Stop and think for a moment: when your child or teen is in the throes of a tantrum or an all-out rage, what is your initial reaction? Do you get angry yourself and start yelling, do you freeze and say nothing, or do you become frightened and give in? Maybe your answer is even, “All of the above, depending on the day!” You are not alone. Dealing with childhood anger and explosive rage is one of the toughest things we are faced with as parents. Not only is it hard to do effectively, it’s exhausting and can easily make you feel defeated, even if you don’t lose your cool.

We all know the above reactions (yelling, freezing and giving in) aren’t helpful, but why exactly is that so? Simply put, if you freeze and do nothing, lose control and yell or give in to your child’s demands, he will know that he can push your buttons—and that it works. Even if your kid can’t put it into words, on some level he understands that if he can scare you or wear you down by throwing a tantrum, he’ll get his way.

As soon as your child realizes you have certain weak spots, he will continue to use them, because now he has a handy tool he can use to solve his problems. Instead of facing consequences or being held accountable, he’s figured out a way to get off scot-free.

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Here’s the good news: Learning to overcome your knee-jerk reactions of either freezing or becoming angry and “losing it” will be the start of turning around your relationship with your child—and the first step in teaching him appropriate ways to manage his temper.

Don’t get us wrong, as therapists and parents, we know firsthand how difficult this task can be—but fortunately we also know what really works to manage angry kids. Before we tell you some techniques you can use in the moment (and afterward) to turn this pattern around in your family, understand this: anger is always a “secondary emotion.” What this means is that another unpleasant feeling is always underneath an angry or enraged response; anger just leaves us feeling less vulnerable than hurt or fear do.

If you can stop and remember that something else affected your child first, whether it was disappointment, sadness or frustration, you will be one step ahead. Another key point to understand is that anger serves a purpose. It lets us know something’s wrong in the same way burning your finger lets you know the stove is hot. It hits quickly and the reaction is immediate:  Your child is disappointed he can’t go to his friend’s house and kaboom, you have a fight on your hands. (We’ll explain how to get to the bottom of these emotions later.)

Keeping all of this in mind, here are 7 things for you to avoid doing when your child is angry.

1. Don’t get in your kid’s face

When your child is having an explosive anger attack or enraged response to something, do not get in his face. This is the worst thing you can do with a kid who’s in the middle of a meltdown. As long as your child is old enough, we would recommend that you not get anywhere close to him.

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You have to remember that kids with explosive anger are out of control. The adrenaline is pumping and all rationale has left the body. They are in fight or flight mode, about to blow up. How close do you really want to get to that? By getting in there with your child, you will likely only further ignite their anger. And if you try to say something to them in the middle of it, you’re just going to fan the flames.

We often feel like we have to stand right there and handle the meltdown with our kids. But if nobody’s getting hurt and it’s not a life-threatening situation or safety issue, it’s better to back off and give them some distance. After all, if you saw an angry stranger in a store, you wouldn’t go up to him and start yelling or rationalizing, would you? You’d probably leave the area as soon as possible!

2. Don’t react out of emotion

When your child is angry, rather than reacting out of emotion, which will escalate things, do whatever you need to do to step out of the situation. Walk away, take some deep breaths, and try your best to stay objective and in control. Take a time-out if you need one (and if your child is old enough for you to leave the area). Use some phrases to remind yourself, “I’m going to respond to this logically instead of emotionally. I’m going to stay on topic. I’m not going to get off track.” You might also remind yourself, “One step at a time. None of this is going to happen overnight.” Part of our job as parents is to model how to handle emotions appropriately. (Easier said than done, we know!) When you’re upset, your job is to show him good ways to deal with the emotions at hand.

3. Don’t jump to conclusions about your child’s anger

Your child may not be wrong for feeling upset. There may be some justification for his anger, even if the behavior is not justified. When parents tell us they’re upset with their child for being angry, we say, “Is it not okay for him to ever just be disappointed and unhappy and mad? Because everyone feels that way sometimes.” Remember that people can be justifiably disappointed and may present that in an angry way. If your child can’t be respectful in explaining his viewpoint, then you’ll need to leave him alone until he calms down. You can say, “I understand you feel angry; I’m sorry you feel that way.” Then leave it alone until he’s cooled off. If it turns into a temper tantrum where he’s saying foul things, breaking objects or hurting others, then that’s when you want to address the behavior. You can’t in any way control the way your child feels about things—all you can do is give him consequences and hold him accountable for his behavior. Getting mad at your child for being mad will only escalate the situation.

Understand that it’s normal for kids to get angry. We all get angry. In actuality, it’s not anger that’s the problem, it’s the resulting behavior. Kids have notoriously low frustration tolerances. Just because your child is angry doesn’t mean it has to turn into an unrecoverable situation. Don’t expect your child to always be happy with you or like you or your decisions. Accept that it goes along with the territory that sometimes they’re going to be angry with you—and that’s okay.

4. Don’t try to reason with an angry child

Avoid trying to hold a rational conversation with your angry child; it’s not going to work. If she’s disappointed about something and you try to reason her out of it, it’s probably only going to make things more heated. Don’t try in the moment to get your child to see it your way because you don’t want her to be mad at you. When you jump in and try to make her see it your way, it really isn’t helpful. And you’re going to come away from that more frustrated yourself, especially with ODD kids. They’re not going to have any of it and will turn the tables and try to rationalize with you in order to get their way. Instead, just give everyone a cooling off period. You can say, “I can see that you’re really upset; we can each take a timeout and get back to this later.”

5. Don’t give consequences or making threats in the heat of the moment

Along these same lines, wait until everything has calmed down before you give consequences to your child. If you try to punish her when emotions are running high, chances are you will cause further eruptions. You might come back later and say, “You were really angry. I’m wondering if there was one part of how that went that you wish was different. What could you do differently next time?”

You might also think about whether or not consequences are really necessary after a tantrum. Sometimes, parents will give consequences to kids just for blowing up. We’ve had kids come in to a therapy session and tell us that they’ve lost all of their privileges because they’ve had a tantrum. Let’s say a teen girl slams the door and mutters something under her breath on the way out before going for a walk. When you look at it objectively, a child who’s working on her anger has actually handled it fairly well—going for a walk to cool down. In this situation, you might decide to forego consequences. While every family has different rules about what is allowed and what isn’t, there should be some latitude to allow your child to express anger appropriately. Again, don’t give consequences for feelings, give them for inappropriate behavior.

6. (For older kids) Don’t miss a chance to talk with your child later

If it’s appropriate and if your child is old enough—and seems willing to talk about what made them so angry—try sitting down and discussing it. You can say, “You were really mad earlier, but I’m just wondering if that came from you feeling so hurt about what happened at school.” Wait to hear what your child says, and really listen. Don’t interrupt or preach. If they do open up, try asking open-ended questions like, “What do you think you could do to handle it better next time?” Or, “Is there anything I could do that would be helpful to you?”

Most of the time when older kids or teens throw tantrums or lose control, it’s because they have very poor problem-solving skills. They haven’t yet learned to solve their underlying problems in healthy ways, so they scream, break things, and call people names. Problem-solving skills don’t come naturally—they come with practice. Sometimes by talking to your child and finding out what’s going on, you can guide them to those problem-solving tools.

7. Don’t lose sight of your goal

Always ask yourself what you’re aiming for as a parent. What is your end goal? One of our most important jobs is to show them appropriate, healthy ways to behave as we give them some problem-solving tools. It’s not only important to discipline our kids, but also to teach and to guide them. Sometimes lessons don’t require a consequence, but are rather an opportunity to talk and help your child come up with a better way to handle the situation next time.

Related content:
Dealing with Anger in Children and Teens: Why Is My Child So Angry?
Calm Parenting: Anger Management in Children and Teens

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About and

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

Comments (125)
  • Momofgirls

    My 12 year old daughter inherited her father's temper & when things don't go her way, she is quick to get angry & start blaming it on her little sister or me. She will usually start to lash out as well & dig her nails into our arms, slap us, hit us, etc. Most of the time she hits so hard it leaves marks. We even had to her get a lock on her little sister's bedroom door so she had a safe place to escape to!

    I have a rare autoimmune disease which leaves me on bedrest most of the time or with an unsteady & weak gait when I do get up. I've lost a lot of my muscle tone from the bed rest & chemo meds I have to take, so Im no match at all for my 12 year who is already my height & just about my same weight too. I did slap her once after she got in my face & mouthed off and she responded by slapping me right back!! I've always been against spanking & this was the first & last time I ever slapped her because obviously all it did was make matters worse.

    When she does eventually calm down she'll come in my room balling & tell me how sorry she is & what a bad kid she is & how we probably all hate her because of what she does when she gets mad. She seems very sincere & other than her temper, she's a really good kid believe it or not! Straight A student, never ever gets in trouble at school or anywhere else but home. Most of the time she's a total sweetheart & helps care for me & is very sweet & thoughtful. And her sister & her are BFFs 90% of the time. I just don't know what to do to help her calm down & stop hitting when her temper flares. Im really at a lost bc everything we've tried (like having her hit a pillow instead & counting to 10 with breathing techniques when starting to get upset. etc) only works for a short time. My husband farms during the day, then works 3-11p, so it's usually just me with the girls. My daughter listens to him 100% better than she does me, so it's become a real challenge when he's gone.

    Thanks in advance for any help or advice you may have. Im open & willing to try anything that may work! Oh we've also been on a waiting list to get sophia into therapy & family therapy too for over a year now! We're considering trying

    online therapy in the meantime because we just really can't wait any longer!

    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Thank you for reaching out to Empowering Parents. I can hear how distressing your daughter's temper tantrums and outbursts are. It may help to know that the behavior is not uncommon, especially for pre-teens and teens. We have several articles that offer helpful tips for how to response to the behavior in the moment, as well as how to follow up and hold your daughter accountable. You can find those articles here: 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.

  • Twomoms

    We are two moms with a 6 year old boy. He is incredibly intelligent, and has days of pure joy. He is, unfortunately, very competitive and won’t even play games if there’s a possibility of losing.

    He is an only child and has been spoilt, mostly by grandparents, as we’ve been quite strict. When he’s told no, he responds by lifting his hand as if he will hit us (which he used to) or more recently, lifting something to throw at us instead (he has followed through a few times). Consequences don’t seem to bother him. We step away, and he will always come and apologise, we give consequences, which sometimes can provoke another tantrum and sometimes not. Then maybe one hour later, the cycle is repeated when he doesn’t get his way.

