The parents I’ve worked with often have ineffective ways of responding to and managing their child’s meltdowns. They either go to one extreme and yell, threaten, restrain, or even spank the child, or they go to the other extreme and give in.

In both cases, the parent may stop the meltdown, but they haven’t taught their child to behave more appropriately. And the next time their child is uncomfortable, he or she will simply throw another tantrum.

In my experience, parents are very resistant to the idea of their kids being unhappy or uncomfortable. They learn what their child has taught them: if you make me uncomfortable, I’m going to make you uncomfortable. When a child throws a tantrum at the mall and kicks and screams on the floor, he’s saying, “You have more to lose than I do.”

And he’s right. You do have more to lose: you’re embarrassed, and you can’t accomplish your goal of shopping in the mall. People are looking at you. You feel like a bad parent, and you think everyone around you considers you a bad parent.

In this situation, the kid has nothing to lose and everything to gain, and he doesn’t care what people think. He just wants to control you and get an ice cream cone. And when he gets his ice cream, the parent has inadvertently taught him that meltdowns work. And as long as something works, it’s human nature not to change it.

Why Do Kids Have Meltdowns?

Kids have meltdowns and temper tantrums for two reasons. The first reason is that they do not have enough tools to manage their feelings in a new situation or event. The second reason is that meltdowns have worked—they’ve seen that when they have a tantrum, they get what they want.

If a child is confronted with a situation that he hasn’t learned how to manage yet, his response is fight or flight. It’s a survival response. And very often, flight is not an option because they can’t get out of the situation. They’re stuck, whether at the mall, in the car, or at grandma’s house. And since they can’t flee the situation, they fight, and the way that they fight is by acting out or having a meltdown.

If the parents don’t respond effectively, the child learns that having a meltdown or a temper tantrum will help him accomplish a goal. When a child gets stressed and acts out, and the parent gives in, that’s as far as the child needs to go. He doesn’t have to learn how to be patient, manage his anxiety, and deal with stress. He just has to act out so that his parent takes care of all that.

It’s not that these kids are bad. Rather, they’ve figured out that tantrums and meltdowns work for them. They’ve learned a problem-solving skill that says, “If I’m disruptive to other people, then it solves my problem.”

They don’t have to deal with the stress because everyone else is busy running around trying to calm him down, and they eventually give in to him.

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I think that if meltdowns work for a child, you’ll see them continue. But as the child gets older, meltdowns will evolve into abusive or intimidating behavior. It’s a tantrum at age 5, but at age 15, it’s breaking things around the house, threatening physical violence, and using abusive language.

Tantrums are Inevitable

Unfortunately, we cannot stop the meltdowns. No matter what, children are going to get overwhelmed, frustrated, and angry, and they are going to have temper tantrums. These behaviors are part of childhood development. Indeed, they are the crude tools children use to deal with painful and confusing feelings.

But, depending on how we respond, we can manage the frequency and intensity of these behaviors, and we can give our kids more effective tools to use instead—tools that will allow him to manage overwhelming feelings on his own.

Although tantrums are to be expected, they’re not to be rewarded. Why? Because when you don’t reward the tantrum, you create a situation where the child must learn other ways to manage those overwhelming feelings. This is how you ensure that your child grows and matures.

Kids Learn From What Parents Do, Not What They Say

Parents often know the right thing to say, but don’t know the right thing to do. For example, a kid may throw a tantrum when he wants an ice cream cone, and the parent gets it for him. The parent then gives the kid a speech about his misbehavior and thinks, “Good, I taught him a lesson. He understands now.”

But the kid thinks, “Good, I got the ice cream cone. I got my way.”

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After multiple episodes of acting out, the parents are left scratching their heads, thinking, “I explained this to him a thousand times. I don’t know why he doesn’t understand.”

Here’s the problem: your child understood that he threw a tantrum and got an ice cream cone. Sure, he may hear your words, but he listens to your actions. And your actions say loud and clear that if you throw a tantrum, you get an ice cream cone. It’s a payoff for the child, and as long as he gets paid off, he will keep acting out.

Don’t Give In When Your Child Has a Tantrum

With younger children, parents should not give in. If your child has outbursts in the car while you’re driving, talk to him before the next outing. Tell him:

“Sometimes, when we’re in the car, you get upset and start screaming. When you do this, it’s not safe for us. The next time that happens, I’m going to pull over to the side of the road, and I’m going to give you five minutes to get yourself under control. If you don’t calm down, I’m going to turn around, and we’ll go home.”

The store is another place where meltdowns are common. I tell parents that when a meltdown happens in a store, leave the store. Make sure your child knows before you go in that if he has a meltdown, then you will leave. You can say to him:

“Sometimes, when you don’t get your way, you get upset, and you yell and roll on the floor. If you do that, we’re leaving the store.”

As a kid gets older, you can tell him:

“I’m leaving the store, and if you resist or fight me, I’ll be in the car. You can find me. You know where the car is.”

Obviously, you wouldn’t leave a four-year-old in a store, but with an older child who can take care of himself, this can be effective.

If they try to play the game of “you can’t make me” say:

“You’re right. I can’t make you. I’m going out to the car, and I’ll call the security guard, and maybe they can help you out.”

You’re putting the pressure back on the child to behave appropriately. Is that risky? Of course it is. There’s always a risk. But it’s also risky to give in over and over again. Understand that I’m not advising every parent to do this. Rather, I’m saying it’s an option and something to consider if appropriate.

How To Prevent Future Tantrums

You shouldn’t give in to the meltdown, but you also have to understand what triggers it. If you know your child’s triggers, you can teach your child how to stay in control.

The most effective time to identify what triggers your child is right when the child starts to lose it. When this happens, intervene and say to your child:

“This is what seems to upset you. Let’s look at what you do when you’re upset.”

At this point, make it clear to your child that acting out and having a tantrum is not going to help him get his way. Tell him that rolling on the floor or screaming at the top of his lungs won’t solve his problem. And assure him that you won’t give in when he acts out.

Say to him:

“What are you going to do differently the next time this happens?”

Then talk with your child about what to do instead of acting out. But make no mistake, if you give in to your child, then this conversation won’t work, and your child’s behavior will not change.


Parents need to understand that a tantrum is a power struggle your kid is trying to have with you. It’s a strategy to try to get his way with the least amount of discomfort to him. Sometimes, that means blowing up and bringing discomfort to you, the parent.

Too often, we forget that the parent is the authority, that the parent has the power, and their child is trying to wrestle some of that power from them.

As a parent, you hold the cards. You just have to play those cards well. Part of the hand you’re dealt is your own parenting skills, your background, and your natural ability. But you should also try to use your child’s natural skills and abilities, understand their deficits, and use your authority to help your child learn to manage situations without acting out and misbehaving.

Parents have the power and can do this—I see it all the time. And, when they do, the payoff to their family life and their children is immeasurable.

