Screaming fights. Destructive behavior. Volatile moods. Do your child’s anger and rage make you feel exhausted and out of control?

In an Empowering Parents poll, Angie S. made the following comment:

“I walk on eggshells around my 15-year-old son. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I’m afraid of his explosive temper.”

In that same poll, more than 50 percent of respondents said that they end up “losing control and screaming back” when their child’s anger reaches the boiling point.

But responding to your child’s rage with anger is not the answer. Instead, it’s best to have what I call a rage plan so that you know exactly how you will effectively handle the next outburst or temper tantrum. A rage plan puts you in control of yourself and the situation. The following steps are the basis of this plan:

1. Ensure the Area Around Your Child Is Safe

Ensure that the area around your child is safe and that no one can be hurt if and when your child lashes out. Remove yourself and any siblings from the area.

Reduce any stimulation in their vicinity. Turn off the TV, lower the lights. The idea is to let your child wear themselves out. This step applies to adolescents as well as to young children.

2. Focus on Being Calm

Even if emotions are running high, work to calm yourself down. Talk to your child in an calm tone, even if you feel like screaming at them.

Tell your child that his or her behavior is unacceptable and that you’ll speak with them when they’ve calmed down.

Model good behavior for your child. Remember, kids learn from their parents, which is another reason you want to remain calm. You’re teaching them appropriate ways to manage stressful situations.

3. Don’t Respond to Name-Calling or Verbal Abuse

If your child is screaming things at you, calling you names, or saying you’re “the worst parent in the world,” do not respond. And don’t take it personally. Instead, leave the room or send them to their bedroom.

Also, don’t yell back at your child because it will suck you into their rage and make you the focal point of their anger.

4. Talk Later, When You’re Both Calm

The time to talk is when you and your child are both calm. If they’re yelling in their room, they should not be getting your attention, period.

Don’t worry if it seems as if you’re ignoring the inappropriate behavior. What you are doing is not reacting to the yelling. Or, to say it another way, you are not letting your child’s yelling control your actions.

Offer for FREE Empowering Parents Personal Parenting Plan

Later, when things are calm, and at the time of your choosing, you can explain to your child that their behavior was not acceptable. Tell them there are better ways to deal with anger than losing control. But do it on your terms, not your child’s. After all, you’re the CEO of your household.

You might also have your child make amends if they broke something or hurt someone else. If your child is very young, you may want them to draw a picture that says, “I’m sorry.” If your child is older, ask them to do something more meaningful for the person they’ve wronged.

5. Give Consequences for the Behavior, Not the Anger

Don’t give consequences because your child got angry. Instead, give consequences for your child’s specific inappropriate behaviors, such as verbal abuse, physical abuse, or property destruction.

Your child needs to understand that it’s okay to feel angry. We all feel angry from time to time. And sometimes we yell. Nevertheless, we need to learn to manage ourselves appropriately when we get angry.

In other words, let your child know that anger is normal and that there will always be things in life that make them angry. Then stress that they’re responsible for and will be held accountable for all inappropriate behaviors resulting from their anger.

Related content: Angry Child? Fix the Behavior, Not the Feelings

6. Be Consistent

If your child has just begun to lash out in rage when angered, this plan is going to work fairly well—especially after you go through it a few times.

Your calm and matter-of-fact response is going to teach them that explosive anger is not the way to deal with their frustration. And it won’t get them what they want.

But if the behavior has been going on for a long time and it’s more ingrained, prepare to go through your rage plan repeatedly until your child learns to manage his anger better.

7. Understand Your Child’s Triggers

Some kids have been engaging in destructive behaviors associated with extreme anger for years. For these kids, you need to understand their triggers.

Once your child has calmed down, talk with them about their explosion. You can ask them:

“What happened before you blew up today?”

If your child comes home angry and in a volatile mood after school, you might have to call their teacher and find out if there was a problem that day. Ask pointed questions like:

“Was my child picked on? Did they do poorly on an assignment? Were they disciplined in class?”

But remember, even if your child had a terrible day at school, it doesn’t excuse their behavior at home. After all, there are other ways to deal with having a bad day than by calling their siblings foul names, screaming in your face, or punching a hole in the wall.

When you talk to your child about their triggers, always ask:

“How are you going to handle this differently next time?”

