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Q:

How in the world do you handle 7 yr old meltdowns?

"Nothing goes right: leave me alone, get out of here, I don't want to talk about it, and the screaming. All of a sudden this sweet little girl comes out like this at least once a week really not more then that. She makes it so hard on herself with perfection. She goes into this nightmare tizzy that actually makes her exhausted. Any comments? Any help greatly appreciated."

Asked by Gerry after reading the article, "Ask the Child Psychologist: Refusal to be Alone":
http://www.education.com/magazine/article/refus...
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Oct 22, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

All parents of young children have experienced frustration when their child throws a tantrum.  Some whine, cry, hit, stomp their feet, or throw things.  Your daughter just happens to throw a tizzy and makes herself exhausted.  She's not the only one that does this.

Many parents don't understand why their children sometimes go out of control and that's what leads to most of the frustration.  Almost anything can trigger a child's loss of self-control.  Young children usually act out because they can't tell their parents what's wrong and this frustration boils over into negative behavior.  The only thing they can control is the yelling and stomping.  

Focus on teaching her an alternative to throwing a tizzy.  Pay close attention to the events that lead up to the tantrums.  Is it when she gets told "no," when she's hungry, or has to go to bed?  Once you are able to identify the events that lead up  the tantrum, you can begin to teach an alternative behavior.

Let's say that she begins throw a tizzy when she's told "no."  At a neutral time when you aren't telling her no teach her what to say when you tell her no.  The coversation might sound something like this:  "When mom tells you "no" and you get really mad, take a deep breath and say "I'm MAD," then go get a piece of paper and draw a picture.  

Next, try practicing with her.  Have her ask you a question, then tell her "no."  Remind her what you want her to say then have her repeat it.  Then have her go get a piece of paper and start to draw.  Remember to give her lots of positive praise along the way.  The more you practice, the likelihood that she will actually do it when she's mad, will increase.  After she begins to master this in the home begin to practice this when she's out in public, such as the grocery store.  Instead of having her drawing, have her count to ten in her head.  

It will take some time to change the habit she has formed of throwing a fit, but don't give up.  Through teaching and practicing alternatives, change will come.  

Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000

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Additional Answers (1)

dgraab
dgraab , Parent writes:
Hi Gerry,

I feel your pain! I too have a seven year old who frequently strives for perfection -- often to the point of frustration, whining, tears and 'tizzies'.

Here's a resource I've been reviewing to help with our situation, that may also help with yours:

http://www.education.com/topic/positive-discipline/

Additional resources you might check out:
http://www.education.com/age/middle-years/
http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Ref_Helping_Gifted/

Good luck -- I hope a JustAsk Expert will also chime in with some suggestions for us both!
> 60 days ago

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