Meltdowns & Anger

ADDitude Asked: Preventing Meltdowns

Help children manage their anger with this advice from parents on avoiding and handling temper tantrums. Plus, couples share how they keep their child’s outbursts from affecting their relationships.

Weathering the Temper Tantrum Storm
Weathering the Temper Tantrum Storm

Need help teaching children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), or other violence and defiance issues, to learn anger management? Below, ADDitude readers share how they help kids handle their anger and tempers to prevent tantrums. Plus, these families share how they cope when outbursts do occur!

How to Calm Angry Children and Prevent Tantrums

“My husband and I try to step in before the tantrum happens, but sometimes that is impossible! In those cases, we try to remember not to take our daughter’s words personally.” -Denise, California

“My husband and I have tried many tricks to avoid tantrums since our son was 2. Taking something from him — a toy — for a couple of days works sometimes. We remember to love our child, no matter what, and make sure he knows it.” -Debra, Pennsylvania

[Free Handout: 10 Ways to Neutralize Your Child’s Anger]

“I tell my son to look into my eyes while I am talking to him, instead of dancing around the room. Then I ask him to make a choice between A and B, and I encourage him to choose the right one.” -Dawn, Florida

How to Handle Temper Tantrums

“I nip tantrums in the bud. I hold up three fingers — one stands for Happy, another for Playful, and the third for Calm — and ask my children to pick a new mood.” -Amber, Ohio

How to Cope as a Couple When Tantrums Happen

“We have accepted — finally — that our children have ADHD and that there will be tough moments like this. Our job is to keep the fallout from those moments from spilling over into our relationship.” -An ADDitude Reader

“During meltdowns, my husband and I tell each other that ‘this too shall pass.’ We nurture each other with small acts of kindness, and remember why we got married!” -Helene, California

[10 Rules for Dealing with an Explosive Child]

“My husband and I agree on how we’re going to react before my son acts violent or defiant or has a meltdown. He can’t divide us by appealing to one parent over the other.” -Maureen, Illinois

“Working closely with my husband and having long talks with him help our marriage.” -Janelle, Wisconsin