isn’t feasible, you could also contact your

    local crisis response or your local police department to help you manage this

    very worrisome situation. You can contact the National Suicide Prevention

    Lifeline for more information on how to best address your son’s behavior. You

    can reach the Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255. We appreciate you reaching

    out for help with this troubling situation. Good luck to you and your family

    moving forward. Take care.

  • frustrated mom
    Our daughter can be very empathetic, caring and helpful. She is bright and creative, at school she is consistently a star student with great behaviour, she is helpful to teachers and classmates both. Teachers, grandparents, brownie leaders...etc. go out of their way to tell us what a nice, well behaved child sheMore is. The problem is at home she consistently has temper tantrums and behaves in a very antagonistic manner toward everyone. She requires a lot of attention and displays very sulky and dramatic behaviour. When we try to ignore or walk away she yells out that we hate her and think she is a bad person.  She often acts very strange and annoying for attention or expects praise for very inane accomplishments. My husband and I are often tense and at odds with how to deal with this behaviour and I'm worried about my son who lives through all of this day after day.
    • Madmumof3
      I feel like this with my 9 year old son, very similar in lots of ways, I worry about my 3 year old son as I feel he is absorbing it all and is starting to copy, my 13 year old daughter if finally in some ways improving from thisMore behaviour only to be heading into hormonal hell! I am so frazzled it's worrying! X
    • 3girls
      This sounds just like my almost 9 year old daughter.
  • CCMom
    My son has ADD (inattentive) and social anxiety. Outside of home he is a very quiet, behaved boy but he lets of all his steam at home and it's usually his sisters that's in the line of fire. Last night however he bit me (he's already 7!). I ended up pushingMore him away to stop the biting, and yelled at him, I obviously feel terrible today but it also made me realize that this is becoming a mayor problem in our household. He's emotionally very immature for his age and his anger is like that of a 2 year old, he gets frustrated with everything and everyone. He would get angry at himself if he tries something and fails, he doesn't understand the concept of time and would just ignore us when we call him. He would also taunt his sisters until they get angry (they are both older). We try to stay calm every time but we do tend to lose it at times as well. I know that this is because of the anxiety and ADD but I do not know how to react to this anymore. Please help?
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      You bring up a very important point – kids with an

       ADD/ADHD diagnosis are behind their same aged peers in social/emotional

      development, as Dr. Robert Myers explains in the article ADHD and Young Children: Unlocking the Secrets to Good Behavior. This is something that needs to be taken into

      consideration, especially when implementing consequences and helping him

      develop better The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”. One of the most

      important aspects of effective parenting is consistency – you want to be sure

      you are responding the same way to behaviors as often as possible by calmly

      setting the limit and then walking away, taking other siblings with you if

      necessary. You could even teach

      his sisters how to disconnect and walk away when he is taunting or teasing

      them. Allow him some space to calm down before going back and talking with him

      about his behavior. You can also implement a reward system that

      focuses on him responding appropriately when he gets upset or frustrated. We

      have several different behavior charts you can check out in the article Free Downloadables! Child Behavior Charts: How to Use Them Effectively. I hope this information is

      helpful. Be sure to check back if you have any further questions. Take care.

      • CCMom

        DeniseR_ParentalSupport CCMom 

        Hi Denise, thank you for the reply. I am definitely going to use the reward chart and I think it's a good idea with one of his sisters as well as her hormones are stepping in :)

        We tend to do things consistently but the biting and physical attacks we do not tolerate; and everything we've tried has been a dismal failure? Do you also have some advice / links towards working with the immaturity. He's getting to that age where his friends notices the immature behaviour and I am afraid they are going to start ignoring him?

        • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

          CCMom DeniseR_ParentalSupport

          I can understand your concern. It can be tough when it

          appears as though your child is lagging behind his peers in terms of social and

          emotional development. It’s actually a pretty common issue for kids with an

          ADD/ADHD diagnosis.  Truthfully each child has his/her own developmental

          timeline. And, while you may not be able to push it along, you can aid in this

          development by consistently holding him accountable for his behavior by using

          either rewards (as mentioned above) or task oriented consequences. It’s also

          going to be very important to have problem solving conversations with him

          whenever he acts out. Sara Bean explains how to have these important

          conversations in her article The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”.

          I hope this information is useful. Be sure to check back and let us know how

          things are going. Good luck to you and your family moving forward.

  • Sad
    My 7 yr old grandson has anger problems. He will be fine and something will happen that sets him off and his anger escalates quickly. When he becomes angry it is all his Mom can do to keep him from hurting her or his 8yr old sister and 2yr oldMore brother. It is hard to see. Normally he is a sweet loving little boy but when this happens it is hard to calm him down. He can be remorseful but not always. Any suggestions. He also can destroy whatever he gets his hands on he is so frustrated.
    • Darlene EP


      It is not uncommon for young

      children to lack the coping skills to manage their frustration or angry

      appropriately. Many children your grandson’s age have low tolerance for

      frustration and often act out against family members when they’re not sure what

      else to do. When things are calm it can be helpful to follow up and set limits

      on the inappropriate behaviors. Then, you can discuss with your grandson what

      he can do differently the next time he gets angry instead of becoming

      destructive or physical. James Lehman explains this further in his article

  • Ahayes3902
    I'm dealing with a grandchild that has been severely abused. His anger is a violent anger for a three year old. I have to stay close for his safety any suggestions other than therapeutic hugs which are getting me hurt.
  • Dazed and Confused

    All sound advice - but oftentimes our problems arise from "angry child outbursts" when we are operating under time pressures. Like this morning, our oldest daughter (aged 9) was having an emotional breakdown, but we didn't have 10 - 15 minutes to send her to her room for "calming" time before the bus came. We insisted she do so, but that only escalated the situation because she wanted to take the bus. She stayed in her room but only fumed and screamed down the steps that she missed the bus. We waited for her to calm down, but then she only got angrier because she was going to be late for school. By the time she calmed down, she was indeed late for school which seemed to shatter her confidence for the day.

    We have 3 daughters, 9, 7, and 3. And these outburst issues always seem to have the biggest family impact when we don't have time for de-escalation. We are busy taking all 3 to one daughter's soccer practice, the others violin lesson, playdates, etc. If we took the time out to give the daughter undergoing the outburst, the other(s) would miss their activities that are important to them -- which isn't fair all around?!


    Signed, Dazed and Confused.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Dazed and Confused 

      I speak with many families

      who describe similar situations with a child escalating when everyone is

      operating under a deadline and trying to get out of the door to make it to

      school, work, sports practice, music lessons or other activities on time. 

      Sometimes, as you noted this morning, trying to enforce a calm-down period can

      actually escalate a situation.  While it is important for your child to

      calm down, it’s helpful to keep in mind that different strategies can be useful

      depending on the situation.  For example, while having your daughter go to

      her room for 15 minutes to calm down might be helpful if you are planning to

      stay home, it might not work when you are trying to make it out the door by a

      certain time.  You might consider

      with each of your daughters about some quick methods they can use to calm

      themselves down in those moments.  You could also have a conversation

      about what they can do to avoid the escalation altogether the next time a

      similar situation arises.  I appreciate your reaching out to us for

      support, and I hope you will continue to let us know how things are going for

      you and your family.  Take care.

