12 Year old boy throwing tantrums

Debbie - posted on 04/21/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )




I need advice. My 12 year old son is throwing tantrums when he doesn't get his way. The most recent was yesterday when he asked if he could have his ipod back (we took it away after the last tantrum). He was told that he might get it if he quit asking, and show some patience. We were in the car when this happened, and he started screaming, trying to tear up the vehicle, and throwing his shoes and jacket. It's a wonder we didn't have a wreck. I am planning to take him to the doctor to have his hormone levels checked, but I don't think this is the problem - they think he behaves perfectly at school. We are also seeking counseling. I am at my wit's end. Although he has always been strong-willed, the tantrums have become more of a problem since he turned 12. He's getting big enough that he can do damage to our home, car, etc. Any help or insight would be appreciated.


Wendy - posted on 07/22/2016




I have a 12 year old boy with severe ADHD, ODD, and borderline autism. We see a lot of tantrums. We've found some medications that help. At times I've felt quite hopeless. My husband is great with him but travels for weeks at a time. I have some terrific neighbors who are willing to help me talk him down, take him for a walk or just let him visit for a while. Sometimes he becomes very fixated on directing his anger toward me and removing myself from the situation (if possible) can promote an end to the tantrum. Good luck and remember, you're not alone.

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For starters, any time you take something away as a discipline method, you need to be up front with how long you are going to keep it. He was essentially in limbo, with no goal in sight for getting it back, so his only option was to keep asking, and even when you say "you can have it back when you stop asking," you don't say how long he needs to go without asking--an hour, a day, a week? After a day or so of that kind of limbo, most boys his age would be pushed to anger.

Try using consequences that force him to take responsibility for his actions. You said you took his ipod away after a tantrum. Was he threatening to break the ipod, or tantruming about a situation connected to the ipod (like you asking him to put it away, and he refused, etc.)? If not, taking the ipod was not a good discipline method because if it is completely unrelated to the offense, he cannot control the outcome. Instead choose a discipline directly related to what he is doing and tell him, you can do this and have this outcome, or you can do that and have that outcome. You can't say eat dinner and you can keep your ipod, or skip dinner and you must give it to us. but you can say eat dinner and you will be full, but skip dinner and you will be hungry because I will not cook anymore. Does that make sense? It is hard to give examples without a better understanding of what is causing the tantrums.

Also, analyse the tantrums--ask yourself when they happen most often, what are factors in his life that might trigger them (like is he tired, is he mentally or emotionally exhausted from holding everything together at school--if so, he may let his anger out when he's with you because he knows you will love him no matter what. That is actually a good thing, and you can use it to help him deal).


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