My 8 Year Old Daughter Is Having Tantrums Still.

Updated on January 25, 2010
K.G. asks from Orlando, FL
17 answers

My 8 year old daughter is a very intense child. If something does not go away she has a total violent tantrum. Yelling, screaming, throwing things, slamming doors. Her face gets bright red and I can't do anything to calm her down. No matter what I do or don't do the tantrum excalates. She only does this with my husband and I. She is a great student and friend to all. I've read book after book. We've talked about the feeling with her after. She says it feels like rain, then a storm, when its bad there is lightening. We have 3 other children who see this DAILY. I am worried. She is such a good kid, she is the oldest and has always seems mature for her age. She can not seem to control her anger. I don't want to punish her in a way that she becomes afraid of us. Any suggestions would be great!

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answers from Jacksonville on

Have you tried John Rosemonds books? He is AWESOME. You could google him and he has a website and you could also ask him what to do and he will reply to you...

I hope this helps,



answers from Panama City on


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answers from Jacksonville on

I don't want to get to "into" this but here's maybe a different take.
I am now a mother of a 2 year old and I'm almost 30.

But when I was younger, from as young as I can remember I knew something was off. I didn't know what, but something. I had the temper of an adult along with the sweetness of candy. I was always very good in school and Girl Scouts and my friends parents thought I was the best kid. But at home my temper would always get the best of me. I had no patients and I would get angry and cry A LOT. I did have other problems that my parents didn't know about, but this they saw first hand.
When I was a teen things changed very quickly, it seemed like the problems were still there, they just morphed as I grew. This continued all my life.
The first of this year I finally decieded to do something about it. After talking with my husband, I went to see a doctor. It was the best decision I've ever made. I see a therapist and I'm on meds now.
I now know what's "wrong" with me and I am learning how to control it. I AM NOT SAYING YOUR CHILD HAS MY PROBLEM OR NEEDS THERAPY!!!! I read my posts from mamasource every day and this is the second time I've actually replied. I didn it b/c the one thing I thought this whole year and I'm actually having trouble getting over is one question....Why didn't my parents take me to see someone when I was little??? My life would be SO different now. I just can't help thinking, they had to know something was wrong. It wasn't the "norm" to behave this way and they didn't address it. Other than spanking and timeouts and grounding and all kinds of punishments family and friends told them to try. FOR ME, this just made me keep more inside, which made it worse.
So, I say this as a child, IF all the other advise doesn't work and you can't do it alone, seek medical help. It's okay to talk to a doctor, even kids. Don't worry about being "branded" or anything like that, remember, it's better for a person, no matter how young to deal with it and find the root of the problem.
Again, I don't mean to be upsetting to anyone! Like I said, if all else fails......



answers from Gainesville on

You might want to try "What to Do When Your Tember Flares" by Dawn Huebner, PH.D.
It is a workbook that you two can do together. Her books are very good. I have used several of them and highly recommend them. She has a way of writing the way kids can understand. For example, she starts by saying, "Have you ever driven a car?" to drawing yourself driving your dream car, explaining how you have to work at keeping in control of the our bodies are like cars and we need to keep control of them.
I recommend reading them in the daytime. Don't try to read the whole thing in a day with them. It takes time. All of the exercises help and build on what you know. She gives many strategies for controlling anger.



answers from Orlando on

Read "Tears and Tantrums" by Aletha Solter. You need to teach her that anger is okay, but the way she is expressing it is not. Obviously she has not learned the appropriate expression of anger and frustration. I don't think she needs to be punished (I believe in a non-punitive form of discipline), she needs consequences. Your daughter doesn't know how to handle the powerful emotions she is feeling and doesn't deserved to be punished for something she doesn't know. Would you punish a child for not being able to read before she is taught to read?!?!

You have to look at how you and the rest of your family express frustration and anger. What is she learning from you? Also, you need to insure that she and everyone around her is safe from harm when she tantrums. Most of the time we punish children for getting angry because their strong emotions make us uncomfortable. The best thing you can do is not intervene when she is emotionally out of control, unless she's hurting herself, someone else, or property. Once she is calmed, lovingingly and calmly discuss what she was feeling with her and help her understand that her feelings are okay, but the way she is expressing them is not. Help her process her emotions. It's possible that the little issues may be triggering some feelings about larger issues in her life. Please read the Solter book. It will all make so much more sense.