  • Nikki
    I have a 13 year old son who is a great kid but has some anger issues. When he was younger he would throw horrible tantrums. I had issues when I was younger and think maybe there is some correlation. My son is now in junior high and there seemMore to be certain kids that just know how and when to push his buttons. It is so easy to say just ignore them or let it roll off your back but it really isn't. I am kind of at a loss of where to go from here. He is a good student and is good at home. He is active with sports and friends but when someone pushes his buttons (friends, family, or anyone) he blows up. He throws things, yells, cries. I want to tell him it is ok and just hug him but need him to learn how to deal with these feelings.
  • Tracey
    I have a 16 year old son who has been home schooled for the last 2 years, his behaviour had been unmanageable during his time at school but after time away he  made improvements. Lately he has been refusing to get up and staying in bed most of the day,More appointments have had to be cancelled because he refuses to get up and now he is blaming me and just tells me where to go in no uncertain terms followed usually by calling me a b@#$h. I walk away but its affecting my health and its so in your face and abusive it just dissolves me into tears, I feel anxious all the time if we have anything planned. This is the behaviour of 2 years or more ago and I don't know why we are back there again. he knows it is unacceptable to talk to anyone this way, his dad and I are together and we live in a happy home so its hard to understand. Do you have any advice on how to move forward, its hard talking to a teenage lump wrapped in  his duvet laying on his bed all day just saying f**k off every time you walk in?
  • Kamato
    This was a great article. My daughter is 7 and since my son was born 3 1/2 years ago her whole attitude has changed. She is a star student in school but as soon as she gets home she is angry and disruptive. She hits and antagonizes her brother, willMore not listen to my husband at all. She tells him to shut up or I don't have to listen to you. She has outbursts where she stops her feet and throws things. I raised her with respect. She is rude and nasty to her grandparents as well. I'm starting to feel like a failure as a mother. I don't know what to do anymore. We are considering taking her to a counselor to talk about her feelings. Any advice?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      Dealing with anger in your child can be tough.  It

      sounds like you have been trying your best to address her behavior, and I’m

      glad that you are reaching out for support.  Something that I often talk

      about with parents is that kids will frequently act out in inappropriate ways

      because they lack  Thus, your daughter might be trying to “solve

      the problem” of feeling angry by becoming aggressive toward her brother, and

      not listening to your husband.  It could be useful to have a conversation

      with her about how she can manage her anger in a more appropriate way. 

      Dr. Joan Simeo Munson gives some additional suggestions in her article

       Please let us know if you have additional questions; take care.

  • flgal

    My son (9)  has anger outbursts over the most minor issues. This morning he was set off by his sister parking her bike where he was intending to park his. He started fuming, pushing, using poor language and being disrespectful. I calmly asked him to calm down and that set him off. He spit in my direction, put his fists up and told me that I was the cause of all of his problems. He started crying/ screaming on how I mistreated him. This was in front of school and I told him that he couldn't go in to school until he composed himself a little. He finally did after more than 30 min of standing there (the majority of time he was being disrespectful towards me). 

    Once he calmed down I asked him whether his response was warranted and explained that nobody was doing anything to upset him and explained that there are other ways to deal with issues like this. 

    I am not sure what to do with his behavior. He is extremely anxious at all times- he bites/ rips his nails, shakes when things don't go his way and is just on edge. Little things make him explode. He has not had issues at school and has good grades, but is extremely unorganized and scatter brained. He is an overachiever and is very hard on himself.

    I try to keep my composure, but my husband is a military man and has no tolerance. 

    Please help

    • Darlene EP


      I am sorry your morning was so

      rough. It sounds like you handled it the best you could given the

      circumstances. You were able to stay calm and direct him to calm down. That is

      the priority in the moment when his behavior is escalated. It took some time,

      but he calmed down. While at school, you can let him know you would like to

      follow up with him at home and direct him to go to class. At home, once he is

      calm you can follow up anytime. A follow up conversation about how he chose to

      behave  and what he will do differently next time, is necessary to help

      change the behavior. Come up with a plan, like taking deep breaths or counting

      to a high number when he is angry or frustrated. Reinforce him using the new

      skills by offering a reward system. If you feel his anxious behaviors are

      concerning, I would also check in with his doctor. Thank you for writing in.

      Take care.

  • kerihussey
    I will try that thank you
  • 1brendonobrien
    Instead of power struggling with your little one try saying let's start over. It works for me.I have a son with aspbergers and the more you fight them the. More they will fight back.Also give your child a quiet place to cool not power struggle
  • kerihussey
    My child has gotten to where he doesn't listen or mind directions. He's getting into trouble at school and in the past two weeks he has thrown a bar stool and broke a tile on the floor and tonight he threw something at the tv and then threw his plate.More How do I handle this. I did spank him put him on restriction from his x box but I don't like the direction he is going and I want to get a handle on this bad behavior but I want to do it the right way. I don't want him to fear me just respecte. Please help
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      It can be hard to know what to do when your child reacts

      violently to directions and limits. It’s not uncommon for a child to throw

      things when he gets angry or frustrated. The key point to keep in mind is that

      this sort of behavior is a reflection of poor coping skills. It’s OK that your

      son is upset; what isn’t OK is how he choosing to deal with it. The above

      article offers some tips for ways you can address the behavior. Another article

      you may find helpful is Is Your Defiant Child Damaging or Destroying Your Home?. Spanking isn’t going

      to be an effective way of disciplining your son. You do want to hold him

      accountable for his behavior, however. One thing you might consider doing is

      having your son make an amends when he breaks something. This could be extra

      chores, using allowance or other money to replace what he breaks, or doing

      another activity with the goal of making it up to you. I hope this information

      is helpful. Be sure to check back if you have any further questions. Take care.

  • T


    This reading is very useful, but we reached a point where we don't know how to do.

    Our son is 5 years old, it's been a month that he has angry bursts, for very small things "sit correctly in front, you will fall back"  "no, we don't get another ice cream"  "it's time to go home from the park"

    It got more and more. 

    We tried to read everything, everywhere, to see how to calm him, but it's not working.

    Talking with him, when he is calm: he feels sorry, he apologies, but he cannot explain. "it's because I don't love you."  or "it's because you shout at me".

    Last night, it was the top of the crisis. He could not calm down. We, parents could not calm down.

    My wife is spending her days, at work, then taking care of our home, of our son. She prepares everything at best, for him. Then she gets only anger and crisis.

    It is really tough.

    Our son is making crisis only with us, at home.

    He is fine at school, until now.

    This morning, we are waking up, in tears. I feel so sick, so nauseous.

    He is calm, sleeping near us. He will wake up, not realizing much of what happened last night.

    Until the next burst.

    We try to get help, but it's not easy to find.

    Should it be a therapy, to learn? Should it be a psychologist?

    We are lost, right now.

    Thanks for your help.


    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      It can be tough to know what to do when you have a child who

      seems to get angry over seemingly small issues. One thing that can be helpful

      to keep in mind is that 5 year olds tend to have low tolerance for frustration

      and limited skills for dealing with it. So, while the issues he gets upset

      about may seem minor to an adult, it’s probably not the same from his

      perspective. You may find it helpful to sit down with your son during a calm

      time to talk about ways he can handle his frustration more effectively. These types of

      problem solving conversations can help your son as he’s developing those

      necessary coping skills. For more information on how to have a problem solving

      conversation, you can check out this article: The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”.

      I hope this is helpful. Good luck to you and your family moving forward. Take


  • Aimtwig5

    My seven-year-old son gets angry at the drop of a hat.  He could be having a perfectly good morning, and then either I'll ask him to do something (cleaning up a mess or completing a chore), or he will ask for something (candy, tv, time on his DS), and get an undesirable answer.  He will set his jaw, twist and pull on his fingers, hard, scratch at his forearms (no serious marks, yet), start making noises, kind of like he's cussing and screaming with his teeth gritted.  I usually ask him to take some deep breaths, and he adds panting to the list, at which point I usually tell him to finish his fit in his room.  Up he stomps, slam goes the door, and I can hear things being thrown around while he continues his weird noises.  Lately it has escalated to kicking and screaming and wriggling around on the floor.  

