A Temper Tantrum
Can Be Harmful Or Helpful




A temper tantrum usually comes along uninvited. Who would ever want that from their kid? But...what if it was a tantrum that you chose to have, to blow off steam, to vent, to get it off your chest? That can actually help you, and nobody gets hurt.

Learn how to respond to your child's anger outbursts, so that they can vent, release and get their anger out in healthy ways, without creating any new problems.

Learn to support your child as they let go without losing control

That might sound like a new idea to you, but it is possible to let go of anger in a controlled manner. That's what healthy anger release is all about.

When a child learns to release their anger without harm to anyone, and without guilt or shame, it can actually be beneficial to their development.



What Exactly Is A Temper Tantrum?


Maybe this goes without saying, but a tantrum is nothing more or less than a huge anger outburst. It involves some combination of crying, screaming, thrashing, kicking, pounding and possibly throwing things.

Tantrums don't usually involve hurting other people. Let's look at some specifics:

    temper tantrum
  • It is usually children that have tantrums, not adults.

  • You may have noticed, however, that adults can act very much like children, especially when they're really angry.

  • A tantrum is an explosion that involves a loss of emotional control.

  • This type of anger outburst is usually not directed at another person.

I think that gives you a good general picture, so now let's look at how to respond to a child's tantrum.



What To Do When Your Child Throws A Tantrum


There are a couple of pages on this site dedicated to helping with this, so I'll reference those pages and add a couple of tips here.

Start by checking out our page on child anger management, which references a lot of other pages that will be helpful to you.

  • First, be sure you don't punish the child's anger.

  • When the temper tantrum occurs, you want to acknowledge their anger, without shying away from it or punishing it.

  • Make sure you do not let them get out of something they're supposed to do because of their anger. That will teach them to use anger to control their environment, which is never good.

  • Always keep firm boundaries on the child's behavior during and after the anger outburst.

This way, you help the child understand that their anger is not bad, but they always need to control their behavior no matter how mad they are. You want them to become their own best anger management resource


What To Say To A Child During A Temper Tantrum

  1. First, get on eye level with the child, if possible. Try not to speak down to them.
  2. Try to make eye contact with them as much as possible. If you can't, that's okay, just follow the rest of these guidelines.
  3. Say to the child having the temper tantrum, "Wow! You're really angry! Your anger is strong! I sure can see how angry you are. You still have to (fill in the blank...take a bath, eat your peas, go to school, etc.), but I can sure see that you're angry about it."
  4. All of this has to be done without threat or aggression. You must realize that your anger is much bigger than the anger of your child, and if you show your anger it will squelch and stifle your child's expression.



child anger
Stop The Temper Tantrums Now


There are also many forms of nonverbal communication skills and children anger management techniques that are helpful when your child is having an anger outburst. Be sure and check out those resources and learn what KidsHealth.org has to offer.

Return to child anger management.


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