That’s the real purpose of looking at triggers—to help your child better understand them and learn to respond differently the next time they get angry or frustrated.

The most important thing to remember is that helping your child deal with their anger now will help them manage these feelings later on in life.

8. Don’t Walk on Eggshells to Accommodate Your Child’s Anger

Many parents of defiant kids walk on eggshells around their children, trying not to upset them. I understand why parents do this. Angry outbursts are unpleasant, and you do what you can to avoid them.

Advertisement for Empowering Parents Total Transformation Online Package

But remember, your child isn’t learning to behave differently when you walk on eggshells to accommodate their behavior. In fact, by getting you to walk on eggshells around them, they’re teaching you to behave differently. They’re training you to anticipate their angry outbursts so that you leave them alone or let them get what they want.

Therefore, don’t alter your behavior to suit your child’s moods. Just have your rage plan ready and respond to your child’s behavior accordingly.

9. How to Manage Destructive Behavior

With some kids, their explosive anger escalates until it becomes destructive. If your child breaks their own things during one of their rages, they should be made to replace them with their own money—or go without. That’s known as a natural consequence.

If your child is breaking your things or punching holes in the walls, make them pay to fix the damages.

For kids too young to earn money outside the home, use chores to earn things back.

If your child is older, they can get a part-time job. This is a great lesson because your child will see that their behavior caused the problem: they threw their phone against the wall, and they have to replace it themselves.

10. How to Manage Threatening Behavior

If you are threatened or physically harmed, don’t be afraid to call the police on your child.

Look at it this way: if you don’t do anything to protect yourself, other family members, or your home, what’s the message that’s being sent to your child? They will learn that they’re in complete control. And they will learn that the best way to get what they want is with threats and physical abuse.

If your child or teen has developed a pattern that includes threats or physical abuse, part of your plan would be saying to them ahead of time:

“If this happens again and I feel unsafe, I’m going to have to call for help. I’m going to call the police.”

Remember, there’s no excuse for abuse.

11. Don’t Try to Talk Your Child Out of Their Rage

Keep in mind that you should never try to reason with your child in the middle of a rage or tantrum. Any attempt to engage them at that point will agitate them up and reinforce their anger.

Additionally, your child is not listening very well at that time. Your attempts to reason, lecture, or talk about the issue at hand aren’t going to sink in when they’re in the middle of a rage.

Instead, give short, clear, calm directions. Say:

“This is not okay. Go to your room until you can get it together.”

If you have screamed back in the past or reacted angrily to your child, really practice that calm voice. If this is a challenge for you, try practicing what you will say ahead of time. Say it out loud in your car when you are alone. Rehearse the words you will use and your rage plan will be easier to execute.

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

12. Determine if Your Child Has a Mental Health Problem

If at any point you feel like your child’s behavior is beyond a normal temper tantrum, or if you really can’t hang in there any longer as a parent, be sure to seek the help of a professional.

I want to stress that these behaviors don’t necessarily mean that your child has a mental health problem—child anger is often a normal emotion. But, whenever there is a doubt in your mind, talk to your child’s pediatrician or trusted health care professional.

Here are some times when you should seek a professional opinion:

  • If your child doesn’t respond even though you are consistent with your plan of action. A counselor will often help you work on your plan and reinforce these ideas during counseling.
  • If your child’s trigger doesn’t seem to be rational or make sense.
  • If your child isn’t able to deal with their triggers, counseling might be in order. If anxiety is the trigger, they will need a better way to react when they feel nervous or embarrassed.


Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t handle things the way you wanted to when your child lost control in the past. Maybe you screamed back or gave in when they had a tantrum or lost their temper.

But none of us automatically knows how to deal with everything our kids do. We make mistakes. We learn.

So give yourself a break work on your rage plan for the next time your child explodes. Be patient and persistent, and you can manage these outbursts and restore peace to your home.

Related Content:
Dealing with Anger in Children and Teens: Why Is My Child So Angry?

Empowering Parents Podcast:
Apple, Spotify


Janet Lehman, MSW, has worked with troubled children and teens for over 30 years. A veteran social worker, she specializes in child behavior issues — ranging from anger management and oppositional defiance to more serious criminal behavior in teens. She is co-creator of The Total Transformation® Program, The Complete Guide To Consequences™, Getting Through To Your Child™, and Two Parents One Plan™.

