How do I control tantrums in an "older" child?

Serena - posted on 07/06/2009 ( 21 moms have responded )

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My girls is 7 and she still throws fits like a frustrated toddler. She slams doors, screams, kicks and hits at objects(not at me). I have looked into ADD and ADHD and even her dr. agrees she is not a good fit for those diagnosis. She is very smart and independant. And when she is good she is great but, these fits are making us crazy!! Any suggestions?

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Christine - posted on 07/07/2009

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this may be a weird question, but is she adopted? My oldest daughter who was adopted at 18 mos., has always been my "drama queen". It was only recently, that we read a book called, "Adopting the Hurt Child" that opened our eyes to a condition our daughter has called Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). She is now seeing a therapist that specializes in that and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, to hopefully help her regulate her emotions better. Just a thought.

Rabecca - posted on 07/06/2009

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My daughter had that same issue when she was about 9, suddenly she started throwing crazy fits. We cleared her room of all electronic and breakables, and then made her take the fits to her now "safe" room. After she broke a few of her things and they didnt get replaced the fits went down to just the yelling and screaming. We should discovered for ever minute of inappropriate mouth action she would get equal time off of her bedtime. 5 mins screaming and yelling=5 minutes off of bedtime. She once went to bed over an hour and a half early when we first started this, but after the initial "testing" the fits slowly got less and less until what we get is "Aw Mom, I dont wanna have to do the dished right now" and a slumped walk and a sulky face.

Jessica - posted on 07/08/2009

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Before becoming a parent I worked as a Life Skills Specialist for Severely Emotional Disturbed children, (not that I am implying any of your children are such, but those kids were the opitome of tantrum makers) and here is what I learned and was trained to do to help change such behaviors. I agree that consistency is key, without it anything you try will either be far harder or longer or just go down the drain. Also the discussing her behaviours and subsequent consequences with her is a great idea as it makes her responsible for her own behavior. Too often we make excuses for it for them, in a sense blaming ourselves for a choice they have made. It is important too also discuss what behaviors you expect (such as the idea of hitting the punching bag/pillow when angry instead of breaking things). You cannot just change a behavior, you need to replace it with an appropriate response. These behaviors are somehow working for her, she feels they give her what she needs. So she needs to realize that a different, more appropriate behavior works better, faster at achieving her goals or at least a more positive response from you. Praise her efforts. Ignoring can indeed be a great tool, Tell her you will discuss the issue with her when she has chosen to calm down and then walk away, she will come around, faster and faster.

Christina - posted on 07/07/2009

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My daughter is 8 and she doesn't necessarily throw temper tantrums, but is VERY negative...about every thing! It's exhausting. So we are doing the behavior chart; we made a chart for Sun thru Sat w/ "positive" and "negative" for each day and mark down each negative thing she does or says, or each positive thing she does or says. She HAS to get double positive than negative to be rewarded. (we don't have cable or satellite TV so we "order" her favorite TV show iCarly as the reward. She LOVES that show so it works for her!) We reward her twice a week; on Tues & Fri. She will look at her chart and if she needs to get more positives to get her show then she works VERY hard to get it. It's been very pleasant around our house because of her attitude change!! God bless. :)

Gina - posted on 07/07/2009

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I agree with many other posts. A system of positive and negative reinforcements can help curb the behavior. Sit down with her and discuss a series of consequences for her actions when they escalate. For example, if she slams the door, that is 30 min. of lost t.v. time etc. You know what will work for your daughter. If she yells or kicks there is another consequence. Let her help you come up with suggestions so she feels she is part of the process. Furthermore if she has times where she does not have a tantrum she can earn a small reward such as a extra computer time, or a choice of dessert for the night. It is important to curb this behavior. I can tell you as an educator. I had students in middle school who were still throwing tantrums when they did not get what they wanted in the classroom. I wish you good luck. Hang in there.

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Ev - posted on 02/03/2013

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My son did this until he was about 8 years old. The last time he did it we were supposed to do something to celebrate the end of summer break. Well, as you can guess he decided to toss a fit while we were at the store before doing our special activity. I took him home. I made him go to his room and sit there while I made supper and he got to come out and eat it. He was sent to his room again. I told him we did not act that way and we had to leave. In the end he did not do it again for a long time. But the next time he acted out for me he got to write sentences that went along with how he acted...example he wrote out 50 times....I won't do so and so again. Trust me it worked. But as I had an older child, I went and got some movies so she did not have to be punished for his behavior and we could not get a babysitter for him so we had to do something else. In the end, his tantrum landed him in his room for the night and he fell asleep an hour after eating supper.

Becky - posted on 07/07/2009

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I am having the same problem with my 7 1/2 year old son. The only thing that seems to work so far is taking the x-box and computer games away as a punishment and we have been praising him when he does not flip out when we say no to him. Did your daughter have terrible tantrums from 2-4 because my son was unbearable between those ages. He threw temper tantrums about everthing!

Serena - posted on 07/07/2009

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To answer a few questions...No she is not adopted and yes we did research ADD/ADHD for girls. We have also seen a phsycologist to confirm the non-ADD/ADHD diagnosis and other possibilities.