Related Content:
Acting Out in Public: Is Your Child’s Behavior Holding You Hostage?
How to Handle Temper Tantrums: Coaching Kids to Calm Down

Empowering Parents Podcast:
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James Lehman, who dedicated his life to behaviorally troubled youth, created The Total Transformation®, The Complete Guide to Consequences™, Getting Through To Your Child™, and Two Parents One Plan™, from a place of professional and personal experience. Having had severe behavioral problems himself as a child, he was inspired to focus on behavioral management professionally. Together with his wife, Janet Lehman, he developed an approach to managing children and teens that challenges them to solve their own problems without hiding behind disrespectful, obnoxious or abusive behavior. Empowering Parents now brings this insightful and impactful program directly to homes around the globe.

Comments (64)
  • Michelle D
    My daughter Kayla is almost 6 (will be 6 on March 22). She have tantrums once in a while since she was 31 months old. Want an example? Last week we went to Walmart to buy groceries and new clothes for her. She wanted to get a toy as well.More I told her no. Then she screamed and yelled and kicked so loudly for everyone near that aisle to hear. And no, she did not get to buy that toy. I don't want my Kayla to grow up like this. What do I do? Hit her? Yell at her? Hold her down? There has got to be a way. Any tips to stop her tantrums and defend myself?
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Thank you for reaching out to Empowering Parents. I can hear how frustrating your daughter's behaviors are. Tantrums are pretty normal for kids this age because they tend to have a low tolerance for frustration and also lack effective coping skills for managing their frustration. We have several articles that offer useful tips for managing tantrums - both in the moment when it's happening and also after things have calmed down. 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 and wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.

  • Daniel r
    I have recently moved in with my girlfriend but now when we kiss or touch each other her 8 yr old daughter throws a tantrum??? How do we solve this??
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      I can only imagine how frustrating this must be. We have several articles on blended families you may find helpful:https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/non-traditional-families/blended-step-families/

      We appreciate you reaching out. Take care.

  • Anon
    You say parents hold all the cards but that just isn't true. I was committed to following through with not given in to my son's tantrums. And it started to work. But the neighbors in my apartment filed a noise complaint and if he continues to have tantrumsMore I will be evicted. Forced to choose between treating my child's disorder and being homeless with an eviction on my record that will make it impossible to find another apartment I have no choice but to just give up and let him have his way. He knows he holds all the cards and threatens to scream and get us evicted and he follows through with his threats. He doesn't care. So what is someone in my situation supposed to do? What other options do I have? I can't afford to buy or rent a house.
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Thank you for reaching out to Empowering Parents. I can understand your distress. The suggestions we give aren't going to work for all kids or in all situations. It may be helpful to see what types of local supports are available in your area that may be able to work with you and your son directly.

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

  • oma3
    My grandson will be 7 in April. He had night terrors as a baby. Up until recently, he's had your typical tantrums that were extreme but relatively short. Lately, they have escalated to mach 10 for no apparent reason. for example, his younger sister had a toy...he started freaking out...sheMore tried to give it back to him & he freaked out more. He literally shakes with anger. He throws things, scratches himself, flings himself on the floor or off the bed. He starts screaming "everyone makes me SO angry!!!!" he says Leave me alone, but yells & is known to hit or flail around. his little sister is no angel, but they'll be playing & he'll get mad & hit her..says Well she did it to me first! He has this look on his face of anger & frustration and then once we can get him to calm down he acts as if nothing happened. it's never happened in public & just MINOR issues in kindergarten..there the teacher just sends the child to a separate area where they can be alone & there's toys & some sensory things they can play with. Does he need to see a therapist? His dad has decided in the last few months that he is transgender, so dresses like a girl & has asked the kids to call him by his female name. Can't even imagine what that is doing to his reality.
  • Cathy Sutton
    I have been raising my grandson who is 12 years old now, since he was a baby. Nowadays, he is solely bent on having his way by tantrums outbursts and rudeness as a 12 year old, since i sent him to live with his dad when he was 6More years old, which is my oldest son. He doesn't want me to date or have relationships and tells me his dad is mean and he wants to comeback and live with me. Not! I'm over 50 now and i want a life too.
  • Catmandont
    What about unconditional love. I dont say give in, but to not try to calm your child down if she is crying you are telling her you have condional love. Isnt this damaging?
    • Rachel
      It isn't damaging at all if you handle it the right way... I'm no expert and there's no perfect way to parent because all situations and children are different. But I have a little girl who is about to turn 3 and has some HORRIBLE tantrums. As most 3More year olds do. I explain to her that it's okay to be angry and it's okay to cry, but she needs to sit somewhere by herself (in time out) until she feels more calm and then when she's ready we can talk about what's upsetting her. The more I pay attention to her screaming the more worked up she gets, but if I ignore her behavior it will stop in a few minutes usually and she'll come talk to me calmly. As adults we even need to take a minute alone to calm down sometimes, right?
  • Margaret386


    My 9 year old is having outbursts when he dose not get his way, he's ADHD and has anxiety as well. He's a great kid but he could be mean and nasty to people as well he has be rude to his friend and family. He's a wonderful kid in school they say doing great. At home when he dose not get what he wants or can't do what he wants the fits come out. When he has to study for a test or turn off the TV or give up the IPAD I only give it to him on the weekend. He also has a nasty attitude sometimes he can be real mean he has a counselor and neurologist they are working with him but his temper tantrum's seem to get worse at times. I do not give into him I try talking to him when he's claim or before we do or he gets his stuff. If I yell at him he starts crying and if I tell him he can't get or do something watch out here comes the tantrum I am not sure what to do with him I really need help I don't want him to think he runs my house and he is a boss because he already thinks this he is a totall control freak and he's only 9 years old he won't have tantrums in stores or school it's at home but they have really gotten worse