Comments (27)
  • Lauren R
    My daughter Cassie will be 7 in January. I think this is the time she shoud stop having tantrums. She has a lot of them. When I tell her no, when I make her do homework, When I say it's time to do something. (take a bath, brush her teeth,More go to bed. I want her to stop. Any ideas?
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Welcome to Empowering Parents. We hear from many parents who are facing similar struggles, so you are not alone. We have several articles that offer helpful tips for managing outbursts and tantrums, and also what you can do to help your daughter learn more effective coping and problem solving skills. You can find those 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.

  • Sarah
    I was a very rebellious teenager. As a mother now myself I began to realize alot of my anger from childhood came from emotionally distant parents. Parents who loved me for who they wanted me to be, who loved me with conditions. Over the years, I began to shut downMore not feeling free to be my true self or feelings. I think it is important to recognize that we all play a role in the development of our children. Amazing book I read helped me to understand. Children of Emotionally immature parents. Just my 2 cents.
  • My 8 year old niece
    Last December my niece started to live with us she was good and would behave really well. Her baby brother in early February was really hurt by mother and her boyfriend and had to go to the hospital for a month. We got custody of her and her brother andMore he has a permanent shunt and has to go through speech and physical therapy and a lot of doctors appointments. When he got back from the hospital it was all good but slowly she started acting up. She gets rages and throws fits over everything if she doesn’t get what she wants or if someone doesn’t let her watch tv all night and eat candy all day. She will only eat McDonald’s chicken nuggets and fries or junk and will starve herself if you don’t give her that. She comes home and is just angry with everyone she hits and tries to hurt her baby brother then lies and tries to say it was an accident when we seen her trip him or hit him in his head or belly ( which can cause damage to him because of his shunt). We tried everything we take her to therapy, we give her consequences or try to do time outs or sent to her room but she just refuses. I lay with her at night to help her sleep and take her to get her favorite foods every week and she still says we give all the attention to her baby brother. I try to ask her what’s wrong or why she acts like this and she says she doesn’t know or that no one spends time with her or buys her anything. I don’t know what’s wrong or what to do because we’ve tried everything I try listening to her we spend time with her and get her stuff when she wants it. She also tries to act like a baby with her grandmother they let her sleep in a baby bed or use a sippy cup and talk like a baby and I think it makes things worse when she’s home.
  • Hawk
    I feel the same way! The advice does not work for kids with extreme adhd and odd. I am hit by my son every day for simple request. We have called the police on multiple occasions and nothing. They ask is he is meds? Yes do you see someone?yes! OkayMore what do u want us to do we cant do anything? Its frustrating that someone hasn't figured out a way to help parents with these types of kids. I have gone everywhere and done everything. Iam always told there is no much we can do. Maybe he will out grow it. All i do is hang in there and do my best not to Hate him. I try to understand but they wear you down. To anyone else in this position just hang in there and know you are not alone. It is difficult!
  • Raging 11 yr old
    My 11 yr old Step-daughter is out of control! She throws explosive rages when she is not getting her way, and I mean explosive. She is currently in therapy and has been diagnosed with ADHD, however, therapy doesn't seem to be helping. We have tried allMore of your above suggestions, they actually don't work. She does not allow for a time out. We put her in her room, she kicks in the door. We try and take a walk she follows, screaming at the top of her lungs. Separation from her is not an option. She doesn't allow it. She has been known to throw and break items, kick and punch, and scream. Last night I told her I will contact police if she puts her hands on anyone or anything. She stated that she didn't care that they wouldn't do anything, but give her a warning like they always do. We have taken her to a time-out facility in our county. She had "great" time, playing games, eating snacks, watching TV. She is able to turn off the rages at the snap of a finger and act like everything is fine within seconds. We give her punishments after the rages( Sorry I disagree with you about only punishing if they break something or hurt someone-Her screaming at the top of her lungs, hitting walls, etc for 2 hours and disrupting an entire household is not acceptable and should also have consequences)however, they just cause more rages. Your steps sound all well and good, but they actually don't work for this child. I am losing my mind.
  • TM
    None of the above work for our raging 6 year old. This has been several times a day for years. There doesn't seem to be a common trigger and it can happen without warning. If we try to send her to her room or time out, she just refuses. IfMore we take her to her room, she just opens the door and leaves her room. She is extremely defiant!
    • EF
      We have the same problem with an older kid (12). She won't go to her room. She'll be raging at us and if we ask her to calm down in another room, she won't go. Our safety plan is to get everyone else out. If I stay and try toMore help her calm down, she gets angrier. It's so sad and frustrating because she has been like this since she was 3. Baby/toddler years were amazing and then she became someone else. She would have meltdowns for an hour or more...and I don't mean tantrums, total meltdown. And everything is everyone else's fault. It's really starting to affect her siblings and my marriage with her dad.
  • tracey
    Hi my son is 15 always had small anger issues but since sept of 2016 they have got a lot worse, he has been excluded from school 4 times for swearing at the teachers when he has been blamed for things. i have since moved his school and heMore has promised to make it work . 2 days so far in new school and no problems , but i am getting a lot of disrespect at home shouting, swearing while he's playing on his x box, throwing his controllers across the room in a rage, shouting at me . i've tried talking to him but i just get i've had mocks this week and you've not even asked how i'm getting on....... actuall i've rang him both days as soon as school finished and asked how his days been? . he got angry on sunday when he went to play in his usual teams football match . youth game and he got benched the whole match ... now i understand why he was fed up this time but to walk of the pitch at the end swearing his head of i was so embarressed , couldnt get him in the car quick enough to let him get home and cool off. the more i try to tell him to stop the more he does it. .... tonight i dont know whats got into him . he has self harmed before as he's told me and he has been refeeres to camms but awaiting appointment for that ... what do i do in the mean time. i just have a constant headache from telling him to pack it in all the time
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear you. It can be so frustrating and embarrassing when your child is acting out in explosive ways when he becomes angry. I’m glad to hear that you are also reaching out for support locally to help you as well as your son to manage these situations moreMore appropriately. In the meantime, it might be helpful to talk with your son during a calm time, and to create a detailed plan for what he can do differently the next time his anger is triggered. You might find some useful tips to help you get started in 8 Steps to Anger Management for Kids. I recognize how challenging this must be for you, and I hope you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your son. Take care.
  • Karen
    I find it difficult after my 11 year old son has had a rage and called me everything to accept his apology ....when he says it or even speak to him....it's like I'm in a mood with him and I can't get myself out of it??
  • Katmadmom

