Parents: Dealing with Tantrums and Meltdowns? – How to Know It’s Time to Get Help

As any parent knows, tantrums and meltdowns are just an unfortunate part of life when you have young children. 

Even the most well-behaved children can’t help but throw a tantrum every once in a while. It’s considered to be a completely normal aspect of child development. 

Although every parent deals with the occasional tantrums and meltdowns with their kids, some children exhibit more behavioral issues than others. Some children exhibit frequent tantrums and meltdowns long after toddler-hood. It’s only natural that their parents will start to wonder whether or not the problem goes beyond standard tantrums and fits, and whether the tantrums are no longer age-appropriate. 

Concerned about your child’s tantrums? It’s okay—you’re not the only one. Here are a few signs that you may want to seek professional help.

Physical Danger

If your child’s tantrums and meltdowns ever pose a physical danger to themselves or others, it’s time to talk to a therapist. 

Does your child try to hit you when you attempt to calm them down or discipline them? Do they bite or scratch their siblings when they get angry or upset? Do they have a habit of throwing and breaking things when they’re worked up? 

If so, it’s best to address this behavior with a professional as soon as possible. 

Severity and Consistency

When do tantrums cross the line from “normal” to “serious problem?” The severity and consistency of the tantrums are major indicators. 

For example, if your child’s tantrums are so frequent that it is difficult for them to get through a day without having a meltdown, you might have cause for concern. Dramatic tantrums on a near-daily basis can make it difficult for you and your child to live your lives and stick with healthy routines. 

Developmental Milestones

Got a tantrum-toddler child on your hands? You might just have to play the waiting game and bide your time until this phase passes. Unfortunately for parents with toddlers, tantrums are just par for the course at this age. 

But behavior that is considered standard for a three-year-old wouldn’t be seen as healthy for an eight-year-old. If your child is well past the toddler years and still throwing similar tantrums regularly, it may be time to ask yourself—and a therapist—if there could be any underlying issues that are influencing this behavior. 

Impeding Social Relationships

Children need to socialize with other kids their age. From the classroom to the playground, learning the “rules” of social engagement, how to share and play nicely with others, and how to form lasting bonds with friends is crucial for healthy childhood development. 

But if a child can’t help but throw tantrums whenever they feel uncomfortable or don’t get what they want, it can easily become an obstacle to making friends and establishing healthy social relationships. 

Do you suspect that your child is having trouble making friends because of tantrums? It’s probably an indicator that therapy might be necessary. 

Ineffective Coping Strategies

Perhaps your child has been throwing severe tantrums for a while. You’ve been doing everything you can to help regulate their behavior. But even after you’ve tried every trick in the book, you still feel like your child’s tantrums are completely out of your control, and none of the coping strategies you’ve attempted have done much good. 

This does not mean that you have failed to do your job as a parent. If this sounds like your situation, working with a therapist can help you and your child turn things around. 

Located in the San Diego area? San Diego therapists can assist you on the path to a better relationship with your child. 

Are you asking yourself if your child’s tantrums are cause for concern? Contact us today to discuss family therapy. Or, visit here to learn more about our services.