Why You Can’t Discipline the “Angry” Out of Your Child

I should spank my angry child, you say? A good old fashioned whoopin‘ would take that anger right out of him, right? Oh really, you think if I just reared him up right and taught him how to be respectful, all would be good in the world. Well, while I thank you all for your opinions on the best way to raise my child with emotional disabilities, I kindly disagree. I am sorry, I simply can’t spank the “angry child” out of my child! Believe me, I have tried.

angry child

First off, I want to say I had another post planned but I feel I need to get something off my chest. I need to clear the air.

You see, I have an ANGRY CHILD! I write about it often, and my post on ways to calm an angry child continues to spiral out of control. Every time I see a spike in pageviews, I also see a huge spike in comments.

I want to start by saying there are wonderful and heart warming comments and emails in large numbers. They tell me its so nice to not feel so alone. They tell me since reading my posts on my angry child, they have learned ways to help theirs. They tag friends, and they share by the thousands.

Then there’s the other side. The side that caused me to blame myself for so long as a parent. The side the makes me second guess my current strategies even when I know there is merit to them. Normally, the pages they comment on delete them. Sometimes they get responded to. This time, the comments were no different, so  many people “helping” by providing their ideals on the best way to manage an angry child… “spank them”.

So many times when I see the mention of spanking and disciplining, I avoid the comment like the plague. You see, I’m not trying to ruffle any feathers. I am not trying to tell anyone how to parent. Heck, I barely have this thing figured out myself. Honestly, you parent your way and I’ll parent mine. However, I realized today that there is an even larger picture, something I think needs to be addressed.

Whether you are for or against spanking, I want my message to be heard. This post is not against spanking. That is for another day and another post. Maybe even a totally different site all together. Instead, I need you to know something about my child. My Angry Child!

I Can’t Spank the Angry Child Out of Him

My son is now 9 years old. That is 9 long years of lots of trying times. I love him dearly, I do but parenting him has been hard. From as long as I can remember, he has been challenging. I have spent countless hours reading the books, researching tips, going to education in-services, and trying new things. I have spent years blaming myself for his behavior and his attitudes. I can’t even count how many times I have uttered the words “What am I doing wrong?”

I have set limits.

I have set expectations.

I have been consistant.

I have tried whispering.

I have tried yelling.

I have tried screaming.

I have tried punishments.

I have tried rewards.

I have tried bribery.

I have tried groundings.

I have tried bedtime with no dinner.

I have taken away toys.

I have taken away electronics.

I have canceled playdates.

I have canceled birthday parties.

I have tried time outs.


I have tried spankings.

You see, I have tried it all! I have tried all my teacher tricks. I have tried all the parenting tricks. Nothing seemed to work. Nothing. No matter how many people told me “if you just…” things didn’t change. They didn’t change until I started to understand my angry child just a little more.

Why is My Angry Child So Angry?

My Child Is Not Giving me a Hard Time Quote


About 1 year ago, I was at my wits end. I was done. We had tried it all. Our son was struggling everywhere. He was having a hard time at school. He was having a hard time at home. He was having a hard time everywhere! That’s when we started to dig a little deeper and think that this wasn’t just a phase or something we could spank out of him.

After tons of doctor’s appointments, neuropsych exams, charts, and surveys we learned that our son was suffering from a few things that were causing his outbursts. He has what is known as Sensory Processing Disorder . Because of this, he also struggles with Dysregulated Moods and Anxiety. No amount of spanking him is ever going to get him the help he needs.

That is why I am writing this post. It needs to be said. Often times when a child is exhibiting angry behavior, meltdowns or tantrums it is not because they are showing you who’s boss. It is not because they are being defiant. Often times there is a root cause. It could be a communication error, it could be a power struggle, it could be attention seeking, or it could be something more serious.

There it is, folks. That is my response to all of you that think I should just spank the angry out of my child. My short response… I can’t. My long response… maybe you shouldn’t either. Maybe I can help you find resources for the struggles you are having that might be more effective than spanking your child. Maybe not. At least I am trying to spread awareness.