    I have a 7 year old daughter who would ocassionally fliy into fits of rage for the smallest things. She would kick, punch and throw things at myself, her older sister and my mother. It started shortly after her father passed away 3 years ago. I had her in counseling for about a year. Then we moved to another state. It seemed to quiet down for a bit. Now all of a sudden it icame roaring back. 4 times over the past week she has done it again. I have an appointment scheduled for her on Thursday with a new therapist. It frightens me when she goes into these rages because it's like she's not the same person anymore. One time it was because she had to do her homework, another time because I took her kindle away from her when it was time for bed. She said she doesn't remember her father so I'm assuming she doesn't remember the abuse I endured at the hands of him. Or is it possible she does?

    Her progress report from school has come back fine except it says she has a problem with time management, staying on task. Her brother from her fathers previous marriage has Adhd and ODD, her father was Bipolar and Schizophrenic.

    Any suggestions in the meantime?

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Katmadmom I’m sorry to hear about the violence you are experiencing with your daughter, and I’m glad that you are reaching out for support, both in your community with a therapist as well as here on our site.  You may consider talking with the new therapist about the abusive behaviorMore you experienced with her father before his death, and the possible influence it might have on her current behavior.  It’s also not uncommon for kids her age to act out aggressively, as they tend to lack appropriate coping skills and have a low tolerance for frustration.  Something you might find helpful in the meantime is to help her develop more appropriate responses when she experiences strong emotions.  Kim Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner outline some strategies in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/stop-aggressive-behavior-in-kids-and-tweens-is-your-child-screaming-pushing-and-hitting/  I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • Roadnottaken
    My 10 year old suffers from rage issues. She always has. Small things set her off--such as the sound of someone breathing too loudly--and she flies of the handle screaming. She calls it her volcano. She name calls and curses. She has only been violent with her sisters, but theMore yelling happens at home and school. She recently told me that she feels ashamed because the sound of my voice annoys her. She is a straight A student but says she feels stupid. It's heartbreaking--she is truly suffering. 80% of the time, I try to stay calm, but yesterday I did not. My response was horrible. I'm going to try counseling to see if she can learn strategies that I can't teach her. She has gotten much worse this year, and gained a lot of weight, so I am wondering is puberty is also adding to the emotional maelstrom. It's a powerless feeling.
  • mlsmith
    My 16 yr old has recently told me she is gay she has alot of anger and throws tantrums has recently been charged with theft and domestic assault im going crazy lol
  • At a loss
    My 9 year old son goes into a rage when he's frustrated. He gets frustrated reeeeeally easily. For instance, trying something new, if everything's not going swimmingly right off the bat, and if there is any difficulty whatsoever, he screams, throws, and tries to break whatever object is near. He'llMore bash a chair on the floor, slam a door, or throw whatever's in his hands or nearby, rip up his paper, or angrily scribble all over it. This over the top reaction to what seems like a minor problem has been going on since he was a baby. At school, it takes on a different form, he just cries, and then loses his mind once he gets home. I seriously do not know how to help him cope better. There seems to be no improvement regardless of consequences, calm talk, role playing, planning, etc. we do not hit, and we stopped yelling back a long time ago. He seems to have zero tolerance for difficulty, and zero interest in problem solving. I'm just at a loss.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @At a loss 

      I hear you.  It can be so challenging when your child

      acts out inappropriately, and none of the interventions you have tried appear

      to help.  At this point, it could be useful to focus more on https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ during a calm time.  After all,

      experiencing frustration and challenges are problems that he will continue to

      face, and it could be useful to talk about specific strategies he can use which

      will be more appropriate than screaming or becoming destructive.  It can

      also help to https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/which-consequence-should-i-give-my-child-how-to-create-a-list-of-consequences-for-children/ if he attempts to use the new strategies.  I recognize how