    Luckily his current choices in projectiles are soft toys and pillows, but I have caught myself tip toeing around in an effort not to set him off.  I am feeling like a lousy mother and a failure at my most important job.  There are times he can be so amazing and eager to help, and then bam!  A switch goes off.  His reactions are so unpredictable I never know what to expect.

    What can I do to help him cope with those undesirable answers and requests?  And should I worry about something more?

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I hear you. It can be easy to fall into the habit of trying

      to avoid triggering a child in an attempt to control meltdowns. While this may

      work short term, doing so actually reinforces the behavior you are trying to

      diminish. It can be helpful to know that it’s not unusual for a child this age

      to have difficulty with handling frustrations such as being asked to do

      something or being told no. He hasn’t yet developed a tolerance for frustration

      nor the necessary skills for coping with upsetting situations. What is going to

      be helpful is continuing to set the limit as you have been when he gets upset.

      It’s also going to be helpful to sit down with him at a calm time and talk with

      him about ways he can calm himself down. Deep breathing is one possibility; you

      might show him how and practice with him when he’s calm. A reward system might

      also be effective. One way of implementing a reward system is to have him earn

      a check mark or sticker each time he utilizes a coping skill instead of having

      a tantrum. Once he

      earns a few checkmarks, he can then earn a reward. Here are a couple articles

      you can check out for additional information on these techniques:  How to Handle Temper Tantrums: Coaching Kids to Calm Down & Free Downloadables! Child Behavior Charts: How to Use Them Effectively. I hope

      this is helpful. Be sure to check back if you have any further questions. Take


  • PRmommyof3

    My daughter is 8, going to be 9 in January. She has what my husband and I have to call 'episodes' almost daily. Anything can set her off, she had to come in for dinner when all she wanted was to keep playing. I didn't react to her sister (who's 9, 10 in January) being mean (according to her standards) in a way she thought was appropriate. She has been physical with all if us at one time or another, which only results up in us having to become physical back to prevent her from further hurting us or removing her from the immediate area.

    She says she feel ignored and like everyone's mean to her. I feel like she's so verbally abusive to everyone in the house, that we've reached a place where we're all angry now. I feel like she's holding us hostage at times, we try to "cushion" her day in order to avoid outbursts, even though they usually still happen. I have 3 kids, including her, and my husband and I are so tired. We have no idea what to do, who to turn to for fear that we will be looked at as though we are the ones wrong. Please help, at this this point I feel like our efforts are getting less and less effective.

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      More than a few parents have shared with me the anxiety they

      feel around reaching out for help. There’s uncertainty around where to look and

      a fear of being judged. The 211 Helpline, a national health and human services

      referral service, would be able to give you information on community resources

      should you decide that would be helpful. The Helpline can be reached by calling

      1-800-273-6222. You can also find them online at

       It is possible as well to begin addressing the behavior at home. The

      above articles gives some great tips you can try.  Truthfully speaking,

      trying to manage her surroundings so she doesn’t get set off may work short-term, it’s not going to be an effective long-term solution. It would be helpful to sit down

      with her during a calm time and talk about things she could do differently the

      next time she gets upset. Sara Bean gives a great explanation of this type of

      problem-solving conversation in her article The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”.

      In the moment when she is starting to melt down,  you can coach her to

      calm down by suggesting she try one of the coping skills you had previously

      discussed. You then want to disconnect from her and walk away. Continuing to

      stay in the interaction is only giving her acting out behavior more attention

      and more power than it deserves. I hope this is useful for your situation. Be

      sure to check back if you have any further questions. Take care.

  • vedant712296
    My sister she is 11 yr old, w.r.t. to her age she has angry behaviour.  Which makes me think if she is sufferring from any mental disease of sometype of anyother reason. Please, i want to make her normal like others. she is not good in studies. always fights andMore she used talk harshly with my mother. She is scared of my father and but she is mostly loved in house. Everything she asks, she gets it in time, but i am really very scared about her. She always seems to be sick or pretends to be it. She is very lazy, so much that she doesn't take a glass of water for her own. Sometime she makes me angry, by her behaviour towards my mother, that i wish to hit her a hard slap. She said to me mother that she was good to be dead. What the hell this means. please i need help for her
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I am sorry to hear you are facing these challenges. It can

      be tough when your sibling treats your parent in such a disrespectful way. It’s

      normal to want to stand up for someone you love. I can hear how much you want

      to help your sister but are unsure of what steps to take. While we’re not able

      to offer you any specific suggestions, there is a website available that may be

      able to offer you support and direction. Your Life Your Voice is a website

      aimed at helping teens and young adults deal with challenges they may be facing

      in their lives. They offer many different ways of getting support, such as

      e-mail, text, online chat, and a call in line. These services are staffed with

      specially trained counselors who are able to help you work through difficult

      problems. You can find them online at

      You could also try calling them at 1-800-448-3000. Good luck to you and your

      family moving forward. Take care.

  • JHMama
    I understand all the "don't react until you're calm", "take some time", "don't try to use logic when they're angry" stuff in theory. But when it's actually happening - and being calm/waiting simply allows my 5 year old to throw more items or keep hitting me or his brother, I'mMore not sure how to "wait" or what to do. Any thoughts?
    • Darlene EP


      You ask a great question and one

      that we hear often. It is difficult to be “in the moment” and wait out the

      acting out behaviors until things are calm. It is going to be important to have

      a plan for yourself and your other son. Do the best you can to safely leave the

      situation, for instance, go in another room or outside to get some fresh air.

      If you are not able to physically leave, do the best you can to stay calm and

      not react to the behavior. Even if your son is throwing things you want to do

      your best to not react to it. If you have a reaction, that is giving the

      behavior power and attention and that will actually reinforce the negative

      behaviors. When things are calm is when you can address the behavior and let

      him know it is not ok and he needs to work on handling his frustration

      differently. In a calm time, talking through what he can do differently is

      necessary to create behavior changes. I know it’s a tough behavior to deal

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

  • Lost and concerned
    I don't know where to start rather than saying just what the problem is I think a little bit of background history is needed. My daughter is 6 will be turning 7 in 3 months , I wasn't in her life as much at the beginning of the first 3More her like I should have been I was dealing with the military and all the stress that comes with it . I thought it would be best for her to be with my mom versus her having to grow up in day care and dealing with my stress . Unfortunately it was worst. I don't know how to be calm around her we bump heads a lot and she seems to listen to her father more than me . I tried not screaming not fighting but I seem to make it worst. I will be honest, when she has a meltdown I have a meltdown , I lose it and don't know how to react with her we both end up screaming at each other and sometimes it gets to the point she has picked up some of my attitude , I get mad and throw things and scream I have my own problems that were left behind from the military and she has her meltdowns we haven been able to cope together I love her she is my daughter, I just don't know how to deal with our meltdowns . I scream she screams she doesn't stop crying or screaming and I don't know how to deal with it .how to put consequences how to walk away , how to address it so she can calm down , I am at a loss right now. I don't want to lose my child to a argument and her recent me for ever .
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Lost and concerned  

      I can tell from your question how much you love and care for

      your daughter, and your concern for what your relationship might look like in

      the future if your interactions do not change.  You are not alone in the

      issues you face with your daughter, and I appreciate your writing in for

      support.  It is normal to feel overwhelmed by parenting, and the strong

      emotions it can evoke in us.  One thing we suggest to a lot of parents is

      to at a time, in order to not feel quite so overwhelmed. 

