Anger Management Therapists’ Strategies for
Dealing with Child & Adult Temper Tantrums

While the term “temper tantrum” usually conjures up visions of a recalcitrant five year old yelling and stomping his feet, many adults are also prone to “acting out” with adult temper tantrums.

Being able to calm and console oneself is an essential part of being a resilient adult. Unfortunately many people have not acquired the skills to do so. Helping a child to grow into a resilient adult – or learning how to become a more resilient adult yourself – is not easy. But, take heart, it can be done!

Helping Children with Temper Tantrums

Temper tantrums are a normal part of child development. It is the means by which young children show that they’re upset or frustrated, before they learn better coping tools.

No one just “naturally” outgrows temper tantrums. Learning to tolerate frustration or disappointment is a skill developed with the guidance of parents and caregivers. For example, when parents give in to their child’s tantrums, rather than helping them get over them, temper tantrums can spill over well into adulthood. Parents who are not resilient themselves, also have a difficult time fostering resilience in their children.

Helping children learn new skills to succeed is every good parent’s goal. Help your child learn to master new tasks, praise them to help them feel proud of what they do, and start with something simple before moving on to more challenging activities.

Remember, tantrums usually aren’t cause for concern – and will generally stop as the child matures, gains self-control, and learns to cooperate, communicate, and cope with frustration.

Anger Management for Adult Temper Tantrums

It can been hard for an adult to realize that his or her behavior actually constitutes an adult temper tantrum. But, for adults whose parents never taught them how to tolerate disappointment, adult temper tantrums can be a common occurrence.

Adult temper tantrums aren’t typically physical – although they can be. Part of becoming a resilient adult is recognizing when our behavior is, in fact, an adult temper tantrum.

Adults who respond unsuccessfully, ineffectively or inappropriately every time they are frustrated or disappointed may be demonstrating adult temper tantrums.  An adult temper tantrum can take the form of immobilizing withdrawal, crying, feelings of failure, desperation – and in some people even yelling or throwing things – whenever things don’t “go their way”.

Dealing with Adult Temper Tantrums

To instill coping skills, an empathetic parent responds to a child’s disappointment by acknowledging their pain: “Yes, I understand why that hurt your feelings.” Then, when the child is calmer, the empathetic parent can offer what is called “reality testing”:  “Bobby’s parents are getting divorced – so perhaps that is why he was mean to you.” This teaches children the ability to console themselves – which continues throughout their adulthood.

But for adults who still have temper tantrums, these dialogues between parent and child never got internalized – so the necessary coping skills simply did not develop.

The good news for adults who did not develop this centered sense of self, is that working with a therapist can help create it. By developing a scenario in which hurt and disappointment play out and then are worked through, the therapy patient eventually internalizes a dialogue that is both self-consoling and rooted in reality.

West Bloomfield Therapist – Anger Management
Telehealth / Telemedicine Video Appointments Available

If you can take a step back and see that you are meeting life’s obstacles, frustrations and disappointments with withdrawal, crying, desperation, or lashing out – instead of coping successfully – you may be experiencing “adult temper tantrums.” I am an experienced therapist who can help you learn the coping tools that you did acquire as a child. It is never too late! I am available to talk to you via video chat – and insurance companies are typically very good about covering this type of treatment.

I am an experienced therapist in West Bloomfield, Michigan – and I am here to help you. With a warm, thoughtful, supportive and caring approach I will be happy to work with you to help develop successful adult coping mechanisms, so you can truly live a happy and productive life.

Talk to a Telehealth / Telemedicine Therapist About Anger Management:  248-476-4515

Victoria Schreiber

Thank you for visiting my blog, where I will post articles I have written to help you and/or your children understand yourselves better, form healthier relationships, and live a happier and more productive life.

Psychotherapist West Bloomfield