Resources to Use Instead of Spanking Your Angry Child

So now what? I got you here. You are either nodding your head because you understand where I am coming from and you need more resources…


You are furious. You think I am stupid and have no right telling other people how to parent. You wouldn’t be the first to tell me this. You think what I am saying is for the birds and “sensory only happens when parents get involved”. If this is you, I want to leave you with a few more resources that might or might not give you a little more help with your angry child. (in case you are open to it)

Handling Meltdowns and Tantrums | Child Mind Institute

Tips to Staying Calm When Your Kids Are Not | Janet Lansbury

What is Spanking? | Not Just Cute

“Its How I Was Raised and Other Reasons People Spank| Not Just Cute

Why Spanking Doesn’t Work | Dr. Phil

Spanking the Grey Matter Out of Our Kids | CNN Health

Follow Dayna :: Lemon Lime Adventures’s board Calming Anxious or Explosive Kids on Pinterest.

No matter what side you are on, I hope the next time you see a post come across your feed about an angry child, or you are at the store and see a child losing their cool, that you pause for just a second before thinking “they just need a good spanking”. Disability or not, spanking just might not be the right answer.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this! I am a tad nervous to hit the publish button and hope you will be kind and respectful as you share your thoughts with me and with others.

I am excited and nervous to hear your thoughts. I can’t wait to see! Connect with me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestInstagram or subscribe by email so you don’t miss our next adventure.

More Adventures Parenting an Angry Child

Parenting an Angry Child top 10 Angry Child Sensory Hacks Open Letter to the Teacher of That Kid

Join 10,000+ parents for this Masterclass: 5 Little-Known Mistakes Parents Make When Handling Meltdowns (and what to do instead)

Here’s what you’ll discover:
➡️  5 Myths for handling meltdowns -- See why common advice like “be consistent,” “set firm boundaries,” “use consequences,” and “connect more” can make the meltdowns worse -- and what to do instead
➡️  How to eliminate meltdowns, tantrums, and outbursts using the YOU-CUE (you’ll raise a happy, confident child with the skills to self-regulate and solve problems)
➡️  How to create a calm, peaceful home where everyone enjoys being together using the Magic Reset Button (if you’ve tried “connecting more” yet your family still can’t stand being around each other, you’ll love this)

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What you learn is proven over 8 years with 3,000+ parents -- including those whose kids have ADHD, ASD, ODD, SPD, and every other label under the sun.

160 thoughts on “Why You Can’t Discipline the “Angry” Out of Your Child”

  1. Kristen Grove

    thank you for this post!

    1. Agnes Taub

      I am formerly a professional governess, went on to get my masters, and am now a widow and the mother of one child with mild disabilities.

      I grew up being spanked. My parents grew up in alcoholic households with working class parents. I woke up early on, vowed to never beat my own children when I grew up. And I never have.

      My parents had trouble regulating their own emotions. They were emotionally like children themselves. They’d been unknowingly neglected and abused growing up.

      None of the upper class children I worked with, during my practicing or on the job, were ever spanked. It was unthinkable. For generations, no one from these well educated affluent families ever had been. They grew up and turned out fine – without the anger issues and emotional management problems.

      My daughter has trouble regulating her emotions at times. Had I beaten and disrespected her and demeaned her, the anger and resentment would only have brewed and burrowed inward, eroded her impulse checks and self esteem. She would become the type of in d who is either too passive or too explosive, a magnet for bullies or a bully herself.

      I know because I was an introverted child with a dark streak due to internalizing years of verbal, psychological, physical, and economic abuse. I know how it happens because I made a point to remember the injustice. I was trapped down a well, helpless and hopeless with no way out. But I was smart and saw the light above. Reason has been my salvation. I recognized early on what was wrong, and I knew what was right, and I set out to fix it.

      I stood up for myself – of course that meant more cruelty. I was prepared and ready to die. I dug my heels in. They could not convince me otherwise. And they never did. I tried to educate my parents. I threatened to report them. I served as a human shield and let them hit me instead of my little sister. That is a horrible memory. We rarely speak. I left and never looked back.