      It sounds like you are noticing that you have “meltdowns” when your daughter

      starts to experience her own strong emotions.  This could be a good place

      to start, as you have ultimate control over your own responses and actions. 

      Debbie Pincus outlines some strategies to help yourself calm down in her

      article  As noted

      in this article, it’s important to focus on taking care of yourself and your

      stresses, so you can role-model to your daughter how to handle strong emotions

      appropriately. Sometimes, working directly with local, in-person

      supports can be useful to learning new coping skills.  If this is

      something you feel could be beneficial to you, try contacting your local or the to see what is available in your community.  I recognize what

      a challenging situation this is for you, and I hope that you will write back

      and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.

  • toothfairy

    I need some advice please! My 12 year old son was supposed to be at tennis camp today - but his friend had pulled out- so he refused to go! Door slamming, chairs  turned over, tantrums , swearing etc . I'd already read your advice re staying calm etc but unless I physically dragged him out of his room, eventually, I had to leave him as I had to get to work. So.. he still got his way!

    I said that I could understand why he was disappointed his friend had pulled out, but that he had to go and we would talk later when he'd calmed down but there would be consequences of his actions. I've taken his i-pad, mobile phone & keys to garage to stop him going out on his bike.

    I'm at a loss as to what to do or say - he now knows especially where there is a time constraint ie me getting to work, that he just has to act up & he wins.

    Any advice would be really appreciated

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


    What a tough situation. Your nephew is lucky to have you to

    care for him. I can understand why you would be concerned about his behavior.

    It’s distressing when a child acts out and threatens harm to another, even if

    he is only 4 years old. It sounds like your nephew has had to deal with a lot

    of transitions for his young age. He probably lacks effective coping skills for

    dealing with all of the changes he has endured. Where social services is

    involved, we are limited in the coaching we are able to offer. We would not

    want to suggest something that might run counter to any arrangement in place

    with the case manager. I would encourage you to reach out to the Social

    Services worker who is in charge of your nephew’s case and make him/her aware

    of what is happening. Ask as well if there are any suggestions that could be

    made to help make these visits run a little smoother. If counseling is a

    possibility, that may also be helpful as your nephew does seem to be having a

    hard time dealing with the changes that have happened in his life. We appreciate

    you writing in.  Your nephew is lucky to have you to care for him. I hope

    you will check back to let us know how things are going. Take care.

  • lattiee
    I am a single mom of a almost 11 year old boy  and he has explosive outbursts and it's over little things  . Which I do think I do end up doing the consequence stacking, freezing as if I don't hear and just walk away without doing anything, I doMore think I do negotiate with him too  but more likely I think it's the consequence stacking and the freezing  because I don't know what to do as I tried to get family help  but I got no ride to do family  classes as that helped him better.  I had a brother beating the crap out of me and all my mom would do is run away and hide in her bedroom with door shot or I would be the one who got the punishment as in being swatted with a wooden spoon or taken to the shower which my mom would turn on the shower and hold  my head into the shower  saying this is what I get for out of control behavior and I wasn't the one doing anything except trying to stop my brother from attacking me . I never got a proper training at how to deal with emotions as even counselors would go hit pillows if you get angry. So now I have this son is who has wild violent behavior that damages the apartment building   because he throws things, even during a throwing fit he turned on one stove burner he cold had burnt the place down and it's like I run in fear from him Everytime he's like that and it's like he forgets  that he is like that and I try to talk to him about that but it's like he just ignores me so I don't know .
  • JAC123
    I mentor a young single Mom and am observing her five year old daughter getting physically aggressive with her when she does not get an immediate response from her. She also tends to try to cause physical pain by poking her Mom with sharp objects at random times. The MomMore is constantly negotiating with the child to get her to stop these bad behaviors, so she either gives in totally or loses her own temper and screams at the child. Mom has both ADHD and PTSD. Any possible suggestions on how someone with limited ability to control her own anger can deal with these behaviors?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      Thank you for

      writing in.  This mom is fortunate to have a mentor who is willing and

      eager to help her to become a more effective parent to her daughter. 

      Because we typically coach parents directly on a situation with their child, I

      am a bit limited on how thoroughly I am able to answer your question.  Our


      might be a good resource to share with her.  It could also be helpful to

      look into local resources who could work directly with this mom and her

      daughter on their interactions.  For information about supports available

      in your community, try calling the

      at 1-800-273-6222.  I appreciate you reaching out and using us as a

      resource for this young parent.  I wish all of you the best as you

      continue to move forward.

  • Jill626
    My daughter is 8 and we have been struggling a lot since this school year began. Her father had a violent outburst in front of her and was not allowed to see her for a year and a half. Since he has reentered her life a year ago her behaviorMore has gone down hill. My boyfriend lives with us and has for almost 3 years now. When my daughters father was unable to see her my boyfriend really stepped up to the plate and filled that role for her. Once her father was allowed to see her again he took a step back and even encouraged me to allow a relationship between the two. We went back and forth to court and in the end the judge sided with her father and gave him his full visitation back. My daughter has always been the type that if you rush her she doesn't handle things well. I was pushing for supervised visits so that she could get to know him again and be comfortable with him. Unfortunately that did not happen and things started to really go south. This school year has been very rough and I'm at a loss. The way my daughter treats all of the adults in her life with the exception of her father because she is scared of him is unacceptable. She refuses to do her school work, has outbursts of silly "crazy" behavior and because of these things has to go to summer school. I have had my daughter in counseling since she was about 4 years old which her father did not approve of and still doesn't which makes it difficult because he makes it known to my daughter that he does not approve. He talks down about my boyfriend to my daughter and has put her in a situation where she doesn't know what to do because she doesn't want to make daddy mad but my boyfriend is such a big part of her life. Her attitude towards my boyfriend has become horrendous. I just don't know what to do anymore. We are starting a medication to see if it helps any but I'm not sure that its going to and if it does I'm sure her father won't agree and will refuse to give it to her. My daughter has seasonal allergies and is allergic to cats and dogs, when I ask her father to give her allergy medicine while she is with him even if I provide it he rolls his eyes. He doesn't believe that she has allergies because he doesn't. I just don't know what to do anymore. I want my house to be a happy place not a war zone.
  • cheetahcub

    my daughter keeps baiting me, its very hard to walk away, as do my 2 sons, she wants to leave our home, so trying to set boundaries for my sons is very hard, as they see my daughter not listening/obeying them. to walk away is very hard especially in my hse, I think why should I, I didn't start it etc.

    the boys do/say something I say I will take 10p off their pocket money, its ok at the moment, but they will just say do eventually.