    Please help any advice

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Margaret386 I hear you.  It can be so frustrating when you are experiencing constant tantrums with a child at home, yet he seems to be well-behaved elsewhere.  It’s also pretty common for a lot of kids to act one way while in one environment, yet act completely different in another.More  As explained in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/angel-child-or-devil-child-when-kids-save-their-bad-behavior-for-you/, it’s actually a positive sign that your son is well-behaved outside of the home because it shows that he has the skills to manage his behavior appropriately.  Now, it is more a matter of applying those skills to his behavior at home.  In addition to the resources available here, I encourage you to continue working the counselor and neurologist to help your son learn these skills.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your son.  Take care.
  • IvBa24
    My 7 year old daughter has had 4 tantrums since school started. She says she doesn't want to go to school anymore because she doesn't like math. This week she had 2 tantrums in a row. We have had to leave her kicking and screaming at school. Then, she criedMore during school because a kid said she had a wrong problem when it was right. When I pick her ip she is fine. I have asked her if there is someone bothering her, but she just says no, that she just doesn't like math and Her teacher is nice but she yells when they answer incorrectly and she is afraid to raise her hand. What can I do about the tantrums in the morning when we leave her at school? At home she is fine, and when we are driving to school she is quiet untill the moment she gets out of the car. She begins with tears and telling us she is going to miss us then clings onto one of us.
    • DCoo
      IvBa24 Can you talk to her teacher?  Is her teacher understanding?  If the teacher is understanding, can you mention the yelling (or raising of voice) saying that your daughter is a little sensitive to it?  Can her teacher make any suggestions? Perhaps she can be given morning monitor duties (privilegeMore to help the teacher set up etc.)  or something to look forward to when she arrives at school.  Give her some stickers to hand out to all her classmates and teacher first thing in the morning during line up, she may feel special doing this and look forward to it. Can you find out who your daughter gravitates towards as a friend and get to know the child and child's parent so she doesn't feel so alone, she could just be shy to start with?  Talk to other parents at the school especially those who have children in the same class.  There are many reasons why children don't want to go to school. Bullying and being treated unfairly is a common one.  These are just suggestions as we have had our fair share of issues at school later finding out that our child was being singled out and treated unfairly because we raised an issue in prep. My daughter is now in grade 2 and the singling out and issues have just been rectified (fingers crossed) so we have had 2.5 years of hell and bullying by the assistant principal.  I asked my daughter what was the best result when this was rectified and her answer was so simple "I'm happier now because it's fair".  Kids don't need much and as much as your daughter is having tantrums and stressing you and herself, make sure you give her all the support and love she needs. Write notes in her lunch box of support and love. Good luck with everything and my only other suggestion is go out of your way to build a supportive network for you and your child. you may find that other parents have similar issues at the school and it may not be your child's issue. Oh, and continue to talk to her about her day (good and bad) and tell her about yours (good and bad) so that she knows it's an open conversation.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      IvBa24 I hear you.  It can be so difficult when a child doesn’t want to go to school, and it becomes a daily struggle to bring her to school.  As James Lehman points out in another article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/i-dont-want-to-go-to-school-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/, part of helping your daughter to manage her difficulty going to schoolMore will be focusing on her responsibility to attend.  Another aspect will be helping her develophttps://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ so she can cope with her dislike of math more appropriately.  I understand how challenging these tantrums can be, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your daughter.  Take care.
  • jody9262

    My 7 year doesn't really have tantrums in the stores but he wants to play games and run around like a wild child. In general he is  very angry mean little boy that will frequently hurt his 2.5 year old sister and has no remorse for it. He never gets in trouble at school but is absolutely disrespectful, ungrateful, rude... the list goes on and on. The reward/token system doesn't work, time outs... all of that isn't working. He has a very bad temper and I don't know what else to do with him. I am at a loss, I have tried to talk with him about the things he does, but he honestly has no remorse for hurting anyone or saying whatever hurtful thing he has learned.

    I need advice, I am going to try to get a counselor to help but a starting point would be great.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      I hear you.It can be

      very difficult when you have a child who is acting out and becoming aggressive

      toward his sibling.I hear your

      frustration that time-outs and rewards do not appear to be changing your son’s

      behavior.This is because consequences alone

      do not change behavior.In order for

      behavior to change, your son also needs to learn what to do differently the

      next time he is in a similar situation.Something else to keep in mind is that it tends to be more effective to

      focus on your son’s actions, and helping him to develop more appropriate coping

      skills, rather than trying to make him feel a certain way.At this point, I encourage you to have https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ with your son about what he can do differently when

      he is angry.I also recommend limiting

      the amount of time your son is spending unsupervised with your daughter until

      he has improved his impulses and coping skills.Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for

      you and your family.Take care.

  • guest


    I am expecting a new baby in Dec and all of a sudden my 5 years old have started throwing tantrums starting from go away,stop it words to crying ,hitting, screaming for hours. I feel so helpless and worried parent.

    What to do? Thank you.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      I hear you. It’s not uncommon for young children to act out

      like this when a big transition is taking place, such as having a new

      sibling.This is because they typically

      do not have effective coping skills to handle strong emotions such as anxiety,

      fear, sadness, and so on. Thus, they act

      out their emotions in aggressive or attention-seeking ways such as you

      described with your child.Something you

      can start doing is working with your 5 year old to develop more https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/freaked-out-part-ii-how-to-help-kids-manage-their-anxiety/ during a calm time.It

      can also be helpful to have ongoing discussions with your child about your new

      baby, some of the changes your child can expect and the important role which an

      older sibling gets to play in the family.Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for

      you and your family.Take care.

  • mhealey
    My 7 year old has struggled with tantrums since she was 3. When she was younger, they would get so bad that she would become violent and hurt herself. She used to scream bloody murder, pound on the floor, hit herself, pull her hair, and throw things. As she gotMore older, we were able to get her to stop hitting herself and screaming, but she still throws massive tantrums. For a while, they got better and were almost non existent. But recently, they have started up again. Today, she got mad because she asked me a question but I didn't hear her so I didn't answer right away. She got mad, started crying and stomped off to her room. I went to talk to her, but she started yelling and went to full meltdown mode, so I left the room and let her try to cool down. She started yelling at the top of her lungs and saying mean things about her sister. Normally, I would leave her alone and let her calm down, but we live in an apartment, and I don't want the neighbors to start complaining about the noise. (We have nowhere else to go if we get evicted.) I have tried taking things away, I've tried rewards for good behavior, I have tried time-out, I've tried talking to her about her behavior and why she had a tantrum, I've tried spanking, I've even tried weighted blankets, but nothing has helped. She has also recently started whining every time someone says something she doesn't like. If she gets told no, she cries. If her sister doesn't want to play what she wants, she cries. If she doesn't get to pick what we watch/eat/play/read, etc. she cries. I'm at the end of my rope and have no idea what to do to make this stop. Part of what drives me nuts, is she behaves perfectly at school and extended family's houses. She never whines or cries, she plays nicely, is attentive and does what she's told. Please help?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      I hear you. 

      Dealing with constant tantrums can be so exhausting, and I’m glad that you are

      reaching out for support.  In a way, it is a good sign that she is able to

      behave when she is outside of your home, because this indicates that your

      daughter has the skills to manage her emotions appropriately.  Now, it is

      more a matter of applying those skills at home, as Sara Bean points out in her

      article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/angel-child-or-devil-child-when-kids-save-their-bad-behavior-for-you/.  In

      addition, trying to address inappropriate behavior in the midst of a tantrum is

      rarely effective.  Instead, you might focus on trying to remain as calm as

      possible, as Debbie Pincus points out in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/dealing-with-child-temper-tantrums-from-toddler-to-pre-teen/.  I recognize how

      challenging this behavior can be, and I hope that you will write back and let

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

  • Anonymous

    Want to know why take them home when they throw a temper tantrum in the store?  I found a corner in the stores before and also rewarded good behaviour.  Leaving sometimes is exactly what they want so they do it again.

    I also have a major issues and disappointment with counselors these days and am trying to figure out what to do with my 7 year old.  I took him to a counselor last year who thinks he has adjustment disorder from changing schools and other bs going on.  I agree with the diagnosis.  However I disagree with the treatment.  Her cure for the relatives having looser rules than we do was well remove the relatives until they comply with rules.  Um no.  They are adults who are set in their ways and are not going to change.  They do not see the extreme changes due to caving in to him all the time.  If we choose to say you do not get them until you comply that would get misunderstood and cause more family havoc.  Do I really want to be alone again because some idiot told me to cutoff family that wasn't completely healthy?  My mother was an exception, but most people are not deserving of complete cutoff from the family.  We have to work with what we are given.  No family is going to completely beable to comply with the boundary rules.  She also had this fancy token system that does not work with him.  Priviledge loss and immediate reward when possible for good behavior is understood.  Tokens do not work.