    Is there anything we can do differently?!

  • Vivian
    I am a mother of a 7 year old who in these hard times has been having a lot of issues. We keep an open forum in the home to talk about things that have been bothering her, always check in and ask if she's okay. Shes been having theseMore uncontrollable breakdowns and tantrums that no one can get under control. if she hears a no it happens and when its time for school. She starts off with not talking and just grunting then it escalates to screaming, throwing, breaking, and saying really horrible things. We've tried to ignore, let her go through it and calm down but when it starts getting out of hand like breaking things and screaming at the top of her lungs we get involved. We've learned that raising out voice doesn't work, just makes it worse, we've tried to stop that. but its hard to let her be because she can hurt herself. when we do get involved at this point she has hit us. I am at a total loss. Shes been missing days of school. any advise?
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      I can understand your distress. We have a great article that offers tips for managing aggressive acting out behavior in young children I think would be helpful: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/hitting-biting-and-kicking-how-to-stop-aggressive-behavior-in-young-children/

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

  • Kylene
    My daughter is 8, and she has adhd. When she gets mad, which is often, she screams and starts throwing things. She doesn't care who she hits or what she breaks. I am to my limit, it is causing stress in my marriage because we don't always agree on howMore to handle it. And really neither of us know what to do.
  • Nicole
    I have been separated from my husband for four months and there is no going back. My son of 11 years old has told me that he doesn't want anything to do with me every again. As the x has pushed my buttons to the extent of me saying haveMore your son to yourself and do what you want the dog I don't care anymore. I'm asking is it possible I could fix this relationship with my son or is it best to walk away so I don't fight anymore with the x.
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear you. It can be difficult to know what to do next when you said things out of anger with your partner that have now impacted your relationship with your son. From our perspective, it’s never too late to change and make amends with your child. More At this point, it might be helpful to work with local resources, such as a counselor, who can help you to look at your options, and develop a plan for the next steps you can take with your son. For information about support available in your community, try visiting the Raising Children website, which provides information about resources available locally. I recognize what a tough situation this must be for you right now, and I wish you and your family all the best moving forward. Take care.
  • Heartbroken
    My daughter is 15 and very disrespectful. She is an only child, straight A student and spoiled. She has had some medical issues which have resulted in her having to cancel a bday party (we organized another), a vacation, let's just say many disappointments. I feel herMore pain, but.....here is my problem. I live in a different country to my family. My mom is all alone as my dad passed away end of January. She is alone and I care. She lives in an unsafe country and I call her every evening at 10pm which is her 7am. I call as I need to make sure she is ok. No one will know if she falls or anything and this is why I call. We chat for 15-30 minutes. My daughter (since turning 14 refuses to talk on the phone), and I let it slide as teenage behavior. Now, she had a tantrum last night and told me If I don't stop calling my mom every day, she won't talk with me, then cussed and called me names. I told her I would NOT stop calling. She went to bed mad. Today she still wont speak to me. I made her some hot coco and gave it to her. I told her to come be with us and enjoy the weekend. She said "are you going to keep calling your mom?" I said I was and she said get out my room, your obsessed and abnormal. What do I do????
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I’m so sorry to hear about your father’s death, and I understand your concern for your mother’s well-being given her current living situation. I also hear how upsetting your daughter’s reaction to your daily phone check-ins has been to you. It’s not uncommon for teens to have aMore different perspective from adults, which is mainly due to their brain development at this stage in their lives. Your daughter is probably not able to see the value of your daily calls to your mom from an adult perspective, because she’s not there yet in her level of maturity. So, instead of trying to convince her of the importance of doing this or trying to get her to agree with you, I recommend focusing instead on her choice to curse and call you names. You might find some helpful tips in Fighting with Your Teen? What to Do After the Blowout 7 Steps to Defuse the Tension. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Joanne k

    I was married for 5 months, i was pregnant, i loved my husband so much, but he treated me so badly we fought because i have found numerous other texts on his phone from other women, i became so tired of of his womanizing behavior, worrying all the time, and i was always scared when i am not with him . one night he came back drunk, he also came with another lady, when i tried to confront him, he immediately started hitting me and he pushed me out the house and ask me to leave, i was lost and confused, i was stranded that i have to find a help from anywhere then i came across a spell caster with this ( EMAIL; DR.MAC@YAHOO. COM ) who had saved many marriage when i emailed him, he told me what is needed to be done and after 3 days, he restored my marriage, i and my husband came back together as couple again, i am so so so so happy, my marriage was saved….

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
    lisaprag I understand your concern for your son, and his increasing frustration with difficult tasks.  I’m glad that you have spoken with other resources locally about your son’s statements about wanting to die, and I encourage you to continue to do so.  Many kids struggle when faced with challenging tasks,More so your son is not alone in this.  At this point, you might find it useful tohttps://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ about what he can do differently when he is feeling scared or frustrated, and appropriate steps to take to cope with those feelings.  You might also find some useful information in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-child-is-out-of-control-how-to-teach-kids-to-manage-emotions/.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your son.  Take care.
  • Mayfaith

    Hello Good morning

    I have 9 year old daughter, I am a single parent for 9 yrs, but now I just married 1 month ago. My daughter love my husband that's not a problem, but then she have a problem sometimes that she easily get angry of some things that we not agreed each other. She went to her rooms pushing the door , and then mad at me. She will talk bad words to me that I hated so much. Makes me cry sometimes. What should I do? Please give me advice. Thank you

    • bb1212

      Have cue cards ready at hand..in purse..etc but be ready with an appropriate non heated non threatening sounding response of showing empathy..to affirm shes angry then if not to heated ..take for walk or something to get mind away...

      Talk later when calm to go over how that debate could have played out better next time...its all about learning ftom the negatives to have more positive outcomes next time

  • Sheema
    My son is 7 years old he gets angry so quickly and as a reaction he start shouting not want to listen and his lose temper is just for few minutes Dan everything is OK but I am really worried about him he has a poor skil to solve hisMore problem in school how I teach him to control his temperament in front of others and keep yourself calm and how to deal with school matters
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Sheema I hear you.  We talk with a lot of parents who are concerned about their child’s lack of self-control and skill in managing strong emotions like anger, so you are not alone.  Many children your son’s age have difficulty managing anger appropriately, because they tend to have a lowMore frustration tolerance and few appropriate coping skills to use when they become upset.  This doesn’t mean that you are powerless, however.  It might be useful to talk with your son when he is calm about specific steps he can follow to help himself work through his anger, as outlined in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/8-steps-to-anger-management-for-kids/.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your  family.  Take care.
  • kimsorto19
    I need advise, I got a toddler that is 2 years old and sometimes she gets angry and throws a fit and what I do is back off put her in her room amd leave the door open and give her, her own space for her to calm down onceMore she's calm I'll go and hug her kiss her and tell her it's find.. but some people said that it's not good for me to do that cause they understand it but other people won't supposely them, are they right? What should I do?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      kimsorto19 Thank you for your question.  Most toddlers have these kinds of meltdowns when they become angry or upset, so this is very normal developmentally.  The most effective thing you can do is to remain calm yourself, and help her learn how to calm herself down.  Leading her to aMore safe place and letting her know that she is welcome to rejoin you once she is calm is an effective strategy to address temper tantrums.  Dr. Joan Simeo Munson outlines additional strategies for tantrums in her article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/explosive-child-anger-taming-your-toddlers-temper-tantrum/.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
    scared and worried We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and sharing your story. I am sorry to hear about the way that your brother is treating you.  You have the right to feel safe in your home.  Because we are a website aimed at helping people become moreMore 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.
  • oregon mom

    hello I'm a single mother to three children,(18 girl,14 girl, and 10 boy) I guess I should start by saying that I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and I'm trying to make up for them. I love my kids more then life but my 14 and 10 have a lot of problems one is they both have ptsd and adhd, but my 14 also has odd and ocd to and I have had them both in counceling my son for a year now and my daughter for five years now and I'm seeing nothing happen out of it, my son gets so mad at little things and then hits his sisters and all his wants to do is be with me or play games and my daughter just seems to get worse and worse she says bad words all the time, hits , punches walls, cuts sometimes , tells me she hates me, but then she can be so sweet other time. I know what happened in the past has some to do with it. i just at my end with doctors not helping and people telling me to spank them or telling me my kids are going to be those people as a mother or a parent we want our children to be better and have better then us and that's all i want as well but i feel there is no one out there that will help me with this so please if you no anyone or if you know what could help me let me no thank you for taking the time for my family and me               

                                                       Oregon mom

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      oregon mom I’m so sorry to hear of all the challenges you are facing with your children right now, and I’m glad that you’re here reaching out for support.  I also hear your frustration that other resources, such as doctors and counselors, have not seemed to help you.  It couldMore be beneficial to share your concerns with these professionals, so that you can work together as a team to address your kids’ behavior.  If you are looking for other local resources, such as a support group or a different counselor, I encourage you to contact the http://www.211.org at 1-800-273-6222.  In addition, I find that it’s most effective to pick one issue or behavior to focus on at a time, in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed.  You might find our article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/its-never-too-late-7-ways-to-start-parenting-more-effectively/, helpful as you continue to move forward.  I recognize how difficult this must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward.  Take care.
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
    Eileen cawley I’m so sorry to hear about the challenging behavior you are experiencing with your son, as well as the consequences you are facing as a result.  I hear how much effort you are putting into trying to help your son manage his behavior. I encourage you to continueMore to work with social services and other resources to create a plan to hold him accountable and to keep both of you safe.  I also hope that you are taking steps to take care of yourself during this time.  Self-care is an often overlooked, yet important aspect of parenting, and can impact how effective you are able to be with your son.  Your self-care plan can be anything you wish, from engaging in an activity you enjoy to using more structured supports, such as a counselor or support group.  For more information about these, and other resources in your area, you can ask your social services caseworker, or try contacting http://www.familylives.org.uk/ at 0808 800 2222.  I recognize how tough this situation must be for you, and I wish you and your son all the best moving forward.  Take care.
  • Concernedfamilymemeber
    Good evening! I am looking for some advice for my sister and her family. She is a single mother of four and lives in Ny state. She has a 15 year old boy who is highly verbally abusive and can get physical. He has even turned to drugs at someMore point. She has tried to get him help numerous times and he just doesn't care. His lies are so disgusting making his mother look like she is nuts. She has called police on him, put him on probation, ECT. But it seems that everyone believes his lies. She is at the point where she needs him out of the house for the safety of herself and get other three children. His father doesn't want to take him but she needs to get him out. How would you go about doing that legally ?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and

      sharing your story.I hear how much you

      want to help your sister, and how concerned you are about your nephew’s

      behavior. It may be helpful to look into local resources to help you and your

      sister develop a plan for addressing these issues. The http://www.211.org/ is a referral service

      available 24 hours a day, nationwide. They can give you information on the

      types of support services available in your area such as counselors, legal

      assistance, support groups as well as various other resources. You can reach

      the Helpline by calling 1-800-273-6222. We wish you the best going forward.