  • Jolin
    I have two teenage daughters who love with me, 15 and 17. Their father and I have been divorced for 9 years now and we are both remarried. I recently took him back to court to change the child support order...which the judge ruled in my favor, but it hasMore been a nightmare since! They don't understand where all that money goes yet they got prom dresses this year that totaled 492.00, one just got invisalign and I have paid for dual credit courses for her as well. I do not spend the child support on myself but I do pay for the cell phone bill and sometimes food at the grocery store and every now and then a smaller bill like trash or internet service. My teens want me to show them every single thing that I spend "their money from their dad". They have gotten hateful and even more disrespectful then ever..unless they want something of course..then they are really sweet..until in say no..and sometimes they can be sweet if they don't..just not often. They are good kids and get really good grades and do not treat others as they treat me, their Mom..and my husband, their step dad and my daughter's do not hardly even speak. My teens have lied to me and snuck around, when I let them do just about anything but it's when I say no to them is when the crap hits the fan or when child support is brought up which I try not to even speak of it because I know where it will lead. I try so hard not to lose my temper but they always keep they were trained to do so. They say ugly comments as if their father has coached them along a bit. I am so lost! I love my daughter's with all my heart but I am so tired of being talked to like a piece of crap and tired of all the arguing..I know they are too. Any advice??
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      We speak with many parents who are seeking advice and

      information in order to create a more peaceful home, so you are not

      alone.  It can be tough when your kids are constantly arguing with you,

      and accusing you of wrongdoing, even when you have not done anything

      inappropriate.  Something to keep in mind is that if your daughters recognize

      that certain topics, it can increase the likelihood that they will continue to

      bring them up as a way to gain a sense of power and control.  It’s also

      not uncommon for teens to want to have more authority, and to try to assert

      that in inappropriate ways.  It’s an effective tool for parents to around appropriate, acceptable behavior, as well as what is

      and is not negotiable.  It’s important to set these boundaries, regardless

      of whether their father is influencing their behavior or not.  Ultimately,

      they are responsible for their own behavior and actions, regardless of who or

      what might be prompting them.  I understand how challenging this situation

      is for you, and I hope that you will continue to write back and let us know how

      things are going for you and your family.  Take care.

    • Allyy

      Jolin A custodial parent can spend child support on almost anything. No

      federal law includes any rules for this, and most state laws don’t

      address it either. Non-custodial parents may want reassurance that their

      child support payments are going toward their children’s needs, but the

      law is not set up to provide such reassurance. It would be almost

      impossible for the custodial parent to account for every nickel spent.

      Technically, child support is supposed to cover housing, food, and

      clothing, but the costs of raising a child usually involve more than

      just these basic needs. There are expenses for school and after-school

      activities and for toys. Older teenagers might have car costs, such as

      auto insurance or gasoline. Most child support payments easily cover a child’s share of the

      household’s basic expenses, with some money left over. A custodial

      parent can reasonably spend that money on the extras.

      The idea behind child support is that the children of divorced or

      separated parents should live as comfortably as they would have if their

      parents had stayed together. Most states calculate child support by

      adding together both parents’ incomes, then setting aside a percentage

      of the total for their children’s needs.

      The law assumes that the custodial parent is paying for housing,

      food, and clothing directly by making the mortgage or rent payments and

      buying groceries and clothes. The non-custodial parent contributes to

      these expenses by making a cash payment.

      Children also need healthcare and medical insurance, and child care

      is often necessary so the custodial parent can work. After calculating

      basic child support, the court adds a percentage of any additional costs

      to this basic child support amount. This yields the amount that the

      non-custodial parent’s contributes.

      Some states will also add on unusual extracurricular or educational

      costs, such as an extra amount for a child to attend a private school

      for gifted children.

      Because custodial parents don’t have to submit an accounting to the

      court for their child support spending, it’s possible that a parent

      could spend the money – or at least some of it – on the parent’s

      personal needs. If a non-custodial parent suspects this is happening, he

      or she can notify the court, but probably won’t get much of a response

      unless the child’s needs are actually being ignored or neglected. Some

      states will order parents to mediation to try to work the problem out,

      but judges will rarely do much more than that.

      You are not answerable to anyone.

      I feel like they just pressurize you to get what they want.

      Talk about child support its your weak area that's where they corner you.

      Understand they are teenagers, Ignore that's what teenagers do.

      Keep loving them they'll get back to you.

  • AudreyOshea
    My 4 year old gets so angry when he is told not to do something or to follow simple demands such as please go play for a few minutes so the adults can talk. He throws things and he hits me and he says very rude things and threatens toMore hit me or he says if u let me have that or do that I will stop being bad. I'm not sure how to tolerate this behavior. I've tried spanking which makes it worse, I've tried putting him in his room in which he throws things at the door and slams things around. Please help.
    • Deb K
      AudreyOshea  I am dealing with the exact same thing with my four year old.  I have been finding that if I sit down and say very calmly "let me know when you are ready to talk about it"  he will come out of his room a few minutes later andMore we discuss it.  But if anyone has ways to stop the hitting etc, as he starts school in 2 months, let me know.  He was thrown out of PreK and asked not to come back.
      • Marissa EP

        Deb K AudreyOshea 

        Thanks for writing in! It is very common for younger

        children to use what they have in their ‘toolbox’ to solve whatever problem is

        going on for them. At 4 years old, hitting can be a very common response when something

        isn’t going their way. It’s great to hear that you are using the time in his

        room as a time to let him calm down, and it sounds as though he is able to do

        that rather quickly. It’s also great that you are having a conversation with

        him after the fact, and we would encourage using that time to help him come up

        with some other ‘tools’, or alternatives to hitting when he doesn’t like a

        situation. You might have him draw some pictures of things that he can do when

        he is upset, instead of hitting, like hugging a stuffed animal or reading a

        book. If he is an active child, you might have him try some jumping jacks or

        running in place. As I am sure you can guess, just having him come up with

        ideas doesn’t mean he will use them, so in order to encourage him to try these

        alternatives, you might do some role playing with him, or even offer a small

        reward or incentive if you see him use his ideas the next time he gets upset. Best

        of luck as you continue to work on helping your son build his problem-solving


  • Kavitaa gupta
    My child is suffering from ADHD with ODB. How should i deal with it?
    • ciscoguest
      My son is 13 and also suffers from ADHD and ODD. I've been dealing with anger and violent out burst for as long as I can remember. Just last night he got mad cause I told him he will lose the Xbox if he continued and he went and punchedMore holes in many walls and demolishing one entire wall. With medicine it had gotten better and I finally felt like things would be OK. Since I'm learning not so much. Either he's use to the medicine or its not enough anymore cause he was medicated. There is a huge difference between being medicated to not. Its very emotional living with this. I'm considering taking my son for karate or boxing that a medical friend said would be a great way for my son to re channel his anger and frustrations just hope he won't use it on me. I too am constantly reading and trying to find things to do to help this situation. Many things work but only for so long. The sad part is I can't even call the police and have him removed when he's violent because I did once and the place they took him was worse for him. He learned stuff that was really bad from others with deeper issues. The police looked at us like we were the bad guy and took my son and didn't even communicate to me where they were taking him until hours later. There's not proper resources for what we need. Stay strong
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Kavitaa gupta

      You ask a question we hear often from parents, so, you’re not alone in your

      uncertainty. There can be great variation in how each of those diagnoses

      presents in behavior. It would be beneficial to work closely with your son’s

      treatment team around what the best approach will be for any behaviors he may

      be exhibiting. We also have many articles on Empowering Parents that outline

      which tools and techniques may be effective for any behaviors you may be

      seeing. All of our archived articles are listed by the specific behavior or

      problem that is discussed. You can find a list of those topics here: Also, we are available to answer any questions you may

      have regarding specific behaviors your son is exhibiting. Feel free to check

      back any time with any questions you may have. We appreciate you writing in.

      Take care.

  • Marusia
    THanks for the tips. My 8 year old is having outbursts in school and when confronting him at home he reacts as well.
  • m4710
    If my has son done something wrong and wont take responsibility for his actions how do u address the issues and how is he going to learn from his mistakes
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      It can be difficult to get a child to accept

      responsibilities for his actions. One thing you can do as a parent is to

      consistently hold your child accountable when he breaks the rules or doesn’t meet the expectations you

      have for his behavior. We find utilizing task oriented consequences to be

      beneficial, as Megan Devine discusses in her article . Another important aspect

      of helping a child learn more appropriate behaviors is problem solving. The

      reason most kids act out is because they lack the skills to deal with

      challenging situations effectively. Some kids learn how to make better choices

      by cause and effect, for example, a child learns not to touch a hot stove

      because he gets burned when he touches it or a child fails a test when he

      doesn’t spend enough time studying. For these kids, experiencing the natural

      consequence may be enough to motivate them to make a different choice the next

      time they are faced with a similar situation. Other kids may need a more formal

      approach to skills development such as having a problem solving conversation

      after he has acted out or made a mistake. For more information on helping your child

      develop better problem solving skills, you may find this article by Sara Bean

      useful: The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”.