    When I was a kid what worked for me was sitting my down with my parents and a counselor, going over specific events and having a counselor look at me asking why I did what I did and explaining why I was wrong.  She did not allow me to place the blame on anybody else, even another relatives poor examples of how to behave.  Where do I find counselors who still do this if I need them in a few years for him?  When are these guys going to realize that some kids do need firmer behavior modification than others.  That helped me a lot looking back, not pleasent at the time.  These counselors these days are too flowery and blame the parents for everything and think they are my coach instead of taking a role to help my son behave!  You are hired help to teach my kid to behave to make sure he understands mommy and daddy have expectations that are reasonable.

  • Anonymous
    I have issues with the store advice.  If I leave the store every time my older child has a meltdown, I won't get anything done and it just gives him what he wants- to go home get out of shopping.  I also have issues with the psychological advice in general. More My son is developing an issue where he screams to get his way in the car.  I am hoping I made my point with him.  Today he seems anything sets him off.  He wanted to go play minecraft at the library so I took him.  He refused to get on a computer.  I gave him several chances.  He screamed partially on the way home because I would not take him back to the library and took his priviledges away away.  Pulled over twice due to him screaming.  I took him to a psycologist last year and she thought he had adjustment disorder which I can see but her cures were very poor.  Tokens for good behavior do not work for him.   He does not get that at all. What works is privilege removal/immediate reward for good behaviour.  Not this means you can get something good later. Part of the issue is our family has relatives that do not respect boundaries and refuse to do as they are told.  This counselor also instructed me to essentially break up the relationship they have until they change.  They are adults they are not going to change.  I will not do to my son what my mother did to me, she basically ruined the family.  When I was growing up what worked for me was the old fashioned approach where the counselor parent and child all talk together, not sit there and play.   Instead you were asked why you did what did and that it was not ok as well as how to resolve the issue.  Not giving rewards for every damn Who cares that so and so gets away with it you will not end of story.   Where do I find those these days?  Seems the newer approaches are busy blaming the parents and not focusing on backing up the parents.  Most families are not perfect and parents need backup.
  • CPwol
    I have tried everything with my 4 year old boy whose tantrums and meltdowns are increasing in frequency and scale. They are happening 4-5 times a day and can last for an hour. An example of this would be, he refuse to give his 3 year old brother a kissMore good night. I now give him three chances and if he doesn't respond I put him to bed. This is when he goes from 1-100 in a matter of seconds. He can then spend the next hour screaming , crying and shouting for all to hear. I have tried talking to him, comforting him and I just flat out ignore him now. He plays this game in many situations from reading a book to going to the park. When I remind him to be sure about what he wants he always responds with the opposite and a meltdown erupts. I praise him for all the good things. have tried paying attention, not responding and it's only getting worse. It's very tiring and consuming and it's difficult with my younger son watching. It's breaking my heart that I am beginning not to enjoy his company. I so very wanted to enjoy our last summer before he starts school. Please help..,
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      Temper tantrums can

      be very draining for most parents, so you are not alone in this

      situation.  Outbursts tend to be quite common for young children, as they

      tend to have a low tolerance for frustration and few coping skills to use when

      they become upset or overwhelmed.  As Dr. Joan Simeo Munson points out,

      part of addressing this type of behavior is to consistently respond in a

      loving, but firm way in the moment when he is having a meltdown.  You

      might find additional helpful information in her article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-discipline-young-kids-effectively-4-steps-every-parent-can-take/. 

      I understand how challenging this can be, and I hope you will write back and

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

    • LuciaMorris
      I feel you and just to let you know it will get easier. Just keep being consistant and do not say anything that you are not able to follow through with. I think its important to speak to them when they are not having a tantrum. ither before it happensMore or when its overm always ensure you let them know that the behaviour they displayed was not exceptable and tell them whats expected. O am not an expert just a mom of a 4 year old. My son used to have tantrums if i picked him up from daycare when he was playing or when we had to leave the park or a friends house it took a while of me showimg my disaproval for him to comply. I used sweat when this happend. and ofcourse i was embarassed as well. I never stopped taking him places however i made it a point to tell him before we even went that if he startes yelling or throwimg a tantrum he will not get to watch his show for the evening. it worked not right away...as i believe once he didnt watch tv for a week straight cuz he just never wanted to come home. But now he might need a remimder from time to time and sometimes he crys a bit but it will never last and it never turns into a tantrum. it took almost 5 years but its possible. Just be consistant and make sure he or she knowa whats expected and what the onsequenxe is. they will catch on. believe me.Good Luck
  • Melissa

    I live with my boyfriend of a year and a half. Last August he got full custody of his 6 year old son. The child's mother has visitation 3 weekends a month and Wednesday's. My boyfriend was given full custody because the child's mother was committing parental alienation against the child's father (my boyfriend). They had split up when the child was a year old and my boyfriend has spent the last 4 years slowly trying to get custody back. I love his son as my own and the past year has been beautiful and challenging at the same time. As of late, maybe the past two months, the little boy has been throwing insane temper tantrums, whenever we tell him No. It can ruin a perfectly good afternoon. We went to the park and played with him for hours and as soon we said it was time to leave, he said he wanted to stay, and his father said, No we need to leave. The child immediately started saying how he hates his father and his father is no fun and things of that nature. Literally a minute before, we had all been laughing and playing and having a great time. Similar incidents have happened. Last night we were all 3 outside our house practicing on his bike. He is in the process of learning to ride with no training wheels. He was getting upset because he wasn't getting it and threw his bike to the floor. He said he was going inside, so his father told him to pick the bike up and bring it inside if he was done trying. The child told his dad to pick the bike up and my boyfriend told him "No, you bring your bike in". That was it. The child ran inside the house and proceeded to scream at the top of his lungs for the next hour and a half. When my boyfriend tried to calm him down, the child started hitting his father, something that has also recently begun. He started screaming at him to leave him alone and get out of his room and that he's the meanest daddy in the world, and things of that nature. My boyfriend ended up just walking out of the room and we sat there in the next room while his son cried it out. He cried for about the next 5 minutes. About 10 minutes later my boyfriend went in to check on him and without a word, his son says "daddy I love you"..and all was right with the world. This has become a constant for how all his tantrums end. He just

    Randomly decides he's done going crazy and tells his daddy he loves him. This situation is extra sensitive tho because the mother of the child is fighting to get custody back. Even though a child counselor, the little boy's attorney, a marital counselor, and a judge all found her unfit to raise him as she was found to be brainwashing the little boy to dislike his father. I know that's a separate problem but I can't help thinking it's connected. I'm at a loss as to what to do because my boyfriend thinks he's just a sensitive boy who has to deal with his emotions and is still Learning how to, and right now does it through throwing tantrums..I feel it has something to do with since this child can remember, he's had everyone in his life (his father's family and his mother's family) fighting over him and spoiling him and seeing who can buy him the coolest presents and seeing who can make the most fun weekends for him and take him to the coolest places..(As is the case when two families are fighting over custody), and now that he's in a regular household situation where his father is establishing rules, Parenting him and disciplining him, instead of being the guy he sees every weekend who brings him toys and takes him to cool places before returning him to his mom, now he doesn't know how to react to that. His father contacted the mother of the boy to please make sure he is being disciplined when he visits her and she responded by saying that she refuses to discipline him now that she only sees him so little. This further hinders our situation because I'm worried his son will begin to see him as the "mean parent" because he is the only one disciplining him or enforcing any punishments. Help! Any and all advice would be appreciated.

