Maybe this has happened to you: Your school age kid has a fit. It almost looks like they’re reliving the glory days of toddler-hood, complete with lots of yelling, screaming, and stomping of feet. Except now, it may include slamming doors, throwing things, and saying cruel and hurtful words. You’re left thinking: They should know better, right?
What I want you to know is a lot of parents are having the same exact problems. In the last 2 days, 3 people have messaged me about school aged kids who are screaming and yelling and having tantrums.
It’s not just your kids.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
This age is a tough one because hormones are starting to flow in their bodies. They’re starting to feel emotions and feelings that their brains are not yet equipped to process. It’s important to teach them how to calm down. This is a learned skill, not an innate one. These tantrums won’t continue forever but they will change as your children grow – even adults have tantrums, in a sense.
After everyone has completely calmed down ask your child these 2 questions:
1. What were they feeling before they started screaming? This will help you AND them identify their triggers. (Kids have triggers just like we do.) Then hopefully the next time you’ll both see it coming and can circumvent it. Discuss the situation and what it looked like and what it might look like next time.
2. What do they want you to do the next time they get out of control? Hindsight is 20/20 and I’d bet that now that it’s over, they’ll have some suggestions for next time. They may not have any suggestions. They may still be a little angry or embarrassed at their behavior. If this is the case, you can suggest some scenarios and they can tell you whether or not they’d like you to do them.
What does this look like?
- “Hey, I noticed you were having a really hard time. I didn’t know what to do and I think you were too upset to hear me anyway. What made you so angry?”
- “What can we do to help you keep your control next time?”
- “If you do lose your control again, what would you like me to do?”
Some suggestions for a solution can be:
- move them to their bedroom
- give them a pillow to punch
- rip a sheet of paper into small pieces
- give them time alone to calm down and they can use a signal to let you know when they’re ready to talk
- let them scream or blow a whistle, etc.
Someone in one of my classes a few weeks ago asked how my kids were so good at verbalizing their feelings. This is why. I am constantly asking them to evaluate their feelings and emotions and helping them to put those feelings into words.
The most important part of getting through this situation is apologizing if you need to. Sometimes it’s hard to keep our own cool when we’re surrounded by someone who is losing it. If you do or say things that you wish you hadn’t, apologize sincerely for it.
Parenting is hard. It will always be hard. And just because the road gets bumpy, doesn’t mean you’re not still on course.
You’ve got this.
This post contains affiliate links.
These books are great books to help older kids understand emotions.
Click here to read how to teach your child to calm themselves down
Click here to learn how to balance your child’s needs when they’re angry
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Carin Kilby Clark says
These are great tips! My 7yo still has tantrums every now and then… but I've noticed that he's beginning to take better control over himself and reflect on his actions.
Tarana Khan says
Children go through so many new experiences in life that it's only natural that their emotions become overwhelming. Great post, thanks for sharing!
Chris Carter says
AW!! What a great informative and encouraging post Kristina!
Jhanis V. says
So timely! I was hopeful that once we hit 4, we say goodbye to tantrums. We are far from it. Great tips!
My daughter still has fits and she's 8. I am always shocked when it happens, but yesterday, I pin pointed hunger as the cause. I think you're right…there is always a reason behind it, and at least when they're older, you can talk to them about it!
Kristi Campbell says
My son is five and has learned some good self-calming techniques but we're working a lot on recognizing feelings and helping him to know that it's okay to feel mad but that there are boundaries. These are awesome tips for the next couple of years!
This is such a great post Kristina. My daughter who is nearly 7 and has always been very spirited and stubborn 🙂 still has tantrums on occasion. They can be frightening and at times I've wondered if this is normal or not. This post is both validating and helpful!