      We appreciate you writing in. Take care.

  • neon831
    I have a 7 year old who has some trouble in school. Most days he's a good kid and listens to his teacher. 3 of the 5 days he gets in trouble for either talking too muh, not paying attention, throwing a tantrum or hitting other kids. LastMore week he punched a kid in the stomach to which his excuse was that it was an accident and didnt mean to hit him. Today I get a call from the school saying that he hit the same kid again but in the head this time. He got after school detention for 2 days. The vice principal called me and told me that he's getting worse and more dangerous. At the beginning of the year he got put in a therapy like class with other kids dealing with the same kind of issues. It helped him control his anger and he was doing good. They have since stopped the program and he's been getting worse. I just dont know what to do anymore and all I can do is cry. At home he throws a tantrum every once in a while but when he's around his cousins or other kids he tends to fight and hit and gets angry for any little thing. When he's is his little tantrums he doesn't listen to anyone and talking to him just makes it worse. Taking things away like electronics doesn't seem to help either. Please help!!
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      It can be tough to know how to help your child handle

      situations when you’re not their to guide or direct him. Truthfully, it’s not

      uncommon for younger kids to use aggressive behaviors as a way to handle

      situations they find frustrating or upsetting. At 7, he’s going to have a low

      tolerance for frustration and limited skills for dealing with the frustration

      he has. So, he tries to cope with his feelings of frustration by lashing out.

      You can help him develop those skills by with him ways he can deal with his anger/frustration more

      appropriately. Another thing you might consider doing is implementing a reward

      chart or incentive plan that is focused on him behaving appropriately in

      school. It could utilize a daily incentive, such as extra time on the computer

      or outside playing with friends, or be more long term, with him earning a check mark each day he

      behaves appropriately in school. Once he earns a certain number of checkmarks,

      he would then earn the reward. For more information on age appropriate rewards,

      you may want to check out this article by Rebecca Wolfenden - “Which Consequence Should I Give My Child or Teen?” How to Create a List of Consequences and Rewards for Children. From what you have described, it sounds like your son is already

      given consequences for his behavior at school. It’s probably going to be more

      effective to continue letting the school give your son consequences for

      behavior that happens in school while you focus on the rewards aspect at home.

      I hope this information is useful for your situation. Be sure to check back if

      you have any further questions. Take care.

  • Victoriadot

    I have a 15 year old grandson who has anger outbursts, threatens self harm and harming others, refuses to go to school or do house chores. He also has an eating disorder and very overweight. Recently my daughter seperated from his stepfather due to domestic violence. He has gone to 1 visit to Headspace which is a counselling place for teenagers. It has not appeared to make any impact. I know he needs many more visits. My daughter has 3 other children 12 years, 7 years and 4 years. This has caused a lot of anxiety for my daughter with my grandson acting out and affects the whole family. I guess we are looking for coping strategies.

    Upset Nan

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I can hear how concerned you are for your grandson and his

      family. One child’s behavior can cause unseen trauma and  have a lasting

      impact on the family as a whole. Developing a safety plan , as James Lehman

      suggests in his article  The Lost Children: When Behavior Problems Traumatize Siblings, would be of

      benefit. Continuing to work with the counselor at Headspace is also a good

      idea, as s/he would be able to work with your grandson and daughter directly.

      It is going to take more than one session to see if counseling will have a

      positive impact on your grandson’s behavior. In the meantime, finding ways of

      responding to his acting out behavior that don’t inadvertently give it power

      could also be helpful. For example, having his siblings leave the room when he

      starts to escalate will help by removing the audience. We would also recommend

      contacting your local crisis response whenever he makes statements about

      harming himself or others. The 211 Helpline would be able to give you

      information on crisis response in your area. You can reach the Helpline 24

      hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222. You can also visit them online at An important point regarding the tools

      and techniques you may find on Empowering Parents is that they are not designed

      for addressing food related issues. It is going to be best to work with a

      professional who is specifically trained in eating disorders. I hope this helps

      to give you some ideas on steps you and your daughter can take for managing your

      grandson’s behaviors. Please keep in touch and let us know how things are

      going. We wish you the best of luck.

  • frustrated mama


    I need help with my 7 year old son. He is smart and bright and funny and amazing. Here is the situation:

    A little over a year ago his dad and I broke up. Dad has a new female in his life pretty much right after we split (same week actually but the kids met her after we told them we split). We had a house near their school (he has an older sister who is 9)

    We broke up January 2014. I moved out in august 2014. House was sold same month. Dad moved into a bigger house in October 2014. Dad new person has a daughter my son's age. Dad is now selling his house after only 6 months.

    He would pee and poop in his pants a lot at the new school that seems to have stopped. He occasionally poops in pants with me, not sure about dad's place.

    He is in grade 1 and has already been suspended twice and had a half day suspension. All because of violent outbursts. Running after a kid with scissors, throwing objects etc. I am at wits end and not sure what to do. I feel like a bad mother sometimes I am in tears. My ex seems to be perfect as the kids listen to him. They tell me he yells a lot. My ex also blames me when my son goes to his place after being with me and had tantrums at school.

    Please help!!

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      frustrated mama

      Changes in a child’s life, such as his parents’ divorce or

      moving to a new house or school, can have a negative impact on behaviors. So,

      it’s not surprising your son’s behaviors would take a turn for the worse. I

      think it’s important to remember there is a distinction between “expected” and

       “ok”, and, while the changes your son has experienced should be taken

      into consideration, they shouldn’t be considered an excuse for his behavior.

      Keep in mind also that you have not caused your son’s behavior, either. At 7,

      your son most likely lacks the skills to deal with these changes in a way that

      is appropriate, so, he acts out in an attempt to cope with a difficult

      situation. You can help him with this by problem solving with him about ways he

      can deal with his anger and frustration more appropriately, as described in the

      article The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”.

      You might also consider utilizing an focused on him behaving appropriately at school. For example, you may

      set it up so he can earn extra TV time or video game time by not acting out in

      school. We wouldn’t recommend using the tools and techniques discussed in the

      article or on Empowering Parents to address his soiling incidents. That is something

      usually best addressed with the help of your child’s pediatrician or primary

      care provider. I hope this information is useful for your situation. Be sure to

      check back if you have any other questions. Take care.

  • caribbean woman

    J G...

    I'm a single mom. Has been raising my 3 yr old daughter basically on my own since pregnancy. We used to spend a few days a week at her dads up till last yr. He left us for someone with no kids. Once in a blue moon our daughter spends a day with him and his new love and she is getting rather difficult to deal with. I work almost everyday and whenever I'm home with her she poops in her underwear and throws tantrums everytime she doesn't get her way. If we go to the store and I don't buy her whatever she wants, if I don't put the clothes she chooses on her, if I don't let her do what she wants or tell her we can do whatever activity she chooses after I'm done with whatever I doing at the moment she starts screaming and stomping her feet and dropping herself to the floor. She throws tantrums at church if I don't let her climb the benches or walk around in the isle. She misbehaves at the clinic almost everywhere when she's with me. She's a saint when she's with my parents and with her dad or with whoever shes with for the day. She wont listen of o ask her to sit down or to stop with whatever wrongful thing she's engaged in. I'm a young mom and she's my only and I just feel like a failure when it comes to getting it right with her. I've tried different disciplinary actions I've even tried ignoring her and nothing seems to fix the problem. Sometimes I feel like I should seek counceling for myself. I feel like I'm doing the wrong thing every time.

    Please help me

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      caribbean woman 


      a toddler can be difficult, and can try most parents’ patience, so you are not

      alone.Part of the reason why most young

      children act out in such defiant ways is due to the discovery that they are

      separate individuals from their parents, and they want to assert their

      new-found independence in any way possible.It is also developmentally normal for toddlers to have a low tolerance

      for frustrating situations, and few coping skills when they do happen.Something that can be useful to address

      constant tantrums is to be clear and consistent about the rules and

      expectations you have for her, as well as how you will respond if she is acting

      out.For example, before going into a

      store, you might tell her, “We are going into the store to buy bread and

      milk.You need to hold my hand and speak

      quietly while we are in the store.If

      you are screaming, we will leave the store and you won’t be able to watch a

      video today.”You can find more tips and

      information in our article do not recommend using the steps described

      here to address her toileting accidents.Instead, it might be useful to check with her doctor about a strategy to

      address this behavior.Finally, it’s

      normal to feel overwhelmed and doubt your ability to parent, especially when

      you are a single parent of a toddler.It’s

      important to have support so that you can take care of yourself, whether that

      is calling a friend or family member when you’re feeling stressed, or finding more

      structured resources like a counselor or support group.Thank you for writing in; I understand how

      difficult it is to raise a toddler.Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going.Take care.

  • Christina Catherine
    My daughter is 7 and her behavior is decent at home but at school if teacher tells her to do something she doesn't want to do she then goes into a rage screaming im not doing it and she has tried to attack 2 of her teachers when they tookMore a toy away and if she loses a game she goes into rage if she is not first in line she attacks that child i have her in counseling but 3 years later im getting worried im at point of homeschooling her
  • singlemomof3
    My 6yr old daughter is a wonderful child. She is very respectful and caring and loving, she also is very manerable and helpful. She is a delight to be around. She enjoys helping people all the time. Heres the problem. At school whenever her teacher moves her behavior card fromMore green down to yellow she throws the biggest tantrum... I mean she kicks, screams, yells, cryes, pushes chairs, desk, even flips them over. I dont understand where this rage comes from, she see's none of this in our home and i dont allow her to accompany behaviors as such. Im afraid if this continues when she get older she will begin to inflict pain on nit only other but her self, any suggestions? Confussed and worried parent.
    • Darlene EP


      I can hear your concern and it

      is a question we get often, so you are not alone. The good news is your

      daughter’s behavior at home is respectful and she does not exhibit the

      classroom behavior’s you describe. What that tells me is that she is capable of

      managing her frustration, so with some coaching she can learn how to behave

      better at school when she is faced with an overwhelming situation. James Lehman

      would say that your daughter’s tantrums are just an inappropriate problem

      solving technique. When your daughter is confronted with a situation she does

      not know how to mange yet, she has a tantrum. What you can do to help your

      daughter  is to set limits with her, and teach her the skills she needs to

      manage overwhelming feelings on her own. Sara Bean explains how to do this in

      her article, The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”.

      I hope this has been helpful and we appreciate you reaching out to us for

      support. Check back with us when you need to. Take care.

    • Ashmo84
      One suggestion I would like to share is role play with your daughter. Place her in a situation where she realizes the same behavior she occurs at school. Make sure your not directing this behavior towards her and get her feedback on how she think that situation should've been handle.More Possibly give her some suggestions while role playing. Not only is it something she enjoys but less likely to show signs of distress if she enjoys it. Afterward reward her for making right choices. Good luck.
  • AF
    A lot of these suggestions are great for when you are at home with an angry child. But what about when you are out in public? You can't let the child stomp off to his room and have his angry moment when you're at the grocery. I know one ideaMore would be leaving. And sometimes we do. But sometimes my 6 year old melts down about not getting his way and we don't have a choice about being where we are, like if we have time sensitive errands that must be done or if I have to get him out the door to school on time and don't want to start the day off late or with a tantrum. I found this article by googling "help a child deal with anger" because I am at the end of my rope with the every day tantrums. Today he had a huge fit at the shoe store because the shoes he liked weren't available in his size. Any ideas for those times?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      Thank you for writing in; I’m glad

      that you found our site!  You are right that different environments can

      call for different strategies to address inappropriate behavior in the

      moment.  When you are in public, and your son starts to have a tantrum,

      one option is leaving the store.  If that is not possible, it is going to

      be most effective to remain as calm as possible, and to do your best not to

      give a lot of attention to the tantrum.  For instance, you might move slightly

      away from your son, and simply state, “You need to calm down.”  The best

      way to improve this type of behavior, though, is by talking about it when

      things are calm.  It’s normal for kids your son’s age, because they have a low tolerance for

      frustration, and few coping skills to handle difficult situations.  It can

      be useful to talk with him ahead of time about some ideas he can implement when

      he is feeling angry or upset, such as taking some deep breaths, drawing an

      angry picture or squeezing a stress ball.  You might also find it useful

      to use a, where he can earn a small incentive or

      reward by applying the new skills you have discussed.  This can be a

      frustrating situation for everyone involved; please be sure to write back and

      let us know how things are going for you and your son.

  • Dhiraj Sachdeva
    It was a great article and I will try to implement these while dealing with my son.
  • Mumof4

    I desperately need help with my 7 yr old daughter. She's the youngest of 4 (3 older brothers -15,11,9). Her tantrums are getting worse and worse. Or I should say anger outbursts. I need to know what I can do to help her cope with her angry moments. I've tried all of your suggestions above and they don't work with her. Most of the time she is a lovely child who loves a variety of things but then something sets her off and she loses it and screams and yells and throws things around.

    At school she is a model student who is very bright (according to the teacher).

    Please give me some suggestions

    Mum of 4

    • Ashmo84
      I think the best strategy to try is speaking with her when she is calm. Explain to her that it's okay to be angry but allow her to express herself by letting someone know she needs to calm down or to use her words so someone can help her.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      It can be so challenging when your child behaves one way at home

      yet is able to exhibit more appropriate behaviors at school and other settings.

      This is actually a pretty common situation, as Sara Bean explains in her

      article Angel Child or Devil Child? When Kids Save Their Bad Behavior for You. The good

      news is this does show that your daughter has the skills to deal with

      frustration appropriately. Now it’s just a matter of motivating her to use

      those skills when she gets upset at home. One thing you might consider doing is

      sitting down with your daughter at a calm time and talk with her about what she

      can do differently the next time she gets angry. You could even ask her what

      she does at school when she gets upset with a friend or classmate. Having these

      types of problem solving conversations will help your daughter start to develop

      the same skills at home that she uses at school. In the moment when the

      behavior is happening, it’s probably going to be best to disengage from the

      situation, allowing your daughter to calm down on her own. Trying to

      rationalize with a child who is in the middle of a tantrum is rarely effective.

      Dr. Joan Simeo Munson offers tips for steps you can take to thwart a tantrum in

      her article Stopping a Temper Tantrum in its Tracks: What to Do When Kids Lose it. Hopefully,

      this gives you some ideas for ways of addressing your situation. Be sure to

      check back if you have any further questions. We wish you and your family the

      best of luck moving forward.

