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Family Physician
Family Physician, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 12816
Experience:  GP with over 27 years experience including emergency medicine
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, I have a son who is just turned 8 years old, in general

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Hi, I have a son who is just turned 8 years old, in general he is a lovely boy, but is having quite bad tantrums where he is screaming loud and calling his mummy bad things like fat mammy (which she isnt she is slim) he is fine after he calms down but this can last for 20/30 mins, can you recommend a book we can buy to help us.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Family Physician replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question:

First of all - you are NOT alone. Outbursts at this age are not uncommon. Children of this age have brains that are still developing. Here are several articles that may be of interest to you:
http://www.oregonlive.com/kiddo/index.ssf/2013/08/tween_temper_tantrums_how_to_h.html

http://www.seattletimes.com/health/the-biology-behind-teens-temper-tantrums/

One of the most important approaches to these outbursts is to establish clear, concise and CONSISTENT rules. These rules should be established as a family well in advance, when everyone is more "rational". Consequences should be established and they should be rational, realistic and enforceable. Screaming, yelling and throwing things should never result in changes to the previously established and agreed upon consequences.

By realistic I mean, grounding a child for an extended period of time (weeks or months) is not going to be effective - it is well beyond their "attention span". It is also very likely that the long punishment ultimately gets modified by one of the parents. This leads to a behavior pattern where the parent makes a threat (often unrealistic) of punishment in the heat of the moment, and then reconsiders giving the child the sense of power and control. The threats are percieved as hollow, and the child ends up maniupulating the situation often making the parents feel guilty. It is a bit like a 2 year prison term for a minor traffic violation (speeding or failing to stop at a signal light), which ultimately overturned on appeal to a small fine. Is it not better to establish the actualy punishment of a the small fine initially? Make sure that the "punishment fits the crime".

By having a pre-defined set of rules with clear and concise consequences to their actions, parents and childen can often come to a more reasonable and less confrontational set of limits.
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