Reply To: Emotional Outbursts — Help!

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Penny Williams

ADHD is a developmental disorder — so our kids are 20-30% behind their peers in skills, including emotional control and communication. That means an 8-year-old has the skills of a 6 year old, at best. Recognizing that and setting expectations appropriate to his developmental age is the first step — it will diffuse some of the frustration in certain instances.

Next, work on frustration tolerance and self-regulation skills.

Play Therapy Techniques and Games to Try at Home

Helping Your Little Tyrant Avoid Outbursts

I like the Zones of Regulation program a lot for improving self-awareness and self-regulation.

Above all, you must remain calm. My favorite reminder of this is: Be the thermostat, not the thermometer. Meaning, don’t mirror and toss back his anger, frustration, tone of voice, etc. Instead, remain calm and help him dial it down.

ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism