New Issue!

Spring 2017 Issue ADDitude magazine Read the 'ADHD Therapies That Work' issue now!

The New ADDitude Forums Are Live!

Reach our full community by posting to ADDitude's discussion forums here

Parents of ADHD Children


My child is ADHD and throws Awful Tantrums.  What are some suggestions to help her?


Sorry to hear that you are struggling with this. The best tip that I have learned is to stay calm, they need us to be their rock when everything feels out of control. I have also learned with my son to talk him through it when possible. Sometimes you just need to give them space and have them cool down somewhere and then discuss it. We have also worked with him on ways to tell when he is getting upset and how to calm himself down. He was having trouble in school because they could not calm him down when he was upset so we sent him to a psychologist and he gave my son some great suggestions and helped him to understand what the triggers are for his anger so he can watch for it himself. He is 12 now and doing great!

Posted by Ry'sMom on Jul 08, 2014 at 12:13pm

I agree with Ry’s Mom.  Stay calm!  It can be the most difficult thing to do.  I have walked away, if my child is safe, and let him finish his tantrum. Do not give in to it!  Since my son has gotten older, he is now almost 9, I send him to his room, or I go to my room and close the door.  Once he has calmed down, we talk about what happened.

You don’t say how old your daughter is, but I can tell you, as my son has gotten older, the tantrums are few and far between.  His triggers are typically hunger and being tired.

Posted by cmullen17 on Jul 08, 2014 at 1:59pm

Before it exculates into a full blown tantrum we go over ways to calm down such as using his punching bag, breathing techniques, or counting.

Posted by mdasch on Jul 08, 2014 at 3:41pm

There is a distinctive difference between a tantrum and a meltdown. A tantrum is a controlled fit the child uses to get what they want—they can turn it off and on like a light switch. A meltdown is a “fit” that spirals out of the child’s control, often seen with kids on the spectrum, including kids with ADHD. A meltdown doesn’t stop when a child gets what they want. Often, a child is not mindful of getting hurt or hurting others during a meltdown either.

There are strategies to cope with meltdowns and to reduce their instances. As others said, staying calm is key! If you get riled up you are just feeding the cycle and dragging it out longer.

My son’s triggers are frustration and super-charged emotional sensitivity. It will help you reduce meltdowns to determine your child’s triggers and be mindful of them.

There are more strategies in the following articles on tantrums and meltdowns too:

I suggest reading Ross Greene’s “The Explosive Child.” This is addressed and he has a method of addressing inflexibility that is very effective.

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jul 08, 2014 at 5:24pm

I also recommend “The Explosive Child” by Ross Greene. I took a parenting class based on Greene’s philosophy. It’s a time investment, but there is a great payoff. I also agree about finding the triggers. Every parenting class I’ve taken on behavior (and there have been lots of them) starts with identifying the trigger, or antecedent.

I don’t talk to my son when he’s melting down, except to say “I’ll talk to you when you’ve calmed down.” If your daughter is getting physically aggressive with you, have a pediatric specialist who really knows about these problems show you a safe way to hold her until she calms down.

Here’s a link to Dr. Greene’s web site:

Good luck!

Posted by Samax on Jul 08, 2014 at 9:37pm

My son is ADHD and has huge anger issues…He has no patience! He was just diagnosed last year. I have no clue what I am doing…I try to let him know that I am here for him and I try to get on his level. I have tried to talk to him about this, he is 12 and has extremely poor communication skills.  What to do?

Posted by Android on Jul 09, 2014 at 3:25pm

Join the New ADDitude Forums

ADDConnect is shutting down on July 31.
To continue sharing and receiving support from the ADDitude community, visit our new discussion forums.

Search the ADDConnect Group Discussions