OH, and be careful about reinforcing her behavior by giving it positive or negative attention. Be very aware of this. YOu may be inadvertantly reinforcing her behavior either by getting angry with her when she rages, or by giving in sometimes (intermittent reinforcement is very powerful).



answers from Jacksonville on

it sounds like your daughter does well most of the time, a good student, friend.....being the oldest of four may indeed make her appear more mature but the fact is that she is still little. keeping her emotions in check most of the time and finally being able to release her emotions in the safety of her own parents. this is a compliment to you as she knows that you are the only ones that she can act out in front of and still be loved!! it is far better that she is doing this with only you and not at school or in public. now for the hard part...helping her get past the behavior. discussion as you have done are great...maybe even have her draw a picture of the "creature" that takes over when she is out of control...even try giving it a name. let her know that you feel that way too sometimes and it is normal to have all of those feelings. after validating the feelings, let her know that she has to get control and act in an appropriate manner. that she may not have a tantrum in front of her siblings as it is scarey for them. perhaps having her go to her room or a private place to have her tantrum. eventually she will feel it coming, be able to go somewhere private, and not disturb the family. as long as she is not destructive to the household let her have the tantrum...she will eventually just go and realize that she does not need to any more. deep breaths always help!! do not yell at her and do not let her get you and your husband angry...staying calm is the key to her getting over this. over the next few years she will be able to eliminate the behavior entirely....but remember that she keeps a lot in check to be a good little girl the rest of the time and does need to vent some frustration...have her crumple up paper and throw it hard, or scream into her pillow and exercise in an unstructured way.too much structure will make matters worse.



answers from Jacksonville on

My daughter (just turned 8) started acting out about a year ago. She would get angry, but doesn't sound as severe. Her biggest reaction would be to cry, and break down. She had never been sensitive prior to this. I talked with some friends who have older daughters, and they say that around 7-8 their daughters had "emotional changes" for a while, then it finally stopped. Now my daughter is back to her old self-after about 9 months. I personally think it is hormone related. Girls are maturing so much faster nowadays. Thankfully she has shown no bodily signs of puberty.
It sounds like you and your husband are being supportive of her, and that she feels safe enough to talk about her actions afterwards. Maybe you can recomend she step outside and scream when she feels angry. That way she can still express herself, without the added frustration of trying to "keep it together" Her feelings are very real to her, and she may be having trouble expressing it is an appropriate way. If she doesn't have a tantrum in public then it seems like she knows that it isn't acceptable, but she may have to let it out in the privacy of your home. Best wishes!



answers from Tallahassee on

Even though she is 8, maybe hormones are starting to affect her emotions. I remember when I was a teenager, I would get blinded with rage especially with my parents. Today I really think it was a feeling of being trapped since we lived in the country away from friends. It was almost like I got claustrophobic and anything and everything my parents said/did pissed me off. With all that being said, maybe she needs an outlet for all of her energy. She's the oldest child and as you said mature for her age, so there are a lot of different identities she might be trying to balance. The original baby, the older sibling, maturing faster than she can keep up with, etc. Maybe an activity that is high energy and something she can hold onto as an identity to help her grow in the future. (horseback riding, sports, dance, gymnastics, etc) good luck~



answers from Jacksonville on

My daughter is 6 and has the worse whiny tantrums. She too is an excellent student and everyone else thinks she is a saint. But if she wants to do something after we say NO then she will tend to pout.whine.scream.

One thing that would set her off was: when playing with family/friends and we had to leave she would have a tantrum because she didn't want to leave them. The solution was to give her a 10min warning. When we started it, we told her..."""okay I'll give you 10 min to finish playing THEN we are leaving. i don't want to hear any crying or fusshing OR you will go home/go straight to bed. Do you want to go straight to bed?""" She said no. The warning gives her time to get ready to leave. Surprisingly it worked. At times we have to remind her of the consequences if she tries to have a tantrum.