      I am raising my child alone in a child centered environment. I have profound empathy and compassion. I try to get into her shoes, see her point of view. I work to pay for her private tutor, private classroom aide so she can socialize with typical kids. We’ve seen all the specialists. She will have mild disabilities for life. She is loved, well provided for. I want her to be extremely selfish and put herself first in life, since that was stripped from me as a child. I want her to know what it feels like to be completely loved, to have hugs, to be listened to, since that never existed at home for me. She will not be the scapegoat for my pain, but the excuse to heal myself by being a good parent and making everything right with the world. I teach her empathy, the other persons point of view, how underprivileged children suffer. I want her to see the light along with the shadows. And she is never alone.

      Have the courage to stand alone, if necessary to die alone. If you stand for nothing, then life was nothing. If you have no arrow wounds in your back, you were not a good leader. Your convections and experiences are spot on. Stick to your guns. And have love and compassion for those without the ability or capacity to see the light above. And have faith and hope that someday someone will be the beam of light that triggers an “Aha!” or an “Ooooh.” Be and live the change you believe in. If you change one generation by being a good parent, you have changed the next ten for the better! It’s never about you, and it’s always about the generations you leave behind.

      Every fool is entitled to his poor opinion, including myself.

      1. Julie

        Thankyou, I have a 9 year old who struggles always did off and on in school but for the last part of last school year and now this new one…omg I get daily calls to either pick him up or just to fill me in on what he’s doing, getting frustrated kicking chairs refusing to participate, I have him in counseling isn’t helping I’m at my wits end I’ve tried rewarding, punishment taking his things nothing will motivate him to behave at school

      2. Jen

        I use to believe spanking was the way to punish until I adopted a child. Their behaviors were destructive and nothing worked like what my parents used on me. I now know that inside the child there are more things going on. They feel this anxiety that can’t be explained and the only way they knew how to express it was outward behavior.
        I’ve learned to change myself in how I approach my child in a more emotional way so my child knows I’m not a threat. I have learned that my parents were not emotional with me and that is what I needed as a child, not the wrath of God barreling down on my backside. I heard so many times “spare the rod, spoil the child” but honestly, that isn’t the way to go about things, it just shows we ourselves aren’t comfortable in getting in tune with our kids emotions so we pull out the hand instead of pulling out our emotions and try to get level with our kid in a calm way.
        Asking them questions, causing them to think of why they are angry, helps us as parent better understand our kids. They feel heard not punished for having feelings.
        I appreciate the article and your words. Thank you for speaking out how to help our children be the best they can be in their emotional time and solve their emotions in a healthy way. You are greatly appreciated.

  2. You are a brave soul for leaving comments open on this one! I applaud you, and I hope that people who need this post find it 🙂

  3. You are the best mama for your kids! Changing your thinking is hard, and some folks react to new ideas by lashing out at the messenger. Not unlike a tantruming child! Thank you for this post.

  4. Deb

    I am new to this but want to learn. I have a 3 ye old grandson who is very tall for his age and very active. He stays with me during the day and until 9 months ago he could be a handful but was lovable. When his brother was born he became defiant , hostile, acting out in preschool and the smallest things sends him into screaming fits.
    I love him but I just don’t know what to do .

    1. Very brave Dana and I applaud you for your honesty. A great post that will benefits many parents. I will be sharing for sure!

    2. Sarah

      Saw you post. Sorry you are all struggling. It sounds like your grandson is reacting to the situation and BIG emotions. I would spend as much time as you can and reconnect. Ahaparenting has some great ideas.

    3. Melissa

      Hi Deb, we went through this last winter with my oldest, I have 3 kids, when my youngest was born. I went to family counseling, she suggested ADHD!! I broke up with that therapist and figured out what my daughter needed was one on one time with Mommy. Not drugs but just some time alone with me and me alone! I read a great book called “if I have to tell you one more time” by Amy McCready. Good luck

  5. Diane

    this is a wonderful piece. So many people don’t understand or don’t believe in the issues you have with your (I have them with mine, along with other issues.) the world would be a much happier place if others stopped judging. Thank you for writing what many of us wish we could have said as eloquently as you did here.