I would like to thank everyone that has responded thus far. Your responses have been helpful and encouraging. I will be implementing some of the ideas such as the behavior chart. I am also researching food allergies and the possibility she is bored becuase she does not behave this way in school. It only seems to be with her parents, go figure. Thanks again for your help and newcomers please keep posting as I am open to ALL suggestions that may help!!!

Sandra - posted on 07/07/2009

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i think you have a lot of great responses to start you off but what you choose to do you have to be consistent. i'de give them a go. try one then if that doesnt work try another till you find the one that works for you both. good luck.

[deleted account]

She's probably normal but if you think there is more to it, maybe she (and you) would benefit from a child counselor/psychologist. Maybe there are some bigger reasons for her anger that have not been addressed. Maybe something has happened to her that she hasn't talked about - like being bullied at school or something like that. My son does this too. He is 9. He is ADHD though. You did look at ADHD symptoms for girls instead of boys right? Being a female with ADD/ADHD... it affects girls much differently than boys. Not trying to say she has that though.

Andrea - posted on 07/07/2009

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My children are grown and fortunately I didn't have to deal with tantrums but the few that I did I walked away and totally ignored them, especially in public. That put a stop to things fairly quickly. I would also set up some rules, she loses a privilege or use of something important if she acts like that and you have to stand firm. Just my two cents.

Rabecca - posted on 07/06/2009

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Quoting Charlene:

Get her a punching bag to take her frustrations out on. At least she will have an outlet for frustrations and encourage her to punch that instead of other objects.



I was offered that suggestion too! It seems to be a good choice if you have the money and space! God luck!

Regina - posted on 07/06/2009

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In wish I could help you, but I'm having the same problem with my 9 year old.

Charlene - posted on 07/06/2009

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There are several things you can try (keeping in mind that every child is different). Catch her behaving in the way you want her to when she does take "no" for an answer and praise her for that. Let her know that if she slams the door again...you will remove the door (temporarily) and follow through when it happens again. Get her a punching bag to take her frustrations out on. At least she will have an outlet for frustrations and encourage her to punch that instead of other objects. Just a few thoughts that came to mind. My daughter locked me out of her room one time and I took the knob off her door for many months to follow. She never did that again!

[deleted account]

My dad took the door of the hinges of my bedroom when I was about that age when I was being bratty and slamming doors. You can always create a positive and negative behavior chart for your daughter. Actually, it's something you can create together. Sit down with your daughter when she's in one of her better moods and discuss what she thinks would be fair consequences for her negative behaviors: sent to her room, no TV, take away her bike, etc. Create a chart to monitor the behaviors. When she exhibits positive behaviors, discuss what kind of reasonable rewards she might be able to earn. Hope this helps and best of luck to you! Alos, another thought: does she behave this way during school? Perhaps being home on summer vacation is getting to her. Is your daughter actively engaged with friends, siblings, activities? This might redirect her behaviors so she doesn;t have to resort to hitting, screaming, etc.

Tammy - posted on 07/06/2009

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When my children did something like that at that age I took items away. If they throw a fit, we would take the main thing they wanted to do away for a day. And if they had another fit before the day was up. We added another day. Eventually they went away.

Betty - posted on 07/06/2009

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I have an eight year old, soon to be 9 in October who does basically the same things. He is an only child so what I think has been our problem is that we tended to give into him when he was younger, (maybe more than we should have). Now that he is older we have not given into his every whim so much and it has caused him to have a few fits. Hang in there, it does get better. We have noticed the fits are less and less as we go along. When they are older, the tantrums do not last as long and they seem to have a better understanding of things.

Tamara - posted on 07/06/2009

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Have you tried to pinpoint the causes of her tantrums? Could it be a food allergy (or more than one)? I know allergies can cause behavioural changes in addition/instead of the usual reactions.

Michelle - posted on 07/06/2009

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Ignore it. When she slams a door, take it away, if she hits something just take it away. Don't scream back as much as you want to. Never acknowledge an tantrum, but praise when a situation comes up and she doesn't throw a tantrum.

Michelle - posted on 07/06/2009

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Ignore it. When she slams a door, take it away, if she hits something just take it away. Don't scream back as much as you want to. Never acknowledge an tantrum, but praise when a situation comes up and she doesn't throw a tantrum.

Heather - posted on 07/06/2009

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That sounds very frustrationg for you all. Perhaps if she is going to act like a baby then treat her like a baby. all i can think is that either she is doing it because she is sensing it gets a reaction from you or she has learnt somewhere that this is the proper way to express herself. I would either try startingat the basics and treating her as you would a toddler and ignoring ect and maybe try teaching her other ways of expressing her frustration. i know my daughter is only 2 but as she is going through terrible 2's i also deal with tempoer tantrums and toy throwing ect. I tend to teach my daughter not to shout and scream but to use her words and tell me whats wrong. you know how to speak so dont act like a baby. and worst case is she gets put in her room till she settles down and then i try talking to her again.

I will say however that i do have a really easy child, she's never been difficult lol



Hope you work something out.

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