Another thing that can set her off is if she has her "heart" set of doing this or that. If there isn't enough time to fit it in her schedule she will have a tantrum. TO combat that problem, we send her to her room when she has tantrums so we won't have to see it.

I personally see nothing wrong with a child having a tiny amount of fear of their parent. There is nothing wrong with "fear of getting in trouble". Heck, it kept me out of trouble when I was kid/teen.

I suggest finding creative ways to deal with her. Right now you are feeding the bad behavior by paying her attention. My daughter hates it when we send her to her room. In fact, the tantrums gets worse...she thinks that it will somehow help her cause...but it doesn't. We continue to ignore her. I tell her that she is not allowed to come out until it is over and she can apologize (correctly) for her behavior. you may have to do the same or your daughter will get worse.

We are seeing much better results and our daughter still has a way to go.

Keep in mind that most kids tantrums are such because they can be.

As you discipline her, you may see an escalation in tantrums in the short term because she will TEST YOUR resolve and see if you can really do what you say you will.

She is a child and needs discipline or "punishment" if she does wrong things. But also praise her when she behaves or when she doesn't have a tantrum to something that use to set her off.

I always tell my daughter when she handles something with words and not tantrums. Praising her behavior.

Thank God for patience.

I know what you are going thru!!! Hand in there.

She knows what buttons to push and she is pushing them. Don't let her. IT may get worse before it gets better but it will get better.

If you have more questions about what we did for our daughter/doing for my daughter please let me know.

You can also email me @ [email protected]



answers from Ocala on

i think you need to talk to her pediatrician about this tell her what you just wrote in here what she says it feels like to her. may have some other problems that the doctor can pin point early on and get her the help she needs. good luck. sorry i do not have more for you.



answers from Washington DC on

wow, I'm shocked at the feedback you have received to this question. I entirely agree with KZ: Punishment, so called "tough love", medication, reward systems, as a reaction, are so completely wrong/medieval, I wonder if these are bored 14 year-olds playing a joke on you. If they aren't, I really feel sorry for their own children.

That your 8 year-old does this to you is not a sign that you give them too much unnecessary attention, but that your child feels free around you. That is a good thing!!! And be comforted by that.

I have a very intense little girl as well. When she is happy, she is extatic. When she is sad, the world breaks apart. When she is playing, she disappears in her own world. When she loves, she is drunk with love. This is also a good thing. It is a sign that she is experiencing the world in all its extremes. Perhaps your child is similar?

Yes, my girl has a problem with anger as well. Btw, don'T we all? Dealing with your feelsing, e.g. Anger management, is not something most parents teach -- and as we see from the posts in this forum, punishment and supression seems still to be a common parental technique. very sad. scary in fact.

Your child needs to learn how to recognize situtations that make her escalate. And she needs to know where she can go, and what she can do, when she sees it coming. You can tell her, that tantrums are not socially acceptable. This is fine. This is not punishment, this is called being a friend. She has to learn the consequences of her behaviour. She isn't a dog, that responds to conditioning.

When my girl screams, I cover my ears. I tell her that I can'T hear her, because she is so loud that my ears hurt. If I don't replace it. The consequence she learns: she cannot be heard.

If she breaks something, the consequence is: it's broken. gone. Mom might be mad and not feel like playing a game because she is dealing with her own anger.

If she hurts another chld, the consequence is: negative feedback from peers and teachers, possibly more serious legal consequences.

Slowly, she will begin to understand. She will see it too with younger children. Main thing:_ love her, and never let her get the idea that she is somehow disturbed or sick.

best of luck,

most sincerely,




answers from Orlando on

At 8, we had our second child evaluated by a psychologist, who then recommended us to a occupational therapist. Our son had trouble controlling his rage (among other things) . He would say it was like something took over his body (which scared me to death) He would say he knew it was wrong but he couldn't help it. Occupational therapy helped him deal with his rage in a physical manner, how to work it out of his system, and how to control it. It cost us but it was the best thing we ever did.
Help her help herself. The worst part is their own self-esteem. They know something is wrong. You don't want this to affect the rest of their life.