      Take care.

  • Mom814
    I have a 15 yr boy that when i tell him no he calls me f-cking c or douche ! And he don't come home from school and I try to say I need to know where u are at all times if u don't talk to me uMore don't go any where ! So I try to take things away then he bushing me around or groups me by the neck ! And when u ask him to do something I will in a mint so I wait 1/2 hr or 45 min the go back and ask a again then I calls me names or push me around ! I may be wrong but I sent him to leve with his reall dad because my other 2 kids 3and 6 I don't think need to see this
    • JFo333
      Dear GOD! I am so sorry ? That sounds like a very difficult situation that you face with your son. I applaud you for taking a stand.....it is never o.k., especially for a child, to put their hands on any parent, ESPECIALLY their Mother! I have three teenage daughters, andMore I think I'd have to do the same thing you did if it were me (send them to live with their Dad or another family member) I feel bad for your son, too, because in order for him to feel/act that way, something must be eating away at him (and I'm certainly not saying his actions/behavior was/is right!) Hopefully, living with his Dad will help to change your sons perspective on things.....and also some sort of therapy might be beneficial. My daughter has been going to her therapist for several years now, and it has made a noticeable difference. I wish you all the best with your son (and with your two little ones, as well) You're doing a great job...hang in there! ??
  • SadMom2
    Hello, I am having trouble with my 7 year old daughter, an only child. She goes through some rejection at school or after care and when she gets home she is explosive - my way or the highway. I wslk on eggshells around her to keep it fromMore escalating. She is never happy or is loathe to tell me about it. It is affecting her friendships. We have a birthday party to go to this weekend and i am oreparing her that it will be someone else's day, not hers, and that her friend will want to spend time with others not just her. She wants to go but these concepts enrage her and she says she wont ho. Evetything is "stupid". She is also very self denegrading. I feel like its stsrting to get abive my head and maybe shoukd get professional help.
    • OldSoul

      Really tough place to be.

      I feel your daughter might be struggling with establishing her control. This is a common reaction when we don't have control. Also she might be struggling with self esteem.

      Did something change recently?

      I don't have solution. Assertiveness, Lov, support and telling her that she should voice her emotions so that you both can work through it.

      Help her channel her frustration into an art or craft or outdoor activity.

      Be there for her

  • Mom1126
    My four year old daughter acts out violently when she gets upset. Scratching, biting, throwing stuff across the room or specifically at me. If I try to talk to her to calm her or ask why she's so upset she'll scream or plug her ears and say she can't hearMore me. I'm not an angry person and just really don't know how to react to this in a way to teach her this behavior is not okay but also be sensitive to her feelings which is my goal. Just today she scratched me and threw stuff at me while I blocked the door so she couldn't get out by everyone while acting like that. The tantrum ended with her saying she "needed moms love to calm down". So I scooped her up and hugged her while I told her how much I loved her and that's why I'm trying to teach her. We hugged until she stopped crying and calmed down then I let her out. Hugging isn't always an option though and I didn't feel like the issue was actually addressed. How should I address her violent outburst??
    • SharonNumnut
      Mom1126 Its great she wanted to hug you.  It would have been the perfect time to ask her if there is something bothering her she wanted to talk about.  Tell her you know she is upset but don't know why then tell her when she wants to tell you justMore come and get you
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      I hear how

      concerned you are about your daughter, and how much you want to stop these

      outbursts as well.  Many parents struggle with how to effectively respond

      to this type of behavior, so you are not alone.  It’s actually not

      uncommon for young children to act out aggressively, because they tend to have

      a low tolerance for frustration, poor self-control and few appropriate coping

      skills to use when they become upset.  This doesn’t mean that you cannot

      address it, though.  When she starts becoming upset, I encourage you to

      direct her toward a calming activity, as described in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-handle-temper-tantrums-coaching-kids-to-calm-down/.  Another article

      which you might find helpful in addressing your daughter’s behavior is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/hitting-biting-and-kicking-how-to-stop-aggressive-behavior-in-young-children/. 

      I understand how challenging this type of behavior can be, and I hope you will

      write back and let us know how things are going.  Take care.

  • Singer

    I have a 16 yr old girl who has a boyfriend 15 yrs old I allowed her to meet him 2 days a week and that went ok since going back to school she had become extremely difficult and very disrespectful to both her parents to the extent she would not go to school the other day She will not do anything I ask her for example clean her room or empty the dishwasher that is all I ask her to do but she will not lift a finger I am at the moment constantly dealing with her outbursts which are full of rage when she doesn't get her own way

    I am turely heartbroken at the moment and myself and her dad have now become as enraged as she is which is causing a lot is sadness and upset in her home

    My 13yr old son is finding the whole situation upsetting and asks his sister to stop behaving so disrespectful and demanding

    We are all absolutely exhausted from her behaviour and don't know what to do

    • Darlene EP


      I am sorry your are facing such

      challenging behavior from your daughter. You are not alone in dealing with

      defiant and disrespectful behaviors. Many parents are dealing with this as

      well, and I am glad you are reaching out for support. Like the above article

      mentions, do your best to control your reactions to your daughter’s

      inappropriate behaviors. Getting angry will only create a power struggle and

      escalate her acting out behaviors. Another article you may find helpful that

      discusses how to avoid power struggles, is James Lehman’s article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/avoiding-power-struggles-with-defiant-children-declaring-victory-is-easier-than-you-think/ Let us know if you find this article helpful in addressing your

      concerns. We wish you and your family the best as you continue to work through

      this. Take care.

  • Shannon15
    Hello, how can I read these articles in Spanish?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      Thank you for your question, and for your interest in our

      site.  At this time, we are currently publishing our materials only in

      English.  Please let us know if you have additional questions.  Take


  • Singlemom3
    Hi, I am a single mom. I have a 15 yr. Old son who is near 6 ft. Tall & muscular. He is refusing to do homework & many days refuse to go to school. When I bring it up he starts yelling at me. What can I do toMore get him to go to school & do the work?
    • SharonNumnut
      Singlemom3 Its against the law for a child to stay home for no reason at all, remind him of that
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    @Completely unsure 

    I’m so sorry to hear

    about all that you have been through with your son.  I hear how much you

    have tried to help your son over the years, and how much you care about

    him.  I can also understand your feeling unsafe having him in the house

    alone with you, and it doesn’t mean that you are https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/am-i-a-bad-parent-how-to-let-go-of-parenting-guilt/.  In fact, setting clear boundaries for kids, and following

    through on enforcing these limits, are all part of being an effective

    parent.  At this point, it could be useful to work with local resources if

    you are not already doing so, such as a family counselor, support groups and

    others, to help you figure out your options as you move forward with your

    son.  For assistance locating these supports in your area, try contacting

    the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222.  I

    recognize what a difficult situation this must be for you, and I wish you all

    the best moving forward.  Take care.

  • Will
    I have a 15 year old daughter who hits me. how do I deal with it? do I go to the authorities? How will that influence this angry child of mine? Concerned dad.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      I speak with many

      parents who feel confused, hurt and lost when their child behaves abusively

      toward them; you are not alone.  Calling the authorities is an option

      available to you, and ultimately, it is a personal choice which every parent

      must make for themselves.  Something that can be helpful if you are

      considering contacting the police is to call on the non-emergency line during a

      calm time, and talk about what is going on, and what you could expect from them

      if you did call after your daughter hits you.  We have a free downloadable

      worksheet which can help to guide this conversation; you can get a copy by

      clicking https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-talk-to-police-when-your-child-is-physically-abusive/. 

      In addition, you might find more guidance in our article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/signs-of-parental-abuse-what-to-do-when-your-child-or-teen-hits-you/.  I

      recognize what a difficult situation this must be for you, and I wish you all

      the best.  Take care.

  • Lynn7704
    My son is very disrespectful, he cusses at me throws things makes holes in the wall Granite I'm not the perfect parent and I have had many times lost my temper and said things out of anger as well he's 16 and I don't know what to do I'm scaredMore for him as a young adult I also have 3 other younger boys that pay attention to what he does and how he treats me and I'm scared they're going to follow into the same path what do I need to change to make this better as a parent and make it more of a suitable environment for all for my children. He threatens that he's going to run away and he has twice he has called every one of those names I have got counseling for him I've had him on medication and nothing seems to work, he's been suspended for fighting and then recently expelled so please help me if you can sincerely I determine mother
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      It sounds like you

      are witnessing several challenging behaviors from your son, and it’s

      understandable that you might be feeling overwhelmed.  In addition, almost

      everyone has lost their temper at some point, and made statements in anger that

      they would not have otherwise made.  I can hear how determined you are to

      changing things in your home, and it’s a great sign that you are reaching out

      for support.  Something that can be useful is to prioritize the issues you

      are experiencing, and only focusing on one or two at a time.  This way,

      you can be more consistent and in control when you are addressing these

      situations.  Sara Bean offers more tips in her article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/in-over-your-head-how-to-improve-your-childs-behavior-and-regain-control-as-a-parent/.  I recognize how difficult this must be for you and your

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

  • Popcicles
    You should really say he/she and him/her because for some of those things its not just males or females that act that way.
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


    I am sorry to hear of your year-long separation from your

    son, and your desire to “make up for lost time” is quite understandable. 

