Strategies for Parents to Deal with a Meltdown

A tantrum is an outburst

A tantrum, on the other hand, is an outburst. It occurs when a child is trying to get something that he or she wants. Some children with learning and attention issues are more susceptible to throwing tantrums. They may get angry or frustrated very quickly. While crying, yelling or lashing out is not a suitable way for them to express their feelings, they do it for a reason. And they have some control over their behavior. “Even if it only works five out of 10 times that they tantrum, that intermittent reinforcement makes it a very solid learned behavior. So, they’re going to continue that behavior in order to get what they want” said Dr. Vasco Lopes, a clinical psychologist.

Your child may even stop in the midst of a tantrum to make sure that you are paying attention to them. When they notice that you are watching, they may pick up where they left off. Your child’s tantrum is likely to subside when they get what they want – or when they realize that they will not get what they want by lashing out.