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teenage tantrum, how to handle?

(10 Posts)
wigglybeezer Sat 18-Sep-10 18:50:53

DS (12, nearly a teen) has always been prone to tantrums, they have become less frequent over the years but today he regressed and had a public tantrum at an athletics competition as he wanted to leave early to go to a party but DH was helping officiate so couldn't leave. DS had known for two days that he would not be able to leave (incidentally two of his friends were also going to be late as they were at the comp too).

Unfortunately embarrasment and stress due to trying to do two things at once led DH to make two cardinal errors'; he threatened to let DS go to the party, but then took him as he wanted to get away from him and he also effectively gave in to the tantrum by leaving earlier than he intended.

We are discussing what to do next, collect DS early from the party or confiscate his X-box (and Halo Reach!) for the two weeks until half term, he would have to be good until then to get it back.

He will go mad, and I try not to punish after the event usually but he was so awful I don't feel it can be ignored.

Or do we just guilt trip him by telling him how ashamed and hurt we were by his behaviour.


wigglybeezer Sat 18-Sep-10 18:51:57

Sorry, that should be "threatened to NOT take him to the party".

Just13moreyearstogo Sat 18-Sep-10 19:12:27

DS1 (14) read this over my shoulder and wanted to reply so here goes:

Since he was embarrassed that you wouldn't let him go to the party, picking him up early would be the ultimate possible embarrassment. I think confiscation of Xbox plus Halo Reach is the way to go. Since Halo Reach is new all his friends will be talking about it and he will realize the reason he doesn't have it is because he threw the tantrum. Making him apologise might seem a bit much to him if you've also confiscate the Xbox and he might try and get revenge.

wigglybeezer Sat 18-Sep-10 19:22:31

Thank you Just13's DS, that is what it looks like we are going to go for, it will not be pleasant round here tomorrow!

DS somehow manages to control himself at school but has never been able to keep his temper with us, I suppose he cries and shouts in our faces in situations where my friend's kids would slam the door and go off in a sulk, we'd all be able to cool off better if he did that!

whiteflame Sat 18-Sep-10 21:14:11

what a stressful situation for you all wigglybeezer! if this was my DS, what I did next would very much depend on his attitude when he came home. if when i talked to him, he seemed suitably embarrassed, i would probably just leave it with a lecture (unless this is a repeat of recent behaviour). i would do this because sometimes we all lose control, and if i had done this it would be pointless to take something of mine away because i would be embarrassed enough already. i would just resent the taking away.

on the other hand if he's not bothered (i mean really not bothered, not just teenage saving face) then i would go ahead and confiscate.

Hurielle Mon 22-Oct-12 13:24:49

What about my second and younger dd (does this mean daughter?) who will be 15 next month. Since birth, virtually, she has been very good at yelling until she got her own way and is adept at finding absolutely cast iron reasons for groundings to be lifted, or money to be spent on her-and YES it IS easier to give in. I am absolutely, definitely to blame for a lot of how things turned out

Tantrums are a daiy occurrence. They often start out as she panics about things like the cats or the guinea pigs as I will be blamed for not getting them the right sort of food or waking them up or some other such (untrue) thing. Other major causes of fights are that she will have lost something-phone, purse, item of clothing, which inevitablyturns up in her bedroom or where she put it. But instead of looking, she puts all her time and energy into interrogating her older sister and I in a highy dramatic way about why we stole it/touched it/borrowed it/lost it...and, as has always been the case with her, no-one can get a word in edgeways to "reason " with her.

Needless to say she dominates the TV control and woe betide anyone who changes channel without her permission...(we do, but there's always a MAJOR outcry). Our latest fight was because she refused to llisten when I suggested she get her school clothes ready for Monday morning. Of course, this morning at 8.30, they weren't. ETc etc

Outside the house she is a very sweet and nice girl who does well at school. There's no question of drugs, drink, boys etc-and she and I can have interesting discussins about her friends, teachers, books, politics etc

Doies anyone ele have tis CONSTANT pressure -What did I do-and what can I do better in future? I am a single Mum-father left 3.5 years ago

Thanks for reading this far

ZombieB64 Mon 22-Oct-12 17:20:25

I posted this last week,i have name-changed for Halloweengrin) so completly know where you are coming from!
Mine is currently on XBox and computer ban, and can only have his phone for school. His twin is grinning evilly every time the subject comes up, so I know he will soon be stirring, and we have had an example of him in a tantrum as well over the weekend hmm.
Perhaps we should find a bomb proof bunker together??

flow4 Tue 23-Oct-12 22:02:38

wiggly, I think this is a really difficult one. confused This kind of tantrum-ing behaviour is obviously unacceptable, and because they're teens not tots, we expect them to have much more self-control. But actually, IMO teens who tantrum have no more control of it than toddlers do - they literally 'lose it' - they are not doing it deliberately.

Generally, I reckon most of the same 'rules' apply, even when they're a teenager:

Avoid/prevent: be positive; offer choice/control; make sure they have enough sleep and food; watch out for other warning signs; set a good example of good ways to deal with stress...

Damage limitation : stay calm and try and calm them; ignore if possible; distract; don't give in; use 'time outs'...

The big challenge is that you can't use the same tactics with a 13yo. You can't feed them a banana, or put them in their cot for a nap, or hold them, or distract them so easily. grin So teen tantrums can make you feel really out of control. sad

The big advantage is that you can give your teen quite a lot of the responsibility for controlling what happens. You can talk to them about what's happening, and say things like "You're starting to behave badly. What are you going to do about it?" or (afterwards) "Why do you think you lost it today?" You can help them identify what tactics they can use to prevent tantrums. We expect them to have self-control - but IME lots of them have no idea about either how to spot when they are losing it or how to re-gain control if they do - and they might need some help to work it out...

(Incidentally, I think the triggers for teen tantrums are more-or-less the same as the triggers for toddler tantrums: so if you can remember what set your DC off when they were 3, I reckon there will be similar trigger points when they're 13! Hunger has always been a big one for my DS1!)

I'm not at all sure about 'punishment'. If I'm right, and teenagers can't help 'losing it', then not only are punishments unfair, but also they are useless - a bit like punishing a sneeze! I think teenagers who rail against punishments after they have 'lost it' are reacting to this 'unfairness'.

On the other hand, I do think it may be reasonable to 'punish' if a teen loses it, and you've handled it calmly, and reminded them they need to get control of themselves, and you know they could but they don't or won't. Often though, I think embarrassment plus peer disapproval will be enough... Since your DS lost it so publicly, wiggly, I'm pretty sure his peers/friends will let him know what they think of it - and that will probably be worse than anything you can do!

Hurielle, I think you should copy 'n' paste that post and start a new thread... It is (I think) a slightly different situation, and it sounds like you and wiggly both need support, and maybe some different advice. smile

ZombieB64 Thu 25-Oct-12 12:07:19

Hurielle and wiggly- I have started my 2 on the vitamin supplement advised in the thread I posted above, it is called Teensense, not cheap, but it will be worth a try for a month and see what happens.

Hurielle Tue 30-Oct-12 14:34:38

Thankyou all for posting helpful replies. Food and sleep are important things-yet, ironically, also a cause of fights!!
Many people are in the same boat I think-and I will start a new thread-technology permitting.

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