    Many parents in similar situations want to have a positive, happy relationship

    with their child after time spent apart.  At the same time, it’s important

    to keep in mind that kids also need structure, clear limits, and discipline in

    order to thrive.  Something that could be helpful might be to seek out

    local resources, such as a counselor or a support group, which can assist you

    in developing a plan which balances both building a positive relationship with

    your son while also setting up structure for him.  For assistance locating

    services available in your community, try contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222.  I

    recognize how difficult this must be for you and your family, and I wish you

    all the best as you continue to move forward.  Take care.

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


    Thank you for

    reaching out for support.  I hear how much you regret your actions, and

    want to repair your relationship with your son.  Ultimately, though, the

    decision about whether to trust you or forgive you is really up to your

    son.  What you have control over are your own actions, and working on ways

    to address your own aggression in the future.  You might find some helpful

    information in our articles https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/losing-your-temper-with-your-child-8-steps-to-help-you-stay-in-control/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/calm-parenting-how-to-get-control-when-your-child-is-making-you-angry/.  Sometimes,

    it can also be useful to work with someone locally to help you develop more

    effective parenting strategies.  If you might be interested in this, try

    contacting http://www.familylives.org.uk/ at 0808

    800 2222 for resources in your area.  I wish you all the best moving

    forward.  Take care.

  • stevensauls
    My 11 yr old is a stick of dynamite,please,some advice.thanks a desperate dad
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      It can feel very

      challenging when you have a child with a short temper; you are not alone. 

      We hear from many parents who want help addressing their child’s anger, as well

      as help teaching them how to express these emotions in an appropriate

      way.  I encourage you to check out some of our other articles, blogs, and

      other resources which address this topic.  Here are a few you can start

      with: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/anger-rage-and-explosive-outbursts-how-to-respond-to-your-child-or-teens-anger/

      and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-find-the-behavioral-triggers-that-set-your-kid-off/.  Please be sure

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

  • MarsChoo

    Last night I shoved my five-year-old son. I didn’t realize until then

    that my anger was such a problem. I get so angry when my children don’t listen to me

    (which seems to happen more and more often). I work a lot, and it seems like when I

    finally get to see them, they don’t like me. But I don’t want to hurt them! Please help me

    find a way to control my anger so that I can be a good parent. 

    How can i change the chain of behaviors to keep it from leading to shoving?  how to use pauses to break a chain...Please help me out

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      Many parents

      struggle with anger, and I’m glad that you are here reaching out for support as

      you seek to change how you respond when you experience this emotion. You make a

      great point that one strategy is to look at the pattern of behavior, and make

      changes in your response when you become triggered.  Debbie Pincus offers

      some tips on how to do this in her article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/calm-parenting-how-to-get-control-when-your-child-is-making-you-angry/. 

      Another article you might find helpful is 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.

  • Livin53
    I have a 17 year old son and a 15 year old daughter. They have been arguing more and more. My son has been hitting and throwing things when they argue. He tells me that I always take her side. This isn't true. I have told him that his throwingMore things and hitting things is a bully tactic to get his way. It has to stop. I've grounded him and taken things away. He settles down for a day or two then he's back at it. His teachers and other adults think he's the best kid ever, so I know he can control himself. How can I help him to stop this?
    • SylinaDollerschell
      My daughter sounds a lot like your son I have been looking for any advice on this please let me know if you find any
  • Nvang
    My son is 12 years old. He gets mad very easily. Throws tantrums, bangs, and screams. He shuts me out completely. What can I do? I'm so frustrated and terrified.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I hear you. It can be distressing when your child seems so

      out of control. There are

      things you can do to help your son learn more effective coping skills. For

      example, you can sit down with him at a calm

      time and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ more appropriate ways your son can handle his anger and frustration.

      The article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-handle-temper-tantrums-coaching-kids-to-calm-down/ offers more tips. I

      hope you find this information useful. Be sure to check back if you have any

      further questions. Take care.

  • Catherine

    The article doesn't say what to do when your adult child (mine's 21 & at home) has tantrums *every day,* every time his behavior is questioned (in any way), and any time he has something mildly demanding (like a test or fatigue while grocery shopping with me). If I remove myself because he's having a tantrum, I will wind up never speaking to him about what *must*change...

    Once, when I knew he was trying to do better, he had a meltdown/tantrum and destroyed another door at my house. Though I called police for door #1, I was lenient on door #2 because he'd tried hard all week (so rare, I didn't want him to quit). 

    I'm not a parent terrified of making my son grow up. We had extraordinary circumstances: after having him, I got a crippling autoimmune condition for which I needed chemo. By the time he was in gradeschool, my husband had cancer (at age 44). When we were struggling to both parent him and survive, he began exhibiting a selfish attitude that got worse each year. By the time my husband's cancer was terminal, family and friends avoided us. Our son was known to act out. My husband and I never called each other foul names, but had to hear our own son yelling at us and refusing to even set the table...

    My husband finally died of the cancer. He had fought it well, so long as he wasn't stressed but our son yelling at us in our own home was too much of a blow. By highschool, he made ways to argue with us so much that my husband was giving up. If asked him to make a snack for his dad, he'd "forget" and play chess on computer for hours. My husband would ask him if he cared, because he had no emotions about the his death, but my son would never say "I care." On his death bed, my son verbally abused me, saying he "laughed at *my*disability." It was 3AM and I called police for the 1st time...

    Five years since losing the love of my life, my disability is affecting my lungs due to dust I cannot control. A court had ordered my son to help with cleaning after one of 2 arrests for abuse (of me). He promises to, but then doesn't: clean, water the grass, mow, be respectful, and hundreds of other promises nobody asked him to make.

    I thought the court was going to evict him when he failed to meet any requirements. I am so physically stressed that taking him to court seems impossible, as does cleaning the house with bone disease, or going out in the sun with lupus. He insists on living here and I treat him nicely in between his tantrums. The state cannot help me live alone (if I die of stroke, heart attack, or breathing issues, nobody will know!).

    There's no question that if my husband had lived and I were well, our son would have been *forced* to leave 4 years ago!! His first probation officer told him,"you have been taking advantage of very ill parents to bully them and get your way." He causes me profound misery. Along with losing the love of my life, he has attacked my friends verbally and made the house so messy that it is *unhealthy*. I'm isolated all the time. How can I get free when I have nobody left? I was a professional singer, but now I'm on disability.

    • Mother Hubbard
      @Catherine he sounds like my son, I'm afraid, who I is 22. My husband is undergoing radiotherapy. My son came home with a dog when my husband was undergoing chemotherapy. He has since walked out of his job and  does nothing around the house. He has no compassion or respectMore for us and I know he takes substances and abuses alcohol. He once pushed me and I fell heavily on to our stone floor, against a table full of glasses. He was out of control and I had toi send him to live with his father. He promises he'll help out/do chores (we don't charge him rent) but never does. I'm afraid he doesn't take kindly to being asked anything. .he has intimated he has considered suicide. I am on tenterhooks all the time waiting for the dreadful day. He has been arrested for substance abuse but that doesn't stop him. He thinks the law is an ass and shouldn't apply to him. He says he will join the Arny/go to college/get another job/keep fit/stop eating crap/exercise his dog but nothing changes. I don't know what to do. He tells me to f##k off and leave him alone. I am scared of what will become of him and can see him ending up on a park bench, homeless, jobless and alcoholic. When I feel strong I tell myself I owe him nothing and he must go. other times I feel I need to help him, but I don't think I'm doing him any favours, but what's the alternative? My life is hell. And, ultimately he knows he frightens me.thus morning I asked him to get up and look for a job. He said he would, so I put the coffee on and made porridge. No show. Went up to see where he was and was greeted with "I don't care, I'm too tired, f###ing leave me alone." Wit's end doesn't even begin to describe iit.
    • never ever give up
      @Catherine ...my heart goes out to you. So.much.pain.... do you have any spiritual source that nourishes you?
  • Advice welcomed
    Hello, I have a seven year old girl. She had been strong willed since she was born. Our life with her seems to be feast or famine. She is very intelligent and does exceedingly well in school and in her sports activities. I have never hadMore issues with her behavior or reactions at school or after school activities. In fact I only hear wonderful comments about her personality and her willingness to help from all her teachers and coaches. So, I am exceedingly dumbfounded that this same child comes home and gives knee jerk reactions to everyone in our household of anger and rage. It doesn't matter the question she asks, if the answer is not exactly what she expects she becomes enraged! She says the most hateful things to her sister and has recently begun to not only growl when she is anger, but is now balling up her fists. The disrespect level is at an all-time high. Then she begins to cry and whine and have total meltdowns when she is given consequences for this behavior only to repeat anger, rage, tears, whining and meltdowns in the next situation that does not go her way. This has become a daily occurrence at our house. Unfortunately, it's becoming the new normal for our family. As with every roast coaster of the strong will that is used negatively, I have to be consistent and try to see her through whatever phase we are currently dealing with in order to parent her and try to shape this "gift" of strong will into something positive. I am absolutely exhausted and I feel like I am spending so much time trying to figure out where this anger and rage are coming from and trying to change this behavior that it is taking away from the rest of the family. The anger and rage coming from this human being is blowing my mind. The fact that she apparently is not like this at all around other people and is only like this around her family is mind blowing. I understand that we all have these emotions from time to time, but the everyday, multiple times a day is so very overwhelming for all involved. Any direction that you can provide me to help my child and our family through this would be very much appreciated!
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @Advice welcomed

      Many parents ask themselves the same thing – where does my

      child’s anger come from? While the answer to this question would give you more

      information, the real issue at hand isn’t your daughter’s anger, it’s how she’s

      choosing to deal with that anger. It can be helpful to recognize that anger is

      a normal emotion, one that we all experience. One of the more effective ways of

      addressing this issue is having problem solving conversations, as Sara Bean

      explains in her article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/. The

      fact that your daughter is able to handle her anger appropriately outside of

      your home is a good thing, actually. It shows that she has learned the necessary

      skills for dealing with situations she finds upsetting or disappointing. Now

      it’s just a matter of helping her use those same skills when she’s at home.

      Another article that may be helpful for your situation is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/angel-child-or-devil-child-when-kids-save-their-bad-behavior-for-you/. We

      appreciate you writing in and wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.