      frustrating this situation can be, and I appreciate your reaching out for

      support.  Take care.

  • sadden
    I have a 12 yr old. He often listens to me (mom) more then his father. His dad has even tried my approach (same soft tone, and calm) to get him to do things. However he still does not listen to his dad as much as he does me. LatelyMore he has gotten disrespectful to me and when asked to do something he will throw  whatever hes doing down in a fit and continue to mumble under his breath. I usually let it brush off and become quiet. My son then will apologize because I tell him how his behavior disappoints me. However I have noticed when he does that with my husband, my husbands starts to then throw in jokingly (to me) "You mad bro. Oh you are so mad.... bro your very mad" I have asked my husband to not do that but to stick to the let it go or to get him to calm down. My husbands response is that hes not playing with him and hes serious. But by saying that to our son, my son gets agitated more. To bring up to today's situation. We asked our son to do something and he then starts his 'fit' when he verbally told me where to go (he never told me that) and then cursed at me, my husband took the game system, my son proceeded to take our flat screen tv. I grabbed it from him. When I did my son then threw a chair at me and I blocked if before it hit my face. My son then ran upstairs and continued a rage for about 2 hours. At one point I believe my oldest had to help my husband to hold down my son. My son finally came out of his room then told a few not so nice words to my daughter and then locked himself in the garage. I unlocked it and he was throwing things telling his dad to leave him alone. His dad stayed near him to make sure he was not going to hurt himself. They ended up back in sons room. And it calmed down. Enough that his dad went back to work from an extended lunch. My husband feels he needs to speak with a counselor. So we have an appointment for him. I feel its lack of discipline in the home and we allow the kids to get away with a lot of things. (I cook, clean and very seldom ask the kids to help) I admit its partially my fault. But this extent of things that took place today has been the worse. This has caused more tension between my husband and me. I do not see the need for counseling but instead we should change our parenting style, he wants to see if there is an under laying factor. I know there is, my son has complained about his dad to me, and the fact the kids in the neighborhood bully him.
  • Frustrated
    I have a 4 year old daughter that has unbelievable anger issues. For the pat 2 years or so she has gotten progressively worse. She loses control of her anger almost instantly to the point of forceful defiance, blood curdling screams, hitting, throwing things and shaking. She even pretends toMore lose her temper when she's playing by herself and she gets upset if other kids don't play her way. My wife and I have tried everything. I very much wanted to try teaching my child how to behave without spanking, but now I'm concerned that we may have made a mistake. She has no respect or fear of us or punishment in general. We started by trying to speak to her on her level, listening to what she has to stay, helping her come up with plans for how to handle her anger when she feels it coming and none of it works. She is very responsive to everything before hand, but when she starts to become upset she has zero ability recall anything we've discussed and she can only see red. We've tried timeouts, taking things away, sending her to her room and unfortunately even spanking. She just seems to have a complete inability to control herself. She almost always apologizes later and promises never to do it again, but obviously they're just hallow promises. She has recently started a pre-kindergarden class and one of our biggest fears was realized. She threw an epic tantrum on the second day. Screaming, arguing, throwing things, knocking things over etc. My wife had to talk to the principal and they're talking about theropy and testing. My wife and I are absolutely out of patients at this point. We find our selves losing control of our own tempers and screaming back at her and spanking her to try to control her immense defiance. All these child specialist and Dr. website instructionasl are infuriating because all they do is tell you the same tired obvious steps that all the others do. None of them tell you what to do when all of their advice FAILS. What do you do when NONE OF THIS STUFF WORKS?? I am sick of patronizing responses and lazy links to other websites repeating the same junk as the site before. I am terrified of making the wrong decisions and ruining my child's emotional stability as an adult. Is there someone who has answers for when all these obvious steps don't work??
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      Thank you for writing in.  It is obvious from your question how