answers from Panama City on

One, have her checked for ADD or ADHD or another behavioral issue. Anger issues are often related to this.
Two, what kind of consequences does she get when this occurs? She needs to see the drawback of "loosing it". Maybe no playing with friends, no going on outings, no tv, video games, phone, etc. Ignore her and take all of the kids out of the house when she does it. Let her stay by herself while she is acting out. Let her know that you will not be frustrated by her actions and that the other kids will get to go outside and have time with mom and dad, but she will not since she has chosen to pitch a fit.
Also, the next time you see her begin to work herself up, throw in a distraction such as, "before you pitch your fit, just remember that you will lost this priveledge..."
Or you could say something like, "do you smell oranges? I smell oranges...Can you see if there are some oranges around here?" I know this sounds crazy, but I used to use it in a run away shelter that I worked at and it really worked. Kids would be starting a fight or going off and when you throw in something absurd, they tend to temporarily forget what they were doing. That gives you just enough time to change the subject.
Take Care,



answers from Orlando on

The fact that she is only doing this with you and your husband should be a clear sign that this is a discipline (and not emotional issues).
Don't be afraid of her or what she might think--she should be "scared" of her consequences as long as you are calm (showing her the way to deal with situations) and follow through with predetermined non-violent consequences, you should not be concerned with her feelings. You are the parent and in charge and she needs to understand this.

The absolute key to stopping the tantrums is to not give ANY positive reinforcement. No bargaining, no special attention (good or bad)--she has to learn that behaving that way is not acceptable--and has CONSEQUENCES.
Set up these consequences ahead of of time--and stick to them. She is not too old for a time out--8 minutes of "reflecting." (until she can apologize for her behavior to everyone involved). She should also have to take responsibility for her tantrum which includes apologizing to all people involved and any items that may have gotten in the way-- which includes cleaning up her messes. On top of that if she is destructive to her own things--take those things away. IF she is destructive to others things--then she needs to "replace" those things with items of her own.
At 8, this behavior did not happen overnight and will not go away overnight. You HAVE to remain consistent and strong and NEVER give in. You are in charge and that behavior is not acceptable. I know you said you've read a lot, but are you following through, or just giving up after a week? Just because she does it in public doesn't mean that you should behave or respond differently either.

She sounds like a typical "strong-willed" child where methods that work on other kids don't always, artistic, monumentally stubborn? (I was one too)
Check out this book--it will give you a clear plan for handling her
Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child : Eliminating Conflict by Establishing Clear, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries


answers from Fort Walton Beach on

I agree with Peggy.

She seems to have her "anger" controlled at school and with friends. Sounds like she doesn't yell, scream, throw things or slam doors at school or if she visits friends.

It seems that you need to push out some tough love. I think you need to stop worrying about her "feelings" because she isn't worried to much about you, your husband and the kids. The other kids are watching that she is getting extra attention. Stop giving it to her and start disciplining. Make her responsible for her own actions. She will get more abusive the older she gets if you don't act now.

Good luck.



answers from Gainesville on

I would like to disagree with most of the other posts based on personal experience. When I was in 4th grade, so a little older than your daughter, we moved to a new city. I had never had a problem with temper tantrums. After we moved, I started crying a lot and throwing fits where I would throw everything in my room onto the floor, including the furniture. I would even run out into the street and my parents would have to chase me down and carry me home. It resulted from the very difficult transition I had moving to the new city. We ended up moving back home (not because of my tantrums), and I was fine after that.

If my parents had punished me, I would have felt even more lost and upset. I wasn't angry, or trying to be "bad". I was just upset and I didn't know how to handle it. Children are not as mature emotionally as adults are. I think your daughter needs love and understanding. I know I appreciate my parents love and support to this day. And now that I am an adult, I understand how angry THEY must have been, and how difficult that must have been for them.

Good luck, and I hope things resolve for your daughter.



answers from Fort Walton Beach on

Does your daughter eat refined sugar? Both of my children had horrid uncontrollable tantrums. When I got sick and had to cut out sugar, we cut off the whole family. With in the first week there was a noticeable difference and over a year later, they don't happen at all.

It's something that is in lots of foods even canned veggies, but it's simple enough to read labels and buy what doesn't have it. It was a simple fix for our family, maybe it will help yours too.

May God bless your family as you find answers!


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