  • unhappy eva




    • SharonNumnut
      unhappy eva Sounds like more to his reason for not wanting to go over there.  Maybe he has good reason for not wanting to be there.  If him and his father got along fine before chances are its the stepmother and her kids that are the problem and he isMore not sticking up for his own child.  You grandparents are the people he can lean on that will listen to him, don't let him down
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      unhappy eva

      What a stressful situation. I can understand why you feel

      caught in the middle by all of this. It might be helpful to focus on what you

      can control, namely how you respond to your grandson’s behavior when he’s with

      you. Unfortunately, there’s probably not much you’re going to be able to do in

      regards to whether or not your grandson goes to visit his father or not. That’s

      something his mother and father will have to sort out. This doesn’t mean you

      have to deal with the situation on your own. It may be helpful to look into

      local supports who would be able to offer you help and guidance with this

      troubling situation. The 211 Helpline would be able to offer you information on

      resources such as kinship support groups, grandparent support groups, family

      and individual counselors. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling

      1-800-273-6222 or by going online to 211.org. In the meantime, you might find

      the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/grandparents-and-parents-disagreeing-11-tips-for-both-of-you/. We appreciate you writing

      in. Best of luck to you and your family moving forward. Take care.

  • Veryconcernedmom
    What are your suggestions re an angry 16-year-old who is doubly angry because he does not have his own room and sleeps in the living room?
    • Ava
      @Veryconcernedmom Don't know your situation but thought I'd share what I did about the room.    Was in 1 bedroom apt for years and gave my minor son the bedroom.   I slept on sectional couch, used hall closet for clothes, it looked like just a normal living room.  More Worked great since I don't care about having lots of things or space.    He had privacy and space a kid would need.   When he went to bed or hung out in his room the rest of the apt was like a studio for me.   Freedom of movement, kitchen and bathroom use without waking him.     It was great.     I really enjoyed the years I lived with my son like that.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      You bring up an interesting situation. Truthfully, it’s not

      the anger that’s the issue so much as how he might be choosing to deal with his

      anger. You may find focusing on your son’s behaviors as opposed to the possible

      emotions behind the behavior to be an effective approach for dealing with this

      situation. As James Lehman reminds us in the Total Transformation program, a

      child can’t really feel his way to better behavior. He can, however, behave his

      way to better feelings. We have a full library of articles that offer helpful

      tips and techniques for dealing with many different behaviors. One in particular you may find helpful is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/angry-child-fix-the-behavior-not-the-feelings/.  We appreciate you

      writing in. Take care.

  • Mother of boys
    I have an 8 year old fiesty boy. He is extremely intelligent but very demanding. If he calls out to me and I don't respond to him straight away he starts shouting. He is very bossy towards frievds. I have observed him in the play ground with the neighbour hoodMore kids. He is sadly for usually the loudest and the angriest, if his team starts losing he starts shouting Abd yelling at his team mates. Wants the first turn to bat and bowl always, will constantly cheat so that he appears to be the one to have won the toss. The other children are slightly younger to him and are unable to stand up for themselves yet. He was a part of another group of kids in the neighbourhood but after a few months they ostracised him because they said he was disruptive. He has now made these new friends and I feel it's only a matter of time before they shun him to. In school he is top of his class but his teachers tell me that he does get into fights with other kids a lot. He has a younger brother who he is very gentle with and adores. I tell him that he should show the kindness that he shows his little brother to his friends to... I just want him to grow up to be socially well adjusted and to make friends. I may add that as a toddler he had a hiting problem. Till age 4 I was always afraid he may hit other kids. I try to control my anger when I see him act up, but I get angry with him and scold him when he treats others badly. He apologised but a few days later it's back to the same old story. Please advise how can I help him be less bossy and control his frustration and anger?
    • Thelonious Breskin
      @Mother of boys I think you might just have an age related issue on your hands. Sure some kids tend to be a little more controlling of others, but It seems like your's will grow out of it after a while. I'm a 16 year old, and I knowMore for a fact I went through this myself around third grade. It was solved with an ADHD diagnosis and being powerless against a larger group of kids. I learned that I wasn't all that great, and that I wasn't totally in control. It was a humbling experience.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @Mother of boys

      It can be concerning as a parent when your child’s anger has

      a negative impact on his interaction with others. It’s not uncommon for kids

      this age to lack appropriate responses in social situations. As James Lehman

      explains in the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/good-behavior-is-not-magic-its-a-skill-the-3-skills-every-child-needs-for-good-behavior/, reading social cues and managing emotions are two very important

      skills a child needs to develop in order to get along with others. The most

      productive way to help your son develop these skills is by having problem

      solving conversations with him. Sara Bean explains how to have these types of

      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 in these articles useful. Be sure to check back if you

      have any further questions. Take care.

  • Mary
    How beautifully surprising and healing it is when a child expects you to be enraged at him but instead receives love and peace. It's like an ultimate pH balancing of toxic energy between two souls.
  • Stephanie dawn
    My son is only three but I'm having horrible discipline issues with him . He hits me and his one year old sister I have tried many things and nothing has been working . He listens to other people but never me.
    • Dwilson73
      I'm having the same problem with my 4 year old . Now with his tantrum he is hitting him self in the face and throwing everything and kicking walls and doors .
  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


    I am sorry you have had to deal with so much hardship over the past few years.

    The death of your older son must have been traumatic for everyone. I am sorry

    for your loss. At this point, your son is an adult.  And, as you no doubt

    recognize, parenting an adult child is very different than parenting a minor

    child. You are no longer responsible for providing any type of support for your

    son and any support you do give him is a choice. It’s now up to you to

    determine where your limits and boundaries are, as well as what you will do

    when those boundaries are crossed. There are certain responsibilities that go

    along with being an adult and him not wanting to meet those responsibilities

    isn’t going to change that. It is going to be important to develop a living

    agreement with your son, that outlines what expectations you have for him as

    well as what will happen if those expectations are not met. You can find

    information for how to develop and implement a living agreement in the articles

    https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/ground-rules-for-living-with-an-adult-child-plus-free-living-agreement/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/parenting-your-adult-child-how-to-set-up-a-mutual-living-agreement/. I encourage you

    to check these article out as I think you will find the information useful for

    your situation. Best of luck to you and your family moving forward. Take care.

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


    This sounds like a tough situation. Unfortunately, calling

    the police isn’t always a viable option. From what you have written, it sounds

    like your son’s anger often escalates and makes for an unsafe situation for him

    and those around him. It may be helpful to reach out to your local crisis

    response and talk with someone about developing a safety plan for you and the

    other members of your family. As James Lehman explains in the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-lost-children-when-behavior-problems-traumatize-siblings/, safety is the

    number one priority and having a safety plan you can implement may help you

    gain some control in what may seem like an uncontrollable situation. The 211

    Helpline can give you information on crisis response services in your area. You can reach the

    Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222 or by logging onto http://www.211.org/. We wish you and your family the best of

    luck moving forward. Take care.

  • brgibeault

    How do you handle a l5 year old boy, that puts his fist through doors, damages the care, spits in his mothers face, calls her all kinds

    of nasty names, like b@#$% and the F word is in every sentence  and it keeps getting worst, I'm afraid it just get physical.  This is a 

    single mom and I'm at the end of the rope, I love and hate him, but I feel he has crossed the line.  Any help would be great.  Bernie

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I am so sorry to hear you are dealing with such defiant and

      destructive behaviors. Any parent would feel overwhelmed in this situation.

      Unfortunately, there are times when your authority as a parent isn’t enough to

      hold your child accountable or help him change his behavior, as James Lehman

      explains in the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/is-it-time-to-call-the-police-on-your-child-assaultive-behavior-verbal-or-physical-abuse-drugs-and-crime/. Not every parent is willing to call the

      police when their child is being abusive however. If this is the case for you,

      you might consider contacting your local crisis response the next time your

      son’s behavior causes a safety issue for you or another family member. We wish

      you and your family the best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • Chrissy
    Help - My son is 15 at the end of the month he has aspergers mild n has autistic tendencies - he has s foul mouth on him n swears at me n his dad continuously - today I walked out of his room and started singing to myself insteadMore of getting involved in the argument he did stop eventually but how can I stop him using foul language n swearing at us - if he gets mad enough he has in the past pushed me I do read the tips given all I want is some respect - he does not behave like this at school
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      It can be so distressing when your teenager swears and is

      verbally disrespectful to you. Disconnecting and walking away as you’ve done is

      usually an effective response to that behavior. Because your son has a Spectrum

      Disorder, we are limited in the coaching and advice we are able to offer. Since

      there can be great variability in how a Spectrum Disorder presents, it would be

      more productive to work with someone who is familiar with your son. I would

      check in with his counselor or treatment team about other possible approaches

      you could use. Good luck to you and your son moving forward. Take care.

  • Jenna

    Help. My relationship with my 11year old granddaughter went from being attached to my hip to her ignoring me. For the past 8yrs my husband and I have lived in close proximity becoming "snowbird grandparents". We live here 6 months out of the year and bought this house to be near them(she has a 7year old brother). Up until this year, she and I had a great relationship. We played restaurant, hotel, doctor's office. I taught her to cook and bake. She loved to have cooking demos for family. We went to the library and read books together. She always wanted sleep overs which her brother also participated in together. Everyone commented and admired our relationship. This year, she hardly gives me eye contact, barely speaks or says hello unless prompted by her parents, answers me with brusk yeses or nos, and makes it clear I am to stay away. Her other Gram is a full time resident in the neighborhood and does not get this behavior from her.

    Needless to say, I'm hurt, depressed, and don't know how to handle this situation. I tried being normal with her but she just ignores me. Now I stay away because I'm hurt and don't know how to handle the situation. I had all boys to raise and this is new to me. My husband and I are considering selling our house and go back to our primaty residence and six other grandchildren in another State.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      It can hurt so much

      when your relationship with a child goes from being very close, to barely

      communicating with each other.  This type of behavior change is actually

      quite common in kids your granddaughter’s age, as she is heading toward

      adolescence and forming her own identity.  James Lehman offers some

      helpful tips on how to move forward in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/sudden-behavior-changes-in-children-part-ii-7-things-you-can-do-today/.  I

      understand how difficult this must be for you, and I appreciate your writing

      in.  Take care.