  • Marie1985
    What I don't understand is the 'leave them' or 'leave the shop' advice. As a mother of three kids and a partner who works long hours it's not as if I can just walk away from the shops. I go to the shops because I need something, I can't justMore leave because my 6 yr old is kicking off for an ice cream. I have been through camhs with my daughter but because she's 'fine' in school, her teacher believes she is gifted, they fob us off with parenting classes. I have read up on adhd in gifted children and my daughter ticks all the boxes, she's reading books about the brain which contain things on cerebellum and depression, psychologists and neurologists...... We have tried numerous punishment/reward systems, we do not give in, in her own words she doesn't care she will even be naughty and before we say anything hand over her ds and say I guess I won't be getting this for a few weeks then. She jumps off things (furniture, toys etc), she restrains her younger sisters, it takes her around an hour minimum to eat her meals, she never remembers where she has taken her shoes or glasses off, I have to give simple short instructions and even then she goes off on a tangent ( a task of go and get some socks leads to her playing with the scales in the bathroom or playing with toys), I've had to sit in her bedroom in the dark to stop her from getting out of bed, she doesn't sit still for two minuets, I could go on and on. Feel like a complete failure as a parent.
  • NanaL
    we are raising our two grandsons, ages 6 & 9. They have lived with us for 2 years. Both of them have been diagnosed with sever PTSD and anxiety. The youngest has ADD issues but they may be PTSD related. Both boys are in trauma based therapy. However our youngestMore grandson can go from 1 to 100 in a matter of minutes. He will scream for 2 hours straight. Saying no to him on anything can lead to this type of reaction. It is exhausting. He kicks and screams. We have tried ignoring the behavior, holding and rocking ( this did work when he was a bit younger but not now), time out, talking NOTHING works except when he exhaust himself. Then when it is over it is like nothing happened. His quick to anger response is actually a bit scary. Any suggestions?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      Your grandsons are so fortunate to have you as a stable,

      loving presence in their lives.  I can hear how much you care about them,

      and want to help your younger one to manage his emotions.  Because he is

      currently working with a therapist, it could be useful to share your concerns

      and observations with this professional, as s/he has the benefit of directly

      observing and interacting with your grandson.  Then, you can work together

      to develop a plan to help him manage his anger and frustration in a more

      appropriate way which keeps everyone safe.  I also recognize how

      challenging this must be for you, and I hope that you are taking steps to take

      care of yourself as well.  Self-care is an important, yet often

      overlooked, component of effective parenting.  Your self-care plan can be

      anything you wish, from engaging in an activity you enjoy, to using more

      structured supports such as counseling or a kinship care support group. 

      If you are interested in using this kind of support, try contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222.  211 is a

      service which connects people with resources in their community.  Please

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

      family.  Take care.

  • MsR
    I have a four year old daughter who has had horrible daily and nightly meltdowns since I could remember. They are exauhsting and so frequent that I don't know what else to do. Sometimes she will just drop to the floor start whining and kicking, but does not tell meMore what it is she needs. I tell her I don't know what she needs unless she tells me. At night we can hear her roll around her bed whining then kicks her bed then cries, we go in try to comfort her then when she calms down we step out of the room, as soon as we think all is well she starts screaming and crying and kicking. She can do this endlessly and I no longer have the patience. I thought maybe they were night terrors but at this point I don t know what iit can be . And her daily ones can also be triggered by me acknowledging a need such as a snack and saying give me one second to " put laundry away" then I will grab one for you. She is in search of instant gratification but is it's not at her will she has these ferocious fits. I am in search for guidance. Any suggestions?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      Tantrums are quite

      common for children your daughter’s age, as they tend to have a low frustration

      tolerance, and few appropriate coping skills to use when upset.  When

      children of this age encounter a challenging situation, they tend to resort to

      behaviors such as whining, screaming, crying, and kicking.  When you are

      in the moment of your daughter’s meltdown, I recommend moving slightly away

      from your daughter and trying to remain as calm as possible.  Dr. Joan

      Simeo Munson has additional helpful tips in her article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/stopping-a-temper-tantrum-in-its-tracks-what-to-do-when-kids-lose-it/.  I

      understand how difficult tantrums can be, and I hope you will write back and

      let us know how things are going.  Take care.

  • Obxmama
    My daughter is 3 and her worst meltdowns occur when it's time to leave the park and when it's time to come inside from playing with the neighbor kids. I've tried warning her that she has 5 minutes etc. I've tried telling her before we go go to the parkMore or before she plays what I expect when it's time to go. She will say I know mom I won't cry or throw a fit, then everytime she does! These are the screaming no, smacking my hand out of control fits, she won't come unless I carry her to the car or to the house. I dread seeing the neighbor kids because I know what's gonna happen when it's time for her to come in. I dread going to the park because of telling her when we have to leave. I've calmly carried her to the car and house without speaking, I've yelled, I've spanked her when we got home, put her in time out and no matter what next time either of those 2 things happen she goes insane. I might mention I usually have her 10 month old sister with me, so I sometimes have to drag her to the car because my other hand is holding her sissy or pushing a stroller. Help!
    • LuciaMorris
      This is very common at that age. Be consistant and it will pass. Make sure you do as u said and tell her that when its time to leave she is to.happy let her know that by crying she will not get to stay longer also use something she enjoysMore or wants to do as a reward or something you can take away and do it right away. For instance if she behaves and comes when its time to leave she can get an ice cream if she throws a tantrum she gets no icecream and also loses her tv privilage. You have to be consistant it took a long time i felt like it wasnt working and it was like taking 1 step forward and 3 step backwards but you can not give up because if you give in it will show rhem what you say means nothing and aslong as they cry they will get what they want. My son still will need the occassional reminder especially when its time to leave the park or friends...he has even cried recently when i picked him up from daycare while he was in the middle of playing. however its not a tantrum anymore and he gets over it quickly.Be strong and all will work out! Good Luck
    • Marissa EP


      Many of us can relate to the frustration of dealing with an

      uncooperative 3 year old, and understand what you are dealing with in those

      moments. With a young child, the most effective thing you can do is remain calm

      and firm with your directions. While this won’t necessarily change how your

      daughter feels about leaving the park, it can help prevent further escalation

      for both of you.  We would not recommend spanking as it doesn’t serve to

      teach your daughter how to manage her feelings in a more appropriate way.