  6. Adam Wood

    …Or it might be that parents accept a diagnosis because they can’t figure out what to do with a misbehaving child. The problem is that diagnoses like that which you have described have gotten neither parents nor children anywhere. I challenge the readers to seriously consider how much more prevalent temper tantrums, mouthing-off, screaming and the like are as time goes on. This brand of parenting, encouraged by the reassurance of psychology, just isn’t working. The kids are no better for it, and it is upon the kids that the negative effects will be seen! It also marginalizes the moral wrong of temper tantrums and disrespect, relegating them to an illness instead.
    I can fully understand the annoyance with the one-liner “just whip it out of ’em!” because it gives a silver bullet approach to parenting, which also does not work. In addition to proper spankings the parent must step up and *parent* through obvious love, unending patience and seeking the long-term welfare of the child, and not just hope for a diagnosis that relieves the parents of responsibility for a out-of-control child, and makes the parents feel good about themselves. Furthermore, by the same diagnosis an excuse is found to allow the child to *continue* in the same self-destructive behavior!! These are our kids!
    I know, I know. All the doctors and scientists say this and that. I say just look at the fruit of their theories. Our kids are in the balance.
    From a father of 6.

    1. Ann

      A diagnosis does not get parents out of anything! It might be a short term “relief” to know what is going on, but it begins a long journey into helping your child. Sensory processing issues are the real deal. Until you live with it, it looks like nothing. And it’s totally different than a child just misbehaving or being defiant.

      And yes, spanking a child who is trying to deal with overstimulation coupled by frustration is not gonna help the child. All it might do is relieve a parents frustration for a second.

    2. Erika

      With all do respect, sir, if it were the case for all children and that easy, then the parenting you speak of would be enough and successful from the get go. I am very happy that what you have done for your children has been effective. That is wonderful! But, your disbelief in diagnosis is concerning. There is clear evidence in the sciences, and not just psychology that disabilities like Sensory Processing Disorders are real and can be seen through various medical and brain screenings, not just a psychological theory. These children and their families need support to discover if in fact their child has a diagnosis. Because they will then be able to find an avenue or approach that will work for their child. Children are humans, not robots, there for a one size fits all approach is not effective nor beneficial to anyone.

      I pray that you can open your heart and mind to these families and their struggles. You may find that by doing this you will help contribute to the support these families desperately need!

    3. Andrea Hamilton

      I would like start by saying congrats on have 6 very calm, even tempered children of your own. I on the other hand have three kids. Mine are 5, 3 and just 3 months old. I understand how you may say that these docs haven’t help with anything by giving a diagnoses that seems to not help, however coming from parent that faces similar situations as this nice lady had I have to say you don’t know what your talking about. My daughter who Is now 5 has had a bad temper and mood most of her life. I felt like I was to blame all the time and still do most of the time. Understanding your child is the first step in helping your child. Knowing what is wrong helps you get the help you need. My parents are helping me with my child as my husband and I are at our wits end with her. I’m from a large family of 7 kids and even with all that experience, they have a hard time with her. They said they have never seen a child quite so challenging as mine. I’m consistent, I try hugs to calm, I try everything listed above and more. My other children are not quite so busy and hard to deal with. What Im trying to say in all this is, that unless YOU have actually had to deal with a child with sensory issues like my self or many of these other families have, you have no room to talk. WE are trying our best with what we have. Love is not always enough, but understanding why, helps us to feel better in the situation and no that its NOT our fault or our kids fault but something that we need to cope with and still feel like good parents. We are not using these issues as excuses however even if the behavior is unacceptable we have no other way to deal with it then to ride it out and deal with the child after they have calmed down. Its people with no understanding of kids like this that give us looks and say things that make all of it worse. IM NOT A BAD PARENT, THEY ARE NOT BAD KIDS. THEY ARE KIDS THAT HAVE ISSUES. AND THOSE OF YOU THAT THINK THAT ITS MADE UP OR AND EXCUSE FOR BAD BEHAVIOUR NEED TO HAVE A KID LIKE OURS FOR 1 DAY TO FULLY UNDERSTAND WHAT WE ARE SAYING. ‘Im happy that you have even tempered kids and don’t understand this feeling we have, because I don’t wish it on anyone.