      much you care about your daughter, and want the best for her.  It is

      pretty common for young kids to have tantrums, low frustration tolerance and

      poor self-control.  While it is normal to feel frustrated when the

      behavior keeps repeating itself despite conversations, consequences and

      promises to do better, something to keep in mind is that new habits are learned

      through lots of repetition.  As Dr. Joan Simeo Munson points out in her

      article http://www.empoweringparents.com/defiant-young-children-and-toddlers-parenting-tips-to-help-you-deal-with-a-difficult-child.php, one of the most important

      things you can do as a parent is to keep your cool and model how to calm down

      to your daughter, even if she is behaving inappropriately.  That being

      said, if you are being consistent in addressing your daughter’s behavior and it

      does not appear to be helping her, you might consider checking in with her

      doctor.  Her doctor would be able to observe your daughter directly and

      rule out any underlying issues which may be contributing to her behavior, as

      well as provide any needed referrals.  I appreciate your reaching out for

      support, and I hope you will check back and let us know how things are

      going.  Take care.

      • Frustrated
        The problem with doctors is that most of them will only give your child a cursory glance and quickly write it off as "just being a child". It isn't possible for a doctor to grasp the severity of the issue in a 15 minute office visit and no doctor isMore willing to spend an entire day evaluateing one child. All the doctor has to go on is what you tell them you have experienced and again, because there is no way of accurately describing severity the doctor will almost always write the behavior off as typical. So while talking to your doctor sounds great on paper, it is impractical and completely pointless in reality when it comes to behavioral problems. A doctor has no way of accurately evaluating severity of the issue in a conventional setting during a typical office visit. I appreciate your advice, but I sincerely hope there is more proactive advice out there then that.
        • Flower
          Came here to say I had the biggest struggle with my 8 year old. Exactly the same issues. Now she is 1000% better but it took a lot of work on our end. After a lot of back and forth, discussions etc what finally worked was basically ignoring her orMore giving the cold shoulder whenever she had a meltdown. We'd say "I'm not going to respond to you when you're in this state. We are going to do a puzzle in the other room, you're welcome to join us once you're calm". And then flat out ignore the screaming, crying and carrying on. It was hard at first (because instinctively I just want to yell and punish her) it takes a lot of control honestly. But consistency is key. Eventually she learned that there was no benefit to having a meltdown and the tantrums became less frequent and shorter. We talk about how anger feels later when she's calm but we don't make a big deal out of the tantrum, we just talk about the feeling so she can recognise it later. Again, she didn't learn overnight. Now, Whenever she responds in a positive way, we acknowledge it and validate her feelings but we flat out don't accept, tolerate or engage with bad behaviour. It's the only thing that has worked for us. It takes time so I hope whoever reads this stays on course and things improve.. all the best
  • Bl_matt
    My child is 11 years old and lashes out and violently punches holes in the walls, screams and yells, and breaks anything in sight. All because he isn't getting his way in a video game...I'm was so confused as to why he's doing this so I got him a rubixMore cube the other day so he could get his mind off of raging over video games, but he seems to get even more angry because he can't solve it, and he throws more tantrums. There's nothing wrong with his mentality, and that's why I'm so confused. He has been doing this for years and we've taken away his computer because of this and given it back weeks later as a punishment, but he keeps doing it over and over again. I've tried to stop his tantrums, but he just yells at me in response. My husband has told me that I am approaching this all wrong, so he took control but my son still rages out on us. He doesn't lash out as much on my husband because my son knows that he's the "alpha" of the family and that he's in control, but my son hurts me sometimes and I'm very scared that he'll get married and do the same to his wife and children.
  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