  • Becky2290

    I'm looking at this page for guidance as my relationship with my very intelligent 6 year old has been torn. Filling a separation and meeting someone with 2 young children my daughter is experiencing a lot of issues. I am working well on identifying her needs and taking a step back in my new relationship to focus and I build on a positive loving relationship with my daughter. The filling facts are what I believe is the problem

    • new partner has 2 children one being 5 the other 1, there mother passed away early last year and I feel she is getting jelous and feeling threatend.

    •spending time at her fathers home sat night and wed night. She is angry at me for spending time with my partner without her, I have as a temp created more time to spend with my daughter to rebuild closeness one on one. How do I manage her feelings when she is angry about my new relationship and is jelous of the other children.

    • we are working on a positiveelstionship with my partner as she has shown signs of wanting his attention. Again if she is difient rude and disrespectful how do I resolve this?

    I have started asking a lot of open ended queastions and discussed why she is feeling angry and mainly it proves down to jealousy and feeling left out and that she has lost her mum to someone eles. This I repeat to her is not true and I explain to her the situation. I feel very strongly about helping her and so desperately want our relationship back :( my daughters attitude has completely changed she is very negative and kicks of immediately when things dnt go get way. Resulting in friends and family not spending time with us due to her behaviour. Please help :) X Thankyou

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I can hear how much you want to help your daughter through

      this transition. It’s not unusual to see changes in achild’s

      behavior when there are adjustments made to the family dynamics. This is

      especially true for young children such as your daughter. We have several

      articles that focus on the challenges a blended family may face. Two in

      particular you may find helpful are https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/blended-family-the-5-secrets-of-effective-stepparenting/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/blog/blended-family-stress-10-tips-to-help-make-blended-families-successful/ I

      hope you find these articles useful for your situation. Be sure to check back

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

  • Sandra
    My daughter, who has Aspergers, socialising difficulties poor self esteem and lack of confidence, also very outspoken and chooses to remain on the outside of most things, is desperately unhappy at school. We have changed schools before, but of course the issues follow her around. I don't know whatMore to do anymore. At 14 and just started GCSE studies, I feel completely lost as to how to manage this. Please help. I feel so worried for her,will she ever be happy ?
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I understand your concern. It can be so tough as a parent to

      watch your child struggle with relationships and social interactions. Kids with

      Spectrum disorders may struggle more than their peers when it comes to social

      skill development. Unfortunately, there’s no way of determining whether or not

      your daughter will be happy in the future. It may be more productive to focus

      on what you can do to help her develop the skills to be a successful adult. It

      may be helpful to find a counselor or therapist who specializes in Spectrum

      disorders to work with your daughter to help her develop these important

      skills. It might also be beneficial to develop a self care plan you can

      implement at times when you become overly worried about what the future holds.

      A self care plan can include anything you would like – meeting with a friend

      for coffee, going for a walk or doing another activity you enjoy. There is a

      resource available in the UK that may be able to offer you some support as

      well, http://www.familylives.org.uk/. I

      encourage you to check out the site to see what they have to offer you and your

      family.  We appreciate you writing in and wish you the best of luck moving

      forward. Take care.

  • themommaidtaxinanny

    What do you do add a single mother fearful of you do something as a consequence thongs will get worse. Or when your older 17 year old is abusive to his 15 year old brother and you've called the police several times that now it does not do any good just Make things worse. He is ADHD, and has sever anxiety as well as other mid disorders. At times I clam up inside when he's home at times lay on what to do.

    I am fortunate that my children DO talk to me and tell me almost everything, but when these out breaks of anger a cure I feel completely alone and afraid. I clan up and go silent. I don't want things to be worse for hours siblings or myself. There have been times I've even told his siblings lock your bedroom door. I just don't know what to do and police don't do anything.

  • SJH166
    I Have a 7 year old son that has been diagnosed with ADHD but has recently started showing signs of ODD.  He gets very angry very quickly normally near the end of his day, I stick to my guns and won't give in and try to stay as calm asMore I can but he starts throwing toys or objects at me, kicking doors etc which is unacceptable, I do my best to dodge items but end up having to hold him sitting on the floor which just gets him angrier and which me and his dad hate doing, I can see why this makes him worse but I also can't let him throw things or hit/punch me for his safety and mine!!! He has split his dad's lip by headbutting him !!! He is a caring and loving boy but these outbursts are getting more frequent and I just wan to try and help him calm down.  We've tried walking away and leaving him and then he will trash his room or just follow us and carries on trowing things, any advise?
    • Thelonious Breskin
      SJH166 I think it's important to look for reasons why this kid is acting like this. The moderators here often assume there is something inherently wrong with your child, and that thing needs to be disciplined out of him. I'd try figuring out why he thinks that this will getMore him anywhere. When he's calm, tell him that you just want to talk, and stress that he's not in trouble at all. Ask him if he know why he gets so angry. Ask him if there is anything YOU can do to help. I understand that it might seem like you're the last person here who should have to be making accommodations and sacrifices, but If my parents restrained me, I would never wind up trusting them and never wind up respecting them. More than that, it's detrimental to your cause, because it reminds the kid that his voice has absolutely no power in your household.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      It can be so upsetting when your child’s behavior is so

      extreme you fear for his safety and the safety of others. I can hear the

      concern you have. Generally speaking, we don’t recommend trying to manage an

      acting out child by physically restraining him unless directed to do so by his

      doctor or other health professional. Physically restraining a child who is

      already in an escalated state can result in an unsafe situation. For the most

      part, disengaging may prove to be the most effective way of not giving your

      son’s acting out behavior undue attention. At 7, your son has limited skills for

      dealing with the frustration and upset he may be feeling. You can help this

      process along by talking with your son at a calm time about ways he can deal

      with his frustration more appropriately. Sara Bean gives tips for doing this in

      her article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-handle-temper-tantrums-coaching-kids-to-calm-down/ . It may be

      necessary to put away any breakable items that can’t be replaced until your son

      learns more effective coping skills. I hope you find this information useful.

      Be sure to check back and let us know if you have any further questions. Take


  • Jillian
    My daughter is 7 years old.  When she becomes upset she may shut down and become violent (hitting, destroying things).  When I see her escalating towards this behavior, I ask her calmly to please take a walk or count to 5 or one of the other anger management strategies weMore have discussed.  I know better than to try to reason with her and we always address the behavior later when she has calmed down.  However, when she is in the throws of destroying things/hurting others, I have to stop her.  I have begun to hold her.  Bear hug from behind.  Not hurting her, but simply keeping her from harming herself or others.  I am quiet, but when she screams "let go", I calmly tell her that I will let her go when I see her body has calmed down.  The "hold" sessions may last 20 minutes and often ends in her breaking down and crying and I just cradle her and tell her I love her and we are going to work through this together.  Often in these hold sessions, she will yell out terrible things (call me every name in the book) and tell me I am hurting her or she can't breathe (which is not true--just excuses in the moment to get me to let go.  Last time she threatened to pee on me if I didn't let go!).  I want to know if I am doing more harm than good.  I am also concerned that if a neighbor heard, I could get in trouble for doing this--with what she is yelling.  Any thoughts or advice?  What do you suggest if you have a child that is kicking/hitting others (younger siblings/adults) and is unresponsive when you try to intervene.  I have met with a behavioral specialist twice and he feels this behavior is not out of the norm.  I have not talked to him since I began "holding" her.  This was just something I recently felt I had to do when she was out of control.  Thanks.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      You bring up a question we hear often as Empowering Parents

      coaches. I can understand wanting to step in and keep your daughter from either

      hurting herself or destroying things/hurting others. It has been my experience

      that, unless instructed to do so by a medical or mental health professional,

      trying to physically manage an acting out child can actually cause the

      situation to escalate to an unsafe place. Instead, you might try removing the

      audience to the behavior by having everyone else leave when your daughter

      starts to escalate. For more information on what steps you can take to manage

      this distressing behavior, you can check out this article by Dr. Joan Simeo

      Munson: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/hitting-biting-and-kicking-how-to-stop-aggressive-behavior-in-young-children/. We

      appreciate you writing in and sharing your story. Take care.

  • gailen
    I think, I am very reactive and need help myself in the area of learning problem solving skills.Where can I learn what was not taught to me? I am very sensitive and anxious as are my sons.My oldest has add, and also odd, though not diagnosed.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      You ask a question we hear often from parents. It can be

      tough to be an effective role model when you may not have effective coping or

      problem solving skills yourself. We have many articles that offer great tips on

      how to develop more effective parenting skills. Two in particular you may find

      helpful are https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-stop-yelling-at-your-kids-use-these-10-tips/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/calm-parenting-how-to-get-control-when-your-child-is-making-you-angry/. We

      appreciate you writing in. Be sure to check back if you have any further

      questions. Take care.

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    Mr Yosef

    What a tough situation. It’s not uncommon for underlying

    issues such as bi-polar disorder or other mood disorders to have a negative

    impact on a teens behavior and choices. Because your stepdaughter does have a

    diagnosis, it most likely would be beneficial to find out what types of local

    supports are available to help your stepdaughter and family. Having someone who

    is able to work with your family directly would probably be the best course of

    action for addressing these behaviors.  The 211 Helpline is a nationwide

    referral service that can give you information on counselors, therapists,

    resident treatment programs, and other community supports. You can reach the

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

    http://www.211.org/. We wish you and your family the best

    of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • JenniferBoyadjian
    My son is 16 he's always getting mad making threats if I don't take him to his girlfriend's always threatening with running away he thinks he is invincible and nothing can happen to him today he threatened his older brother and told me he wishes we were all dead IMore do have health problems I need a pacemaker my heart has been a problem for a few years and he knows this he gets mad when others stress me but does not care that he does it
  • Momneedsadvise
    My son is 12 years old he is failing all his main classes and continues to be inconsistentent with participating in class. Recently he got detention for spitting out a bathroom window. What consequences or structural changes do you reccommend? He does have adhd and not on meds at thisMore time because we are seeing a new neurologist.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      You ask a great question. First, I would talk with his

      neurologist to find out if s/he has any suggestions for ways of helping your

      son develop better skills for school related work and impulse control. It’s

      also going to be beneficial to let school handle any necessary consequences for

      behavior that happens at school. What you can do is sit down with your son at a

      calm time and talk about the choices he has been making. You can help him

      problem solve other choices he could be making in the situations he finds

      himself in. As James Lehman explains in his article The 3 Skills Every Child Needs for Good Behavio, effective problem solving skills are something everyone

      needs in order to handle situations appropriately. You can check out Sara Bean’s article The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”

      for more tips on how to have a productive problem solving conversation. Good

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

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


    I am so sorry you are having to deal with such

    distressing behavior from your stepdaughter. I’m glad you are looking for some

    local supports to help you and your family. The 211 Helpline, a national health

    and human services referral service, can give you information on resources in

    your community. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling

    1-800-273-6222, You can also find them online at http://www.211.org/.

