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Tantrums in Older Adolescents

While everyone loses their temper sometimes, frequent temper tantrums in school-aged adolescents indicate that they are experiencing difficulty managing their emotions. If your adolescent is throwing temper tantrums, you may feel embarrassed or guilty; however, these feelings often allow the tantrums to continue. In this blog post, we’ll explore the many reasons adolescents and teens have temper tantrums and how to help them with our adolescent’s and teen’s mental health therapies.

Between the ages of one and four, adolescents are learning how to move and explore with greater agency as well as trying hard to communicate. It is very common for them to become incredibly frustrated at the lack of control they have over their lives, from what they can put in their mouth to where they can play. This is what temper tantrums are, and it’s normal for adolescents to display dramatic actions like:

  • Screaming and crying
  • Stomping and kicking
  • Refusing to cooperate
  • Throwing things
  • Holding their breath
  • Slamming doors or breaking things

Temper Tantrums in Older Adolescents

Temper tantrums in older adolescents are definitely a concern worth addressing. They commonly occur for the following reasons:

  • The adolescent has experienced trauma that has not healed
  • Others in the adolescent’s home have trouble managing emotions
  • Throwing tantrums often achieves the desired results
  • The adolescent hasn’t developed healthy ways of coping

If your adolescent is having trouble controlling their emotions, don’t get lost in guilt, pity, or anger. A good therapist can help you determine how to help you meet your adolescent’s needs in order to help them develop emotional stability that is appropriate for their age. Some parents may feel reluctant to seek help due to exhaustion, stress, guilt, or fear. At Beyond Healthcare, we support families in crisis.

Fear of Failure

Having an older adolescent who throws tantrums doesn’t mean you’ve failed as a parent or that the adolescent is beyond hope. It means that they are missing skills. Instead of comparing your adolescent to others and accepting their emotional shortcomings, the best approach is to find a good adolescent psychologist. So many parents experience these concerns, but people are too embarrassed to talk about them. With our Community Connections program, we are working to change that.

Strategies During a Tantrum

Here are some basic actions you can take once the tantrum has already started:

  • Calm yourself – Take a deep breath and assess your own emotions before you engage with the adolescent. Being angry and impulsive yourself will not help the situation, nor will spanking or hitting the child. Clinical studies clearly back this up.
  • Speak firmly about their behavior – Be stern (but still calm) and show them what they are doing wrong.
  • Don’t give in – Even if they are making a scene in a public place, maintain your position. This can be difficult at first, but the length of the tantrums should decrease over time as the adolescent learns they won’t get anything from the behavior.
  • Give space if needed
  • Recognize a tantrum for what it is
  • Don’t antagonize the adolescent or respond by throwing a temper tantrum of your own (I think every parent has been guilty of this at some point)!

If you have done all this and the tantrums continue or become more intense, or if the adolescent is over the age of four, it may be time to reach out for professional help. Beyond Healthcare professionals are ready to treat a number of mental health conditions, including:

Find out More Directly from Beyond Healthcare Today

Let us explain how we can build a custom holistic program that addresses body, mind, and spirit around your family’s schedule. Call us at 833.698.0453 today and ask any questions you want, or reach out to us online. We accept both Medicaid and private insurance at our Toledo behavioral health and psychology center for adolescents and teens.