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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Dealing with Anger in Children and Teens: Why Is My Child So Angry?
Kids Who are Verbally Abusive: The Creation of a Defiant Child
Empowering Parents Podcast: Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher
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.
You must log in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Create one for free!
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
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: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/child-behavior-problems/outbursts-temper-tantrums/
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.
Thank you for reaching out to EmpoweringParents.com. 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.
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: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/child-behavior-problems/aggression/
Thank you for reaching out. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.
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: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/parenting-strategies-techniques/calm-parenting/.
Thank you for reaching out. Be sure to check back and let us know how everything is going.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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!
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?
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
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 http://www.211.org/ 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.
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: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/running-away-part-i-why-kids-do-it-and-how-to-stop-them/.Please be sure to write back and let us know
how things are going for you and your family.Take care.
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/worried-sick-about-your-childs-future-how-to-stop-the-anxiety/
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.
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
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/explosive-child-anger-taming-your-toddlers-temper-tantrum/.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, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/losing-your-temper-with-your-child-8-steps-to-help-you-stay-in-control/.I hope that you will write back and let us
know how things are going for you and your family.Take care.
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, http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/ We wish you
the best going forward. Take care.
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ Thank
you for reaching out with your question. Take care.
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/i-dont-want-to-go-to-school-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/, 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.
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: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/calm-parenting-how-to-get-control-when-your-child-is-making-you-angry/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/losing-your-temper-with-your-child-8-steps-to-help-you-stay-in-control/.
Please let us know if you have any additional questions. Take care.
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ 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, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/aggressive-child-behavior-part-i-fighting-in-school-and-at-home/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/aggressive-child-behavior-part-ii-7-tools-to-stop-fighting-in-school-and-at-home/, 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.
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.
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/s 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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/which-consequence-should-i-give-my-child-how-to-create-a-list-of-consequences-for-children/ 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.
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ 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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-get-your-child-to-listen-9-secrets-to-giving-effective-consequences/ 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.
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-talk-to-police-when-your-child-is-physically-abusive/, as well as discussing options with his
treatment team about how to handle his aggression. You might find
additional information in our article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/signs-of-parental-abuse-what-to-do-when-your-child-or-teen-hits-you/ as
well. Thank you for reaching out, and I wish you and your family all the
best moving forward. Take care.
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-lost-children-when-behavior-problems-traumatize-siblings/. 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, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-handle-temper-tantrums-coaching-kids-to-calm-down/. 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.
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 http://www.frg.org.uk/
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
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 https://us-mg5.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch?.rand=4pd720cqnbm32.
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.
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
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/product/total-transformation-program/ program, talks more about this in his article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/good-behavior-is-not-magic-its-a-skill-the-3-skills-every-child-needs-for-good-behavior/. Best wishes to your family and let us know if you have any more
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.
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,
https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ , 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.
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
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, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/.
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.
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.
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/sibling-rivalry-good-kid-vs-bad-kid/, 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
https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/calm-parenting-anger-management-in-children-and-teens/. 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.
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 http://www.211.org/. 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
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.
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/. I hope
you find the information useful for your situation. Best of luck to you and
your family moving forward. Take care.
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/hitting-biting-and-kicking-how-to-stop-aggressive-behavior-in-young-children/.
Another article you may find useful is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/5-steps-to-giving-effective-consequences-to-young-kids/. 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.
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 ?
@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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/. We
appreciate you writing in. Take care.
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/. Another
article that may be useful for your situation is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/dealing-with-anger-in-children-and-teens-part-2-effective-tools-to-help-you-handle-it/.
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.
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!
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/. 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.
I’m glad you enjoyed the article. You may also find these
articles useful: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/8-steps-to-anger-management-for-kids/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/anger-rage-and-explosive-outbursts-how-to-respond-to-your-child-or-teens-anger/.
I hope this helps. Take care.
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: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/bribing-kids-vs-rewarding-kids-for-good-behavior-whats-the-difference/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/free-downloadables-child-behavior-charts-how-to-use-them-effectively/. I hope
this is useful for your situation. Take care.
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-lost-children-when-behavior-problems-traumatize-siblings/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/no-such-thing-as-a-bad-apple-fix-the-behavior-not-the-kid/. Please
let us know if you have any additional questions; take care.
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/. 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.
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 https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-handle-temper-tantrums-coaching-kids-to-calm-down/. Thank you for
writing in; take care.
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.
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
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 http://www.empoweringparents.com/how-to-handle-your-negative-complaining-child-or-teen.php. Please let us
know if you have additional questions; take care.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 http://www.empoweringparents.com/Good-Behavior-is-not-Magic-Its-a-Skill-The-Three-Skills-Every-Child-Needs-for-Good-Behavior.php
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.
@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 http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php
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.
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 http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php. 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 http://www.empoweringparents.com/How-to-Stop-Aggressive-Behavior-in-Young-Children.php.
Please let us know if you have additional questions; take care.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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
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.
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 http://www.211.org/.
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.
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 http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org.
You could also try calling them at 1-800-448-3000. Good luck to you and your
family moving forward. Take care.
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 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 http://www.empoweringparents.com/how-to-improve-your-childs-behavior-and-regain-control-as-a-parent.php 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 http://www.empoweringparents.com/parenting-resolutions-your-4-step-plan-to-calm-positive-parenting.php. 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 http://explore.va.gov/ or the http://www.211.org/ 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.
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
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.
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 http://www.211.org/
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.
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.
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 http://www.empoweringparents.com/my-kids-are-too-smart-for-their-own-good.php, 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 http://www.empoweringparents.com/Your-Child-is-Not-Your-Equal-Why-You-Have-to-Be-the-Boss.php 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.
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.
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
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: http://www.empoweringparents.com/articles.php. 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.
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.
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 http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php 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.
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.
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 http://www.211.org/. 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.
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.
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 http://www.empoweringparents.com/How-to-Use-Behavior-Charts-Effectively.php 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.
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
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 http://www.empoweringparents.com/how-to-discipline-young-kids-effectively-4-tips-every-parent-can-take.php.I 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.
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.
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 http://www.empoweringparents.com/Stopping-a-temper-tantrum.php, 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 http://www.empoweringparents.com/free-downloadable-charts/, 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.
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
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.
@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.
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 211.org. I appreciate you writing
in and wish you and your family the best of luck moving forward. Take care.
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 remember..at least her name. She is struggling with two subjects in school and a certain teacher..so 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.
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 .
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.
@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.
@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.