      Instead, disengage from the tantrum and focus on taking care of your own

      emotions. Tantrums are temporary, and when you don’t give them any attention,

      they slowly die from neglect.  Debbie Pincus, author of our https://www.empoweringparents.com/product/the-calm-parent-am-pm/, has some great tips on staying calm and guiding

      your child to better behavior https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-keep-calm-and-guide-your-child-to-better-behavior-this-year/.

      Know that it will get easier over time, and let us know if you have any more

      questions. Take care and thanks for writing in!

    • Obxmama
      Also I always tell her after she is calm that we don't act that way and it's unacceptable behavior, she says sorry, but it never prevents it from happening again.
      • Dawn
        I give the 5 minute warnings and then I tell her, ok, pick 1 more thing to go on because it's time to go. They feel like they have some control in the matter and it's worked for me with 2 kids so far.
  • Jaxxsmommy707
    Please help!!!! My son will be 2 in September and he has already started with the meltdowns..... The past few weeks have been horrid and the past 2 days have been the worst!! He is very very independent and strong-willed. He wants to do EVERYTHING by himself and ifMore he can't complete a task he has a screaming fit, or if he's doing something that could put him in danger and we tell him no or try to redirect him or even help him for that matter he goes straight into the fit..... At first I thought it was his ears because he has ear problems but I've noticed lately that it's when he doesn't get his way or can't do something on his own..... It's becoming an all the time thing and I've tried so much but nothing is working and its slowly getting worse!!! I love how strong-willed he is but goodness this mommy can't take the constant screaming and kicking and throwing... I love my angel baby but I need help fixing this thank you
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      I understand how

      frustrating it can be when your young child is constantly having

      meltdowns.  It can be helpful to keep in mind that tantrums are very

      common among children your son’s age.  This is mainly due to the fact that

      they tend to have a low frustration tolerance, and few appropriate coping

      skills to use when they become upset.  This does not mean that you are

      powerless, however.  Besides staying as calm as possible during a

      meltdown, you might find some helpful tips in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/stopping-a-temper-tantrum-in-its-tracks-what-to-do-when-kids-lose-it/.  In

      addition, if you are concerned that there might be an underlying issue

      contributing to your son’s behavior (such as possible ear problems), I

      recommend checking in with your son’s doctor in order to rule out other

      factors.  Thank you for writing in; take care.

  • Natalie
    Hello I have a son that has just turned 4 he throws a tantrum when he doesn't get what he wants. He cries a lot but has been like that from a baby he was different to his 2 sisters as a baby his cries were always screams. The typeMore of scream that makes you think something bad has happened to him but that is his regular cry. He fights a lot with his 8 year old sister he is very strong and she always ends up crying. Right now he goes to nursery half day in the mornings the school is next to the park. All the children go there with their mum as soon as nursery is finished. If I see my son can walk nicely home from nursery it's a 6 mins walk then I let him go to the park the next day after nursery so he has not been to the park this week soon as I pick him up he starts crying for the park then throws himself on the floor a few times kicking and screaming it takes us a long time to get home. He also will start pulling me so I can't move and sometimes hitting me. Then everyday we have to go out 3 hours later to pick up my daughter from school same thing happens again
  • Loulou
    Hi, my son is 8 and over the last few months has started to have tantrums, the trigger is usually something minor but he gets so upset and it's usually because he's been asked to something but if we tell him off it just escalates into him screeching and screaming.More He does not normally behave like this and it's generally only at home never school. We have talked to the teachers and since starting the juniors he seems to have lost confidence and has become very emotional. He started off with a teacher that wasn't particularly good and he struggled with understanding what she wanted, she left after a few months then another teacher started and didn't stay long and now he has 3 teachers in a week, all very unsettling I'm sure so we think this maybe the reason for his behaviour, he is starting some emotional literacy with school but has only had one session. I would like advise on how to deal with the tantrums, if there is a reason for them, how should we deal with it, my husband normally ends up taking a toy or something from him if he does not listen and do as he's told and this normally exasabates the situation and my son gets in even more of a state and if it's before bed then ends up going to bed later by the time he calms down and I think this isn't the right way to deal with it. Please help.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      Tantrums can be tough to deal with. A parent’s first

      reaction is to either try to reason with their child or give a consequence in

      an attempt to make the behavior stop. Unfortunately, both of these responses do

      tend to escalate the situation, as you’ve pointed out. Usually, the best

      response to a tantrum when it’s happening is to set a limit and walk away,

      allowing your child the opportunity to calm down. After things have calmed down

      you can go back and problem solve with your child ways he can manage his anger

      and frustration more effectively, as James Lehman recommends in the above

      article. Another article you may find helpful is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-handle-temper-tantrums-coaching-kids-to-calm-down/. In it, Sara Bean

      gives great tips for helping your son learn the skills he needs to stay calm

      when upset or frustrated. We appreciate you writing in and wish your family the

      best of luck moving forward. Be sure to check back and let us know how things

      are going. Take care.

  • Mel5
    Please help!! My 7 year old stepdaughter has thrown tantrums her whole life. She became mine at age 2. Everyone has always given into her fits so she has learned that it works for her. It's just been horrible. When she wants something or doesn't want to doMore something she throws a tantrum. She grabs at her clothes or her hands, scrapes her shoes back and forth against each other til she tears them up. She cries so much she starts coughing. Her dad use to give into her or baby talk her to get her to stop but now he just sits down with her and talks to her like an adult. She only listens when she wants to leave does what she is told or will be nice to someone only when she will get something out of it. Every day is a 2 HR fight to get her homework done. She knows how to do it but throws a huge fit if she doesn't want to do it. She is only 7 but is so disrespectful and rude to me and many other adults. She will only listen to her dad if he stands over her to make her do what he asks. If I tell her to do some she ignored and if I tell her not to do something she will do it and then laugh about it. She knows how to be so fake in front of certain people. And lies so much to get others in trouble. It's gotten so bad that we have put in cameras because I have been accused of being the evil stepmother and the other children in the house have been accused of being mean to her. I have 3 girls ages 14-12-9 from a previous marriage and then my husband has her from his previous marriage and then my husband and I have a daughter that just turned 3. The cameras were to show anyone how she really acts and that I am not mean to her nor are her sisters mean to her. It's completely the opposite. Her dad is finally seeing how she really is and we are both at a complete loss on what to do anymore. I am afraid it will cause us to divorce and I love him with all my heart and he is a wonderful daddy. We can't even enjoy a nice family day because she acts out and then ruins it for everyone. Every type of discipline you can think of we have tried and nothing phases her. She absolutely does not care. I suggested we look for some outside help and my husband doesn't want to hear of it. The whole situation is causing issues with our marriage as well as with her sisters because they don't like they way she acts and treats any of us. I could go on for days about all the different things she has done. It just keeps getting worse. I am afraid for her to become a teenager (I know we still have a few years) and become completely out of control. Please help.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I hear you. It can be so upsetting when you’re not able to

      do things as a family because one child seems to always cause a scene. It

      sounds like there are other situations that are also at issue. It is going to

      be more effective to pick one area to focus on at a time. Trying to address

      every instance pf acting out behavior may prove to be not possible. It can be

      hard to know where to start when there are so may acting out behaviors

      happening. Carole Banks gives some tips for deciding what behavior to start

      with in her article  https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-childs-behavior-is-so-bad-where-do-i-begin-how-to-coach-your-child-forward/.