    We appreciate you writing in and hope you will check back to let us know how

    things are going. Take care.

  • Cs
    Hello, my son is 13 and he has real bad temper. He goes from one minute of being cheerful to the next blaming me to be too oppressive and getti cross using bad words or sometimes hurting me physically (but not pushing to a dangerous way). I went to aMore psychologist and he gave me good advices, but it's not always easy being a lone parent and my ex husband being away. Last night he had to study and after trying to support him in that, he just got cross, I don't know if because he was tired, or not bothered or maybe because I said that in next few days I was going to talk to the teacher. Anyway he didn't finish his work and after a while he went to bed saying,:tomorrow I'm not going to school...this is the second time he does it!!! And I don't know how to behave because the only thing I can do to punish him is taking away his phone but then he'll say that unless I won't give it to him he won't do anything..
  • Amyecooper13
    My son and I both struggle with explosive anger. We w e re both recently diagnosed with ADHD, which explains so much in our lives. Its been great in a way, but its also left a lot of questions. I totally agree with everything in this article, but asMore a mom with ADHD and impulse control issues myself, my split second reactions to his anger are not ideal 99% of the time. I feel like im failing him! Im supposed to be teaching him how to respond and i dont even know how to do it myself! Can you suggest any articles or books about dealing with anger in kids with adhd, and parents who also have it? I dont want to mess up my kid but I feel like I am! Thank you for any help you can provide!
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      Anger can be a tough emotion to handle appropriately for

      both kids and adults, so you are not alone! The fact that you are

      here, reaching out for support and guidance, shows how much you care about your

      son, and how hard you are trying to help him find effective ways to work

      through strong emotions.  Focusing on managing your own responses to anger

      can be a great place to start helping your son to learn how to do this as

      well.  It’s also an opportunity to show your son that while changing one’s

      responses when angry can be difficult, there’s always room to change and

      grow.  We have a few articles on Empowering Parents that you might find

      useful to read next: http://www.empoweringparents.com/child-with-add-or-adhd-five-donts-when-your-child-is-angry.php and http://www.empoweringparents.com/How-to-Get-Control-When-Your-Child-is-Making-You-Angry.php. 

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

  • dumbfounded
    I have a 16yr old daughter.  She says she needs a break from home.  Whether she needs a break from home or just me I'm not sure.  She has on occasion left for a few nights to spend it with her friend.  The problem is she doesn't tell me whereMore she is going.  She has done this a few time over a year.  Now they seem to be getting longer such as being home only 4 nights out of 10.  She does this when she's  mad at me.  I do believe she does this because she knows that this scares me not knowing  if she is safe.  I have to go thru a lot of friends to find out where she is.  She is also lying to the parents saying that I kicked her out which I did not.  I understand that she is a teenager and they all go thru this stage but I worry for her safety.  Her father tells me to just tell her that I am sorry for something/anything and that we love her and want her home today.  I am having a difficult time with that request because I don't feel I've done anything for her to stay away.  I don't know if she'd believe me anyway.  She has painted me out to be such an awful parent.  I've also been told to report her as a missing or runaway teen even though I find out where she is and the police cant bring her home or make her stay home.  Do I wait it out or try and do something to get her home.  I don't even know what I could do to bring her home.
    • Ryanskids
      I am having the same problem. The doctor gave her Lexapro and we have family counseling. It's not you. My daughter had Histrionic Personality Disorder....It's all about her and her needs and very hard to reason. I have called the cops and they have brought her back.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      What a tough situation. I’m sorry your daughter uses running

      away from home to solve her problems. I can understand the dilemma you face. On

      the one hand, your daughter has left home without permission. On the other

      hand, you know where she is and you know she is safe.  Whether or not to

      use supports to bring her home is a choice only you can make. It may come down

      to a judgment call based on weighing the pros and cons of each possible action.

      I know this is not an easy situation to be in. Good luck to you and your family

      moving forward. Take care.

  • Satwant
    I have a teenage boy age 19. He has been a good child in school but recently I notice changes in him. He was pursuing his Foundation in Engineering, he was doing good, until the final semester, he had problem with his studies and decided not to sit for hisMore final exams. Although, he did highlight to me sometimes last year November 2014 that he wants to give up Engineering since he is finding it taught and lost interest. He has been sitting at home for the past 5 months doing nothing and has lost interest in his studies and being rude and disrespectful at times. We took one step further by inquiring the college about him but no issues was found, the school physiologic find him staying in dark room and away from people, he do not get engaged with people. I appreciate help and feedback. Thank you
  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


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

    sorry you are having to deal with such acting out behavior. The behavior you

    describe is extremely concerning and goes beyond the scope of advice and

    coaching we are able to offer. It’s going to be very important to find supports

    in your local community who are able to work directly with your grandson and

    your family. The 211 Helpline would be able to give you information on mental

    health services and other resources in your area. You can reach the Helpline 24

    hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222. You can find them online at http://www.211.org/. It’s also going to be important to

    limit any access your grandson may have to pets or other animals.

    Unfortunately, just telling him not to do it is not going to be enough to stop

    the behavior. From what you have written, it sounds like he cannot be left alone

    with animals and would need to be supervised closely whenever there may be an

    opportunity where he could harm them. Good luck to you and your family moving

    forward. Take care.

  • Sober in TX
    I felt so hopeless when my (adult) stepson was sent to our home & just caused so much damage in our home. While I read tthese articles involved handling children & teenagers, I'm hoping u can help or direct to someone/something that can. My stepson is very rude, disrespectful &More obnoxious. He talks back to his father in the most vulgar & ugly way you can imagine. We told him to he needed to find a job, clean up & bathe regularly. He has done nothing in the past two months. He makes excuses for everything. He is always lying & has to "one up" everyone. When we had extended family staying with us for a funeral, he really embarrassed us. He was raised by his mother. This person is 30 yrs.old. I finally had to leave my house because I felt so stressed. Everyday was challenging my peace of mind, sanity but mostly my sobriety. I'm at a loss & my husband isn't very helpful in seeing that consequences & boundaries were met. I'd appreciate any help or feedback. Thank you.
    • A mom whose been there
      I am so sorry that you are going through this. You don't deserve that treatment and yet here you are in the middle of it all. Your stepson needs something positive to occur in his life that will help him feel a sense of self worth. That's easier saidMore then done because angry teenagers often sabatoge their own chances at success. Is there anything that he would be willing to do on a volunteer basis? Will he tutor someone once a week? Coach a youth sport? Be in charge of walking a neighbor's dog? Find something that he may be even slightly good at and praise him for his "gift" and try to get him to do even the smallest good with that gift. Thank him for the help when he gives any effort. It is going to take a long time for him to believe in himself but you all have to start somewhere. Continue to tell him that you love him and that you know beneath the hurt and the anger is a really great guy. He needs to hear that goodness does dwell in him. You don't know what he's been through with the mother who essentially raised him. He may have come to you with a lot of wounds that will require your love and patience for his healing. Hang in there. You can do it!
      • Hoping Mom
        I have only son and turning 10 this oct. My problem was started when he entered preschool til now that he's in grade 5. I admit i hit him coz of lost of temper but the problem is when i hit him he hits me back.he is good in schoolMore and has good attitude. But the problem is he never listen to me in his dad . when we gave advice to him he always shouted on us. There was a time i talked with him heart to heart he listened but after 1, 2, 3 days he returned to his bad attitudes. Especially when i grounded him using gadgets, internet. He is like a time bombed. I gave him my full support. Sometimes, i just cried and ask myself why? Please give me an advice and what is the best thing to do to handle the tantrums and should i say bad behavior of my son.Thank you.
        • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

          Hoping Mom 

          It can be so

          difficult when a child is well-behaved outside of the home, yet shouts and has

          a bad attitude at home.  This is not uncommon, and it is actually a good

          sign that your son has the skills to obey the rules and follow

          directions.  Now, it is more a matter of applying those skills to his

          behavior at home. Sara Bean discusses this further in her article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/angel-child-or-devil-child-when-kids-save-their-bad-behavior-for-you/. 

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

    • Mary in mpls
      Sober in TX  My son just turned 18.  He sounds so much like your stepson.  I was rundown, wore out & so frustrated that I didn't know what else to try.  I've been a widow for 16 years & I work full time. I'm also sober & have been over halfMore my life.  After the 2nd man in my AA group "suggested" Al-anon I decided I wasn't going to wait to be told a 3rd time.  It has been a life changer for me.  I have learned so much at the meetings & have been going 3X a week for over 2 years.  Please try the other side of the program & see if it brings you peace.  In my area people who work dual programs are called "double winners".Sober in TX
  • susieg
    I have a 10 year old who is sensitive and lovely however, when he gets angry he shuts down completely.  He can't talk to us or make any verbal response.  I can tell he is having an entire debate in his head but can't share it.  An episode could lastMore from 20mins to 2hrs.  Once he has calmed down he still doesn't tell us what was going on.  How do I deal with this.  I think I could handle it more if he did shout and slam doors!!!  Very frustrating.
    • A mom whose been there
      Try building his trust with positive confidence comments. Let him know that you see the good in him and that you are pleased with him. Being his friend is not the goal but being friendly is. He needs to feel that you have come along side of him and thatMore he can trust you want the best for him; and that you value his opinions. It's a hard mold for us parents to break but if we rule with an iron fist then our relationships with our children will be cold and militant. Let him talk while you just listen and ask a few open ended questions to keep the dialog going. Often they will solve their own problems. It's ok for you to not solve it and to leave things unresolved. Show compassion and an interest in their feelings; and just ponder it together. No lessons, no hidden agenda and no parental control. NEVER use what your child has shared with you as amunition against them later! No matter how angry you get, don't throw it back in their faces. That will severely damage any progress you may have made in opening that glorious trusted dialogue with your child.
    • Sunshine07848
      My son is the same way. I have no idea how to help him
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      It can be frustrating when your child shuts down and gives

      you the silent treatment when he gets upset or angry. You make a good point

      that he may be processing the situation in his head. One thing that may be

      helpful is to sit down with him after the incident and problem solve ways he

      may be able to handle his anger differently. Something to keep in mind is that

      some people are naturally more introverted and may be more comfortable

      processing challenging situations on their own. If you would like more information

      on problem solving or ways to deal with the silent treatment, you can check out

      these articles: The 3 Skills Every Child Needs for Good Behavior & Does Your Child Give You the Silent Treatment? 6 Rules for Getting Kids to Talk.

