Dealing with Tantrums at Any Age

tantrums at any age

Whether you have a 2-year-old or a 15-year-old, it is likely you will have to deal with some sort of melt down from your kids. As they get older, the meltdowns look a little different and the methods for dealing with them will adjust a little as well.

Here are a few things to expect during tantrums at any age:

Ages 1-4: Between ages of one and three, you will have the typical temper tantrum scene: screaming, crying and sometimes throwing themselves on the ground. My oldest used to scream for so long she would stop breathing and her face would start turning blue.  (When that happens, just blow in their face. It will startle them and they will start breathing again. )

Ages 5-10: The random tantrum (usually a result of exhaustion) are over, or at least significantly less intense. Kids at this age will start stomping, folding their arms and talking back. You will still see some yelling and you will see a lot of crying too.

Preteen/Teen:  Depending on the personality of your child, mood swings and outbursts will range from minor to severe. For many parents this stage is the most trying because it is difficult to be as assertive. The intimidation factor is much smaller since your child is probably as tall as you are now. Some teens will yell, say hurtful things, slam doors, or throw things.

Here are a few ways to combat outbursts and meltdowns at any age. Some of these steps require patience and you may have to personalize your plan of attack based on your child’s personality.

Stay calm: This can be tricky. If your 3-year-old sprawls out in the middle of the grocery store screaming bloody murder, it is tempting to toss them over your shoulders and run for the hills, or start yelling at them. Teens will say some hurtful things, which, understandably, stirs up frustration.

Take a few deep breathes and count to 10 (or 100!) in your head until you feel calm enough to talk to your child.

Go to a quiet place: This works best for younger kids. Remove them from the stressful environment and find somewhere quiet to talk. Many times holding them on your lap and talking to them quietly will be enough to calm them down. Once they are calm, you can help them explain why they were so frustrated and explain that there are better ways to express their emotions.

For older kids, you may need to give them a cool-down time. Send them to their room for a few minutes to take a deep breath (you too) and come back to talk about the issue calmly.

Be firm:  Remember you are the adult. Giving in to tantrums will only further encourage the behavior. Mommy-guilt is high when you put your foot down, but your child will be better for it. Remember to let your child know you love them, even if you are both frustrated.