      Another thing we find to be beneficial is if the birth parent takes the lead

      when a child needs to be disciplined. The two of you can decide beforehand what

      house rules you would like and possible consequences that could be implemented.

      In the moment when the behavior is happening, however, it may be more effective

      if you disconnect and take space to take care of yourself or the other

      children. James Lehman explains this approach in greater detail in his article

       https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-blended-family-wont-blend-help-part-i-how-you-and-your-spouse-can-get-on-the-same-page/. I hope you find this information useful for your situation.

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

  • momneedinghelp


    I have a 7 year old son who has been having extreme tantrums to the point where he is screaming, kicking, and knocking things down when he doesn't get his way. This only happens at school. I am at the end of the line with it. The tantrums started this school year. He is the COMPLETE opposite at home. I've never witnessed it for myself. I get calls from his school just about everyday. It's so annoying. I have changed his before and aftercare, started a reward system for good behavior and chores, and now I'm considering changing his school. I feel like maybe the teachers have already categorized him and are putting no effort in trying to help. I get it, the screaming disrupts the entire school, but all they do is send him to the office. They already give him breaks to sit with the Principal everytime he gets frustrated with his work. Please help!

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


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

      out at school. Many parents are uncertain how to respond to behavior that

      happens when they’re not present. It may help to know that the behavior you

      describe is not uncommon for a 7 year old. Most seven year olds have a limited

      tolerance for frustration and few skills to deal with their frustration

      effectively. So, when your son get’s upset, he has a tantrum. Using a reward

      chart is a good way of helping keep the focus on the behavior you want your son

      to have. I would also have a meeting with his teachers to find out more information.

       My first question would be when are these outbursts occurring? Do they

      occur during specific lessons or at certain times of the day? This information

      may help to determine what problem your son is trying to solve with these

      outbursts. For example, maybe he struggles with math or he might find it

      difficult to transition from one activity to the next. Here are a couple of

      articles you may find helpful: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/young-kids-acting-out-in-school-the-top-3-issues-parents-worry-about-most/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/ages-and-stages/younger-children/page/4/.

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

  • Momoftwins
    My son is 8, he's a twin. His tantrums seem to be when he doesn't get his way with technology - - he can't play a game or whatever because it's bedtime. The thing is, I never give in. Never. And then he throws a massive tantrum, throwing things, kickingMore things, screaming at me he hates me and wishes I was dead. I try to disengage, but he goes on a rampage I can't ignore. Tonight he threw his shoe at my door so many times I thought he was going to break a hole in it (he has before). He throws game controllers, knocks over my space heater. And I always take something away. It's like he has zero control and he loses it so fast. I'mI'm afraid he's going to hurt his twin brother, who he often blames for his problems. I don't know what else to do
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I hear you. It can be so frustrating when your child has a

      meltdown every time he gets upset or disappointed. I can understand your

      concern; after all, you don’t give in to his tantrums so, it would seem logical

      they would stop since your not reinforcing the behavior. Not giving in is an

      important part of not reinforcing his behavior, as is holding him accountable

      after the fact. Unfortunately, until he learns better coping or problem solving

      skills, his behavior will likely continue. You can help him learn better coping

      skills by sitting down with him and having a problem solving conversation after

      things have calmed down. Sara bean explains how to have a problem solving

      conversation with your child in her article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/. I hope

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

      your family moving forward. Take care.

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


    I hear you. It can be tough to manage a temper tantrum. I

    can understand you want to keep her siblings safe. Locking her in her room or

    out on the porch may be a safety issue for your daughter, though. Instead of

    trying to make her leave the area, it would be more effective to remove the

    audience by having the other children go to a different place in the

    house.  This could be part of a safety plan, as James Lehman discusses in

    the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-lost-children-when-behavior-problems-traumatize-siblings/. It would be

    beneficial to help your daughter learn more appropriate and effective ways of

    dealing with anger and frustration by coaching her to calm down. Sara Bean

    explains how to do this in the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-handle-temper-tantrums-coaching-kids-to-calm-down/. We wish you and your

    family the best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • Mommabear24kidos

    Ok, my quiet meek 8 year old daughter during the day turns into a screaming nightmare at home when she doesn't get her way. We co slept with all 4 of our children and we explained to them that in the new year they were going to sleep in their rooms. My 8 year old and I went shopping got fish for her room and every night when it's time for bed she screams kicks throws things and says hurtful things to us. Tonight her daddy was trying to put her to sleep all I could hear was screaming and my daughter yelling no one cares about me I'm going to spit on you let me go your hurting me and so on. This went on for over an hour. She's scared to sleep in her room, she says she just wants me to lay by her, and so on. It was breaking my heart listening to her say these things while I was trying to work. I finally caved and laid with her because my husband was really upsetting her.

    Any thoughts?

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      What a challenging situation. It sounds like your daughter

      is having a difficult time making the transition to sleeping in her own room.

      It’s not unusual for kids to struggle with these types of transitions. You

      might find it helpful to develop a reward or incentive plan to motivate your

      daughter to stay in her own room when it’s time to go to sleep. We have

      behavior chart templates you can download in the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/free-downloadables-child-behavior-charts-how-to-use-them-effectively/ Another article

      you may find helpful is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/go-to-bed-now-winning-the-bedtime-battle-with-young-kids-and-teens/ by James Lehman. He gives great tips

      on helping kids learn how to follow a bedtime routine and go to bed when

      they’re supposed to. We appreciate you writing in and wish you the best of luck

      moving forward. Take care.

  • MsHMomOfTwins
    I need help my 7 year old has extreme tantrums and I don't know what to do. It's so overwhelming and nothing I do helps. I can't make her happy even when I'm rewarding her good behavior. She seems so angry I feel hopeless.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      It can be tough to know what to do when your child is having

      a temper tantrum. Many parents we talk to share similar distress so you’re not

      alone. The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to address tantrums

      is not giving the behavior too much attention. When you give the behavior

      attention, you give it power. If at all possible, you want to disengage from

      interacting with your daughter when she is in the middle of a melt down. Say to

      her something like “I want to help you solve your problem. I can’t help you

      solve your problem until you calm down” and then disengage. You can even walk

      away (an age appropriate distance) and give her space to calm down. After she

      has calmed down you can go back and talk with her about what was happening for

      her and how she might be able to deal with a similar situation differently in

      the future. For more information on managing this tough behavior, you can check

      out Dr. Joan Simeo Munson’s article Stopping a Temper Tantrum in its Tracks: What to Do When Kids Lose it. I hope you

      find this information helpful. Be sure to check back and let us know how things

      are going. Take care.

