Temper Tantrums Gone Too Far

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Copyright © 2004

Dear Annette,
Thank you!  I'm a 47, almost 48 year old mother of one child - a usually wonderful 6 year old girl.  I love her so much and don't hesitate to tell her and to apologize if I'm wrong about something, but ... She's been getting worse and worse with her temper tantrums.  It's to the point where I've enlisted her school's help (no, she doesn't do this at school or usually even with other family members, just me!) and have asked to have her take part in the next anger management class that they give. 

She's kicking me, threatening me, threatening to run away (until I give her a suitcase and offer to drive her to Grandma's), and just displaying behavior that I find awful.  I never learned how to deal with my temper as a child and as a result turned them in on myself and attempted suicide many times starting at age 14. 

I don't want my precious daughter to experience this pain, so I've been trying everything that I know.  I do send her to her room until she calms down and will walk away (I've gotten clothes torn by her for walking away). 

Thanks for some indication that I'm on the right track.  Any other suggestions you might have would be wonderful.  I feel so ashamed that I can't think of ways to help her better.

Help Wanted

Dear Help,

The best advice I can give the both of you is to get some counseling on a regular basis.  You need to learn how to deal with your past and the problems with your daughterís behavior.  She has learned that she can bully you and get what she wants, but her behavior is out of control.  I know it scares you.  It scares her too, but she doesnít know how to control it.  You need to help her to do so.  The sooner she gets help the better.    

Your feelings of shame, at not being able to control your daughter, are internalizing your anger, again.  Stop that!  There is such a thing as righteous indignation.  Any one should have anger when a child tears clothes, threatens, or kicks.  A good counselor can help you work out a plan of action you should take when these behaviors occur.

I cannot stress enough that whatever course you take with your daughter; you must be consistent with that action.  You falter even once, and you have sent up a situation where she believes that if she is emotionally & verbally abusive (threatening and threats of running away) and/or physically abusive (kicking & tearing clothing) long enough or escalates these behaviors into worse ones, she will get what she wants.  If this happens you both are in trouble.  Her behaviors will escalate into worse behaviors and you will be the brunt of it all.  See where her behaviors are on the abuse scale below and what they can become.

See:  Click hereŗEmotional and Psychological Abuse Continuum

In case cost for counseling seems prohibitive, call around in your area for counselors that do family counseling on a sliding scale fee.  Don't put this off.  You both need help now

Meanwhile read and implement the following, consistently.  If you donít think you can do so without counseling, donít start, instead get counseling immediately.

Click hereŗSix Year Old Temper Tantrums

Click hereŗHelping Our Children Overcome Bad Behaviors

This very minute, ask God to help your daughter and yourself.  Read the above articles carefully and ask God to help you implement them successfully.  Ask Him to be by your side and make you strong and consistent, for your daughter and you. 

You can only get help from the counselor while you are in session; God can be with you every step of the way.  You donít have to be alone, when you face your child. 

Why should God help you?  It is because He wants both of you to be the strongest happiest people you can be.  He knows what you are going through and wants to help, but do to the Law of Free Agency; He cannot intervene unless you ask Him too.  So take God into your corner as you fight to make your daughter and you into mentally healthy individuals.  He will make a difference!  He can inspire you as to what you should do.  He will help you do it.

Best wishes for you both,

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Annette Nay Homepage

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