    This sounds like a very tough situation. I imagine this

    child’s behavior is having a negative impact on other tenants. It’s

    understandable you would want to put an end to the turmoil. Where we are a

    website aimed at helping people who are in a direct parenting role develop more

    effective parenting tools, we are limited in the suggestions we are able to

    offer you in this specific situation. It may be helpful to speak with your

    local police department about your concerns. Another thing that might be

    helpful is talking with someone in your local Child Protective Services office

    about what your options may be. We appreciate you writing in and wish you the

    best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


    It’s understandable you would be concerned. Whenever a child

    or loved one makes statements about self harm and suicide, it can be difficult to

    know how to respond appropriately. While most of the behaviors your son is

    exhibiting are most likely related to his http://www.empoweringparents.com/Good-Behavior-is-not-Magic-Its-a-Skill-The-Three-Skills-Every-Child-Needs-for-Good-Behavior.php or coping skills, we do recommend taking such statements

    seriously. Where you are currently working with a therapist for your son, it

    would be beneficial to touch base with him/her about what you can do when your

    son makes such statements. You could also contact the National Suicide

    Prevention Lifeline to speak with a specially trained individual about your

    son’s statements and the steps you can take to ensure his safety. You can call

    the Lifeline 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255. You can also find them online at


    We would also suggest developing a safety plan that the rest of the family can

    follow when your son becomes physically aggressive with you or a sibling. This

    could include having everyone leaving the area and going onto a separate room

    when he becomes escalated to everyone leaving the house and going to a

    neighbor’s house when he starts to become assaultive. You might even consider calling

    the police if his behavior gets too much out of hand. It could be helpful to

    contact your local crisis response and talking with someone there about

    developing a safety plan that is best suited for your family. The http://www.211.org/ would be able to give you

    information on crisis response. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by

    calling 1-800-273-6222. We wish you and your family the best of luck moving

    forward. Take care.

  • nmay95
    What about distructive behavior since 2, now almost 4 1/2 son?  I feel lost, nothing has worked and I am concerned we are near medication.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      Destructive behavior can be difficult to address. It can be

      helpful to recognize that at 4 1/2, your son isn’t going to have much tolerance

      for frustration and will have limited skills for dealing with that frustration

      effectively. So, the destructive behavior you are seeing is mostly likely his

      ineffective way of trying to deal with something he finds difficult and

      challenging. Making the choice to medicate your child is a personal decision

      each family has to make for themselves. I would encourage you to work closely

      with your son’s pediatrician to determine whether or not that is an option that

      is right for your son and for your family. There are things you can do as a

      parent to help him develop those skills that don’t involve medication, such as

      helping your son develop more effective coping skills through problem solving

      conversations and holding him accountable with task-oriented consequences that

      are aimed at giving your son the opportunity to practice those coping skills.

      You may find these articles by Dr. Joan Simeo Munson helpful for figuring out

      what steps you can take: Explosive Child Anger: Taming Your Toddler’s Temper Tantrum & How to Discipline Young Kids Effectively: 4 Steps Every Parent Can Take.

      Parenting a toddler can be exhausting. Hang in there. Be sure to check back if

      you have any further questions. Take care.

Advertisement for Empowering Parents Total Transformation Online Package
Like What You're Reading?
Sign up for our newsletter and get immediate access to a FREE eBook, 5 Ways to Fix Disrespectful Behavior Now
We will not share your information with anyone. Terms of Use