  • MJ
    What I don't understand is why my 6 year old throws tantrums over stupidly little things that don't even matter.  This morning she is throwing tantrums about blowing her nose.  She wants to keep blowing her nose even tho there is nothing there to sneeze out.  I was fine withMore it so long as she went to the bathroom and took care of business after the first bit of tissue so she wouldn't pee her pants.  She was frustrated and shouting rudely even well before I told her to go to the bathroom, as if I was responsible for making her nose runny.  This is just one example of her crazy illogical behavior that sets off tantrums.  Doesn't matter if we talk after.  Doesn't matter if I know she is way smarter than this.  The temper tantrums are always about something minor and she never NEVER just accepts something I've said... like that the word "name" has an e at the end or that sunflowers grow from sunflower seeds but wont grow after the seed has been cooked.  I don't even have to disagree very strongly for her to freak out.  ANY minor, kindly said, correction of any kind can result in a meltdown.  I kinda have to steer her in the right direction when it comes to homework as well.  I don't know how to handle this sort of thing.  No one in my family has been like this before.  My husband is an only child and wasn't a tantrum thrower either so he has no idea how to handle it.  I just get more and more frustrated and angry at the sheer ridiculousness of some of these outbursts.  She NEVER gets her way when she acts like this.  She is plenty old enough to understand what is expected of her.  She has been doing most of what she will have a tantrum over (dressing herself, going to bed, doing her homework at study time, not being allowed to watch TV for more than an hour, no sweets and candies allowed, blowing her own nose and wiping her own bum, ex ex ex) for years so it is not like it is a new thing and it wasn't unacceptable to her a year ago why now?  Yes, we moved and that was an upheaval and all but that was almost a year ago now and she had started this before we left.  <sigh>  I just don't get her sometimes and most of the time I can't just let her blow herself out.  It is almost like she lies in wait for a time when we have to do something important RIGHT now.  Why?  It never gets her what she wants and she usually looses something to do it...  it just doesn't make sense.
  • WalkerF
    Why is leaving the store the standard recommendation for problem behavior while shopping. It is just ridiculous as a punishment since what child wants to be in the store shopping? Leaving the store is a reward for the child and it prevents you from being able to get your shoppingMore done.
  • Mimi
    Help, my 7 year old has been throwing temper tantrums since she was 4. I am sick and tired of them. She throws herself, kicks, screams, throws stuff, I mean she is out of control. She does it in the sores, the house, the car and basically anywhere she wants.More Please help. I have tried it all, yes even therapy...
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      Having a child who is constantly throwing temper tantrums

      can be extremely frustrating and exhausting, and I’m glad that you are writing

      in for support.  Something that I frequently discuss with parents is that

      kids usually act out inappropriately because they do not have http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php.  One next step might be to talk with her

      during a calm time about the rules and how she will follow them.  You may

      want to start with

      her behavior in just one environment, such as in the house or in the car, in order to avoid

      feeling overwhelmed.  You may also want to try using a http://www.empoweringparents.com/free-downloadable-charts/ to recognize and reward the times when she is behaving

      appropriately.  Please let us know if you have any additional questions;

      take care.

  • Kimpo
    Is laughing @ the child's tantrum (5 years old) appropriate for a mother to do when the child acts up with the father? The mother thinks it's funny but later on talks to the kid. I don't understand that reaction at all. She sounds hebephrenic & then switches gears. SheMore is a psychologist & the father isn't. Is this new ?
  • marilyn

    As a teen I did volunteer work at sort of an orphanage, where no child had parents. Never once did any child of any age, infant to about 12, ever have a metldown, so what does that tell you? children who have their needs met but are not spoiled rotten have no need for a meltdown.

    children who know they can control the adult do have a meltdown.

  • andrea
    Oh my gosh!!! My beautiful , sensitive, artistic, creative, smart, loving, temper tantrum throwing, meltdown master of an 8 year old grand daughter is truly struggling. Yesterday was Easter Sunday and my grand daughter had the biggest screaming defiant tantrum that I have ever seen her have. My daughter tried everMore which way to communicate, give options, consequences, choices and ultimately my daughter felt forced to take the family and head back home...leaving all the Easter fun to sit. I agree with her decision, I just do not know how to help my daughter and grand daughter. My thoughts are this: My grand daughter has figured out that she has control when she implements a tantrum, my daughter probably doesn't want to enforce strict rules(stemming from her own childhood), and if this doesn't change soon-we will have an even bigger issue
    • andrea
      Any suggestions?
      • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


        It can be upsetting for everyone

        involved when a child acts up during special times. Often times, parents feel

        embarrassed and unsure of how to deal with the behavior. In the moment when the

        behavior is happening, stopping the show the way your daughter did is actually

        the most effective way of managing that acting out behavior when it is

        occurring. Granted, this may have an negative impact on siblings and other

        members of the family. The idea, however, is to remove the audience (which can

        inadvertently reinforce the attention seeking behavior) and also allows the

        child to have needed space to calm down. What’s going to help decrease the

        behavior in the future is problem solving with the child after she has had a

        chance to calm down. For example, an adult might talk with her about what was

        going on before she started to have a tantrum. This will help to figure out the

        faulty thinking that may be going on. Then, she can be supported in finding

        other, more appropriate ways she can respond in the future. We have a couple

        articles you may find helpful to share with your daughter: Attention-Seeking Behavior in Young Children: Do’s and Don’ts for Parents

        & The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”. I hope this information is helpful. Be sure to check

        back if you have any further questions. Take care.

  • Ahma

    My grandson who is 5 years old (come Feb 10th) left my home last evening.  When he got home he had a super tantrum according to my daughter.  He wanted to watch television, but it was time for bed.  He refused to take off his clothing, he refused to goMore to bed, he refused to allow my daughter or his dad to do what they needed to do to prepare for the next day.  In the end he fell asleep, but then awoke and continued his tantrum where he left off.  When he awoke this morning he continued his tantrum from the night before.  He does not exhibit this type of behavior when he is at our home.  My daughter is lost for what to do and what is bringing on these tantrums.  He did start a new school the beginning of this year, but seems to love his new environment more so than his other school.  She is at her wits end trying to figure out what bought this behavior on?

    • TamaraB_ParentalSupport


      It sounds like your daughter and her family did not have a very
      good evening or morning. Sometimes, bad moods and bad days are just a part of
      life, and sometimes tantrums are a sign that the child and parent are in the
      midst of a power struggle. Typically, a child who continuesMore to act out in this
      way has found that it serves a purpose. It can keep a parent’s attention, it
      can be a strategy to avoid doing something the child does not want to do, or
      simply a way to vent strong feelings that are hard to cope with. Whether it is
      an ongoing behavior or something new, it will serve a parent best to find ways
      not to engage with this behavior when
      it is happening, for how long the tantrum lasts.. Modeling calm
      behavior and being consistent about the rules and limits are good things to
      have in place. Another good approach is to  help the child find ways to
      calm himself when something happens that he does not like, and then practice
      using those ideas before the next problem occurs. Keep in mind, he may need a
      lot of practice. Here are more tips from Dr. Joan Simeo Munson that may be
      helpful http://www.empoweringparents.com/how-to-discipline.... Thanks for writing.

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