      We appreciate you writing in. Best of luck to you and your family. Take care.

  • sadone
    I need help!! My 17 year old daughter is so out of control. She is so angry! she constantly tells me I need therapy and that im a horrible mom. When she is 18 Ill never see her again and she hates me. She blames me for everything wrong. SheMore uses profanity and screams at me and all of this is usually when I get upset with her for being late home...or to school or not being responsible. She has admitted to using drugs...and I believe she has been promiscuous. I am a single parent but long ago I made the decision to move back with my parents because they are great role models, great people and give her the sense she is not missing anything. she has had her entire family including her father and her fathers side of the family with whom I am very close to. She has all her life been surrounded by love all of her life. But, she has had tragedy in her young life...a close cousin died at 18 in his sleep, her father moved away out of the state in bad circumstances which left a major rift between them and her grandfather was diagnosed with cancer.....but is cancer free now! This all happen roughly at the same time. she will not go to therapy at all! I try to do the best I can for her but I just don't know what to do. I honestly don't think it is depression I think its more manipulation and her not being able to handle "no". I think she also thinks that disappointment is normal and that why even try when people will disappoint anyway. she is angry and does things that I know she regrets and no matter what I do and no matter how much I try she doesn't listen. I don't know what to do anymore...im afraid something bad will happen. I just don't know what to do but cry!
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      17 can be a really tough age, for both the teen and the

      parent. For the teen, there can be a lot of ambivalence – wanting to grow up

      and be on her own while also being fearful of what that might look like. She’s

      at the age when a child begins to pull away from her parents, and, as James

      Lehman points out in his article I Love My Child…But Sometimes I Can’t Stand Him, this can present as

      rude, obnoxious, and disrespectful behavior. Unfortunately, the parent is most

      often the target for that abuse. Just because her behavior is “normal” it

      doesn’t make it OK. It is going to be important to establish some clear limits

      and boundaries around what is and is not acceptable. One way of doing this is

      by setting the limit and walking away when she starts talking to you

      disrespectfully – you can say something like, “It’s not OK to talk to me that

      way. I don’t like it” and then go into a different room. You can check out this

      article by Carole Banks for more ideas on how you can handle her behavior - Disrespectful Child Behavior? Don’t Take It Personally. Another thing you may find

      helpful is developing a self care plan. It sounds like you do have a lot of

      support from your family. Family support can certainly make parenting

      challenges a bit easier to weather. Many parents also find it helpful to take

      some time out of the day to do activities they enjoy. This can help to

      revitalize you, which in turn can help you deal with your daughter’s behaviors

      more effectively. Most importantly, remember that this won’t last forever. Even

      though your daughter may be threatening to never see you again once she’s an

      adult, it doesn’t mean that will actually happen. Many of us say things when we

      are angry and upset that we don’t really mean. Try not to put too much weight

      on the things she says when she is escalated and instead focus on taking care

      of yourself. I hope this information is useful. Be sure to check back and let

      us know how things are going. Take care.

  • Dadwhocares

    Great article is there a complimentary one about seven things to do when your

    kid is angry?

  • sadmomof3

    I have a 13 year old daughter who is having issues with respect. It is as if nothing matters except her. I get that she is a teen and it's that time in life where you hate your parents and know everything. I was there once I also have a 16 year old that I went through this with. I get it. However I had a baby a year ago. Since that time her behaviors of stealing things, using things with out permission and not caring at all has gotten crazy. I have always been big on feeling how you feel, cry if you need to, be mad and go outside and scream and yell at the trees (we live in the country). I was never aloud to have feelings that my parents didn't approve of then same with my ex, her dad. However having feelings is one thing the behavior as in the article is another. My issue is that she has no respect for other people she has no respect for other people's property and when I punish her for lying or stealing she doesn't care. In the article it says the child has to feel it. I have been unsuccessful finding what she will "feel" when it comes to punishment. I spoke to her counselor looking for guidance but I was told I can't control what she does. I need a new therapist for her I have decided. I am looking into military type school for next year to give her more structure and I have removed everything out of her room , tv, games, computer and phone. She has her bed desk writing instruments and clothing and still nothing. I am lost and I definately acted on emotion and in the moment I knew I shouldn't but I lost it crying and sad and angry. I have gained a lot from this article but if there is any advice for punishments for her behaviors that I haven't tried it would be so helpful. 

    Thank you for listening to me ramble


    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      We speak with many parents who wonder about

      consequences, and what to do to make their child care about their

      behavior.  It’s helpful to keep in mind that while the goal of

      consequences is to hold kids accountable for their behavior, they don’t

      actually teach kids what to do differently next time.  In order to help

      kids change their actions, we encourage parents to include http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php with their child about what she can do differently the next

      time she finds herself in a similar situation.  In terms of holding her

      accountable, we find that task-oriented consequences tend to be more effective

      in changing behavior than long-term consequences or taking everything

      away.  You can find more information on this type of consequence in our

      article http://www.empoweringparents.com/authoritative-parenting-consequences.php.  While ultimately

      you cannot control your daughter’s choices, you can control how you choose to

      respond to them.  I appreciate your writing in about your situation, and I

      hope you will write back and let us know how things are going. Take care.

  • Ty

    " You can say, “I understand you feel angry; I’m sorry you feel that way.” Then leave it alone until he’s cooled off. If it turns into a temper tantrum where he’s saying foul things, breaking objects or hurting others, then that’s when you want to address the behavior. "

    How do you propose addressing this behavior???

    • Darlene EP


      Thank you for your question. It

      is a common one we hear on the coaching line that many parents are curious

      about. Your absolutely right,  you do want to address the behavior if it

      has turned into frequent outbursts of verbal abuse or destructive behavior.

      Like Kim Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner discuss in the above article, your

      child is most likely lacking the skills to solve his problem effectively so he

      is  acting out to try and get what he wants. It is important that the

      acting out behaviors do not get power and attention by your responding to them in

      the moment. You will want to avoid getting into a power struggle with your

      child when he is acting out by removing yourself from the situation and then

       follow up when things are calm like Sara Bean talks about in her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/:%20http:/www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php

      When you address the behaviors when things are calm and you discuss ways that

      he can respond differently, you are helping him to change his behavior for next

      time. I hope this helps to answer your question. Please let us know if we can

      be of any further help.

  • stepmother

    Hello i am a 24 year old stepmother and i have trouble letting go, she is 7 years old and she wants everything her way because she always gets her way with her biological mother and grandmothers, she lives with us, my husband does not give in to her commands And she behaves better in our house than everyone elses house, but i am the one babysitting her when my husband goes to work, so i have to study with her and tell her to follow the house rules while her dad is not here, sadly her mother cant take care of her while my husband is working because she "studys" and cant take care of her child when she has errands.

    Obviosly she never wants to do what i say, my husband has told her to respect me and behave while she is with me. But I am having so much trouble ignoring the little things she say, and she now has a smart a** attitude she always has something to say, and for everything she has to ask questions, but when its her time to listen and respond our questions she ignores me and i have to talk firmly to her so she will do what she has to, and I understand she will always rather be with her dad than me, But she really expects to get recompensed for her behaviour, I dont know if that is what happends in other houses, but i really need to know what to do when im alone with her And how to Not Lose it! Thank you vey much for your website i have read a fee tips already, but if someone can help me with the situation specifically i would really appreciate it. Thanks.

    • Marissa EP


      Thanks for writing in about the challenges you are facing in

      helping to raise your stepdaughter. While it is important for you and your

      husband to be on the same page regarding the rules in your home, we often

      recommend that the biological parent take the lead in enforcing those rules,

      and the stepparent to take on a supportive role. Kim Abraham and Marney

      Studaker-Cordner talk more about this in their article http://www.empoweringparents.com/5-ways-to-manage-conflict-in-blended-families.php. Once you

      and your husband have established the expectations for your stepdaughter’s

      behavior, it will be up to you, as the immediate caretaker, to set the limit

      and walk away when she starts to test those limits. It can sometimes be a

      challenge to http://www.empoweringparents.com/losing-your-temper-with-your-child-8-steps-to-help-you-stay-in-control.php and emotions in those moments, so we recommend finding

      something calming that you can do for yourself, such as listening to music,

      reading, or even just leaving the room. If your stepdaughter has behaved in a

      way that earns a consequence, we recommend that her dad implements that when he

      gets home, to prevent you from being put in the middle. Best of luck to you and

      your family as you continue to navigate your parenting roles.

  • Allyy
    Every parent is faced by a situation in which they find themselves exasperated and enraged over some defiant behaviour of their children.
  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    I’m sorry to hear you are facing these issues. Conflict between
    parents and kids can be difficult to deal with, for everyone involved. I wish I
    could offer you some suggestions for things you could do. Unfortunately, since
    our website is aimed at helping parents develop more effective parenting
    strategies, I’m quite limitedMore in the advice I am able to offer. There is a
    website available for teens and young adults you may not be aware of, http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/SitePages/Home.as.... They have many different resources for helping teens who
    are facing challenging issues, such as not getting along with parents. They
    offer online supports as well as e-mail/text/phone support. There is a tips
    page as well that has suggestions for the more common difficulties teens face.
    One in particular you may find helpful is http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/sitepages/tips/ti.... Good luck to you moving forward.
    Take care.

  • mandiples
    I have a 14 year old son who was in grade 7, this year in July he stopped going to school without any reason, i went to the headmaster trying to find out what he did maybe at school apparently he did not do anything according to him, he alsoMore started to smoke, i tried everything talked to him family also talked to him, the pastor, friends everyone, even hes father talked to him, they don't have a close relationship with him,to no avail, in short he dropped out of school in the middle of the year, till today he does not tell me what was the reason if there was any.  Please Help
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