  • gloribv30

    @maddad tearing him down by calling him the worst person makes thing worse. I've been there!  We ,as the adult, need to show our children how to respect each other and by doing this , we have to give respect, even when it seems so hard because his yelling downMore your throat. Instead of pointing out  all his flaws encourage your child. Tell him how much  you love him and that you want the best in life for him. When he does something good make a big deal about it, compliment him. Sometimes we get so caught up in all the bad qualities of each other that we forget the good ,even if its barely visible.

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    I am so sorry to hear your family is facing such struggles. I
    can only imagine how distressing this situation must be for everyone. From what
    you have written, it sounds like your son has been diagnosed with a mental
    health disorder, which may be having a negative impact on his behavior.More If he
    currently is still in counseling, it would be beneficial to work closely with
    his care provider to develop a plan for addressing the behaviors you are
    seeing. Having someone who knows your son and is able to work directly with you
    and your family would be a constructive way of helping your son develop skills
    to deal with his anger and anxiety more effectively. He or she may also be able
    to help your family develop a safety plan you can implement when your son
    becomes physically aggressive towards other family members. You could also
    contact your local crisis response and talk with someone there about steps you
    and your wife can take to ensure everyone’s safety. In the moment when the
    behavior is happening, it is probably a good idea to step away from your son,
    thereby decreasing the possibility he will cause harm to others. Trying to
    reason with him probably will not be an effective approach when he is feeling
    anxious or angry.  Calling the police when he becomes assaultive is
    another option. There are many parents in situations such as you describe who
    second guess their decision to have or adopt children, so, you’re not alone.
    Raising a child is tough; raising a child with mental health issues even more
    so. It may be valuable to find out what other types of community resources are
    available for your family,  such as a parent support group or respite
    care. The 211 Helpline would be able to give you information on these and other
    services in your area. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling
    1-800-273-6222 or by visiting them online at I appreciate you writing
    in and wish you and your family the best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • KellyRichardson

    My husband and I have hit the 12 year old preteen angst with our daughter, but we were raised differently.. We don't believe in all this "Love and Logic" crap.  We were raised that if you talked to your parents disrespectfully, you got a spanking or grounding, which ever hurtMore your feeling or your pride worse. :)  But we can't justify either with what's going on. We have taken away the Ipad, the cell phone, the computer, etc, But, big deal. Right now, the hormones are kicking in, and unfortunately, one of her grandparents, one she was Very close to when she was a baby, has been struck with Alzheimers and it is really breaking her heart.  We live very close to them, and she would visit them practically every day.  Now, she can barely stand to go down there.  It's just sad.  I have begged her to go and she tells me that her Papaw doesn't remember her.  But I tell her that she needs to make the memories for Herself.  She is practically the Only one in the family that he Does least her name. She is struggling with two subjects in school and a certain much that when she is frustrated, she pulls her hair.  Our baby girl has Never had a temper like I have seen in the past six months and I am at the point of taking her to the doctor and just making sure there are no other hidden problems.  I have thyroid issues...Maybe I should have blood work done just to make sure.  Any ideas or anyone else in this boat...Help?  Thank you.

    • Ashmo84
      Do you think your daughter would be interested in writing in a diary when she becomes frustrated. Make a big deal about it and praise her when she uses it. For the most part this could possibly be a stressful time so you want to be the best advocate forMore her during this time. Communication goes a long way with preteens. The environment can play a major role on the child so having a conversation with her where she is less likely to be distracted but attentive would be great. But try not to be so direct just ask few open ended questions where she can respond. All they really want is for you to listen. Good luck!!!! Keep up the great work!!!! Try to stay calm
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      I hear you. The tweens and teens can throw any parent into a
      tailspin. Having her seen by her doctor to rule out any possible underlying
      issues is a good idea. Health issues can have an adverse effect on behavior.
      You might also consider finding someone she can talk to about the changes she
      is seeing in her grandfather. It can be difficult as an adult to watch someone
      you love change as such a debilitating disease progresses. Being a young girl,
      she may not have the necessary coping skills to deal with the situation
      effectively. You might reach out to her school counselor or see if there is an
      Alzheimer support group in your area. Something to keep in mind is
      it’s not unusual to see changes in behavior as a child progresses into
      adolescence, as Janet Lehman discusses in the article Adolescent Behavior Changes: Is Your Child Embarrassed by You?.

      Hormones are starting to have an increased impact on moods. School and social
      interactions are also becoming increasingly more challenging and your
      daughter’s problem solving skills may not be well developed enough to handle
      all of these changes. These aren’t excuses, however, for any acting out
      behavior you may be seeing. So, once the doctor has had the chance to rule out
      any underlying issues that might be going on, you can then develop a plan for
      addressing the behaviors and also helping her develop those important problem
      solving skills. One article in particular you may find helpful is The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”. Something to keep in mind is it’s usually more useful
      to pick one behavior to focus on at a time, such as verbal disrespect or
      homework. Trying to address everything at once probably isn’t going to be
      effective since it will probably overwhelm everyone involved. Hang in there.
      The teen years are a bumpy ride but we do all manage to make it through. Be
      sure to check back and let us know how things are going. Good luck to you and
      your family as you work through these issues. Take care.

  • hi lm a foster mum with a13 year old boy who many times shouts and does all the things l have read on here . he was very taken back when l just looked at him and did nothink . l just walked away and did what l was doingMore not saying a word . he knew l was there and followed me around waiting for a reaction . as the time went on he asked me if their was any think wrong with me . lsaid not at all . l then asked him . are you ok to which he said yes thankyou ? we then had a talk and was able to work out what was upsetting him and how it was deal with by him .

  • Need an Intervention

    dunnowhattodonext DeniseR_ParentalSupport I have tried the talking to my son about what he can do differently when he feels that anger coming on.  IT DOESN'T HELP when that rage washes over them.  They can't think.  My son can control it in front of other people too.. Until he starts to feelMore comfortable. He acts fine and completely calm in front of everyone.  That is not who I deal with on a daily basis.  They have no idea that behind closed doors I lock myself and my 8 year old girl in my bedroom and hope he doesn't break the door down.  He's gotten close. 
    The distance between the lengths he will go and that line in the sand get shorter everyday and I pray that something will save him before those lines get crossed and something really bad happens.

  • Need an Intervention

    @maddad Can I tell you how much I understand.  I have been a single mother doing this for so long.  I completely understand the biding time.  I cannot wait until my son is out of my house.

  • As usual in this kind of article, there's a lot of don't and not much of guidance about what to do...

    Kinda useless.  But thank you anyway.

  • jenstam

    @maddad I'm dealing with the same with both of my youngest daughters. I have six children. They have two older sisters that graduated high school with 4.0 gpa's and are responsible healthy individuals. However, my two youngest girls are 17 and 15. They do WHATEVER THEY PLEASE WHENEVER THEY PLEASE.More They do drugs, they sneak out, they run away for days at a time and both do not go to school. We've tried it. Most of these approaches aren't realistic. Cops don't help, we've tried. Social Workers have all these great ideas that don't work. 
    Currently, my 15 year old is in a shelter. She's threatening me from the shelter on how things will be when she gets home. I know she'll do the same when she returns. 
    I find most of the "great" parenting advice a joke. It does not work. I've tried it all. They say therapy. What if your "child" refuses to get into a vehicle with you? They say take things away. What if your child doesn't care if things are taken away? We've tried. They say be more understanding and make them feel like they have a choice. We've tried that, too. 
    My only problem at this point now is that my 15 year old has 2.5 years left in our care. I'm counting down those years until she's 18 and I can finally get her out of our home. 
    We have two younger children at home who are 5 and 7, both boys and this has affected them greatly. 
    I feel your pain. I really, really do. It's a lonely world for parents like you and I. Nothing works. NOTHING.

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