      1. Michelle T

        Preach. You’re exactly right.

          1. Autumn

            Why does it always have to be a diagnosis? What if it’s just who they are? Sometimes it’s just that simple!

    4. Dee

      GREAT ARTICLE!!! My thoughts… It might be damaging to a child to label him “an angry kid” or “a child who has issues”… Maybe there are more positive words we could use so when they grow up and read these comments for themselves, they don’t say “wow, mom, you really thought I was a pain?!” Not good for a child to believe he or she is a stressor in mommy or daddy’s life 🙁 they should believe they are a joy and a blessing (I mean, don’t we all want to believe that the people we live with love us to that degree?) There are certain diagnosis that can be applied to children, and I’ve learned how to parents from all sources, but I would think labeling a child can be very damaging. I’d like to see a world where we LABEL THE BEHAVIOR and EMPOWER THE CHILD for the future by speaking more positively about their future selves. I’m no expert and I know parenting is difficult (especially when dealing with extemely challenging behaviors!!!) but I would hope that in all these situations there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that no parent will settle for having a “troubled child” on their hands, but will look at their children as accomplished loving adults, and also as the reward of their labor. Most of us made it to adulthood and are functioning relatively well (some with “labels” we give ourselves), and I believe every child (no matter how many “issues” they have) has a right to expect a great future! Kids can change, they do change, and we all adapt. I just want all of our children to have a chance to be looked at as “normal”… (PS: Time can’t always heal but God can!)

    5. Sarah

      What is a “proper spanking?” Alls it shows is that might makes right, and that physically hitting is acceptable. And my parents did not hit and raised 7 kids. Violence is not acceptable except is self-defense. We will never get to a more peaceful world until the most vulnerable people in the world are protected.

      And at what age does a person get “Worth” that they are deemed worth legal protection? You cannot hit me, but only at what age? When did I become worthy of protection? The only reason people do it, is because they can and often don’t know any other way. You hit me, I have the right to hit you back. Sadly we hit only t he most defenseless.

      And call is what it is spanking is hitting. You cannot spank without the action “to hit.”

    6. Amanda

      Au contraire.

      I have a son with Sensory Processing Disorder. A diagnosis does not get parents out of anything, or relieve them from their responsibilities in the parenting realm. I don’t WANT my child to be the one who bites, kicks, pinches, or screams at other children. I don’t WANT my child to be the one having a meltdown in the store, in front of all of the judging faces, glares, and sneers. A diagnosis certainly does not give the child free license to continue those behaviors. I think you’re grossly misunderstanding WHY we seek a diagnosis. It’s so we can HELP our children. It’s so we can do MORE to STOP the problem behaviors. It’s so we can spend thousands of dollars in therapies to equip our children with the emotional and developmental tools to prevent our children from hitting or hurting yours. A diagnosis isn’t a carte blanche for doing nothing. On the contrary, it puts us ON the hook for determining the cause of the behaviors, and understanding the best course of action to alter them.

    7. Jamie

      It’s not about the diagnosis, that is only a tool to help the parents understand (ooh, empathy… that’s novel). It’s about the fact that the kids are real people with real emotions, not pretty little wallflowers or accessories to your life. It does do good to get the diagnosis so that the parent can better understand why they child “behaves” the way they do.

      How about looking at yourself? How about the way you “behave”? If you want your children to grow up and think before they act, you need to model it. Your comment is an excuse to not hear anything. You’re over generalizing based on your subjective experience. And you are wrong. These blogs you see about parenting aren’t here because kids have drastically gone down the tubes or changed. These blogs about parenting are here because there are actually parents that have the emotional capacity to empathize with their children, rather than relegate them to the background as pretty little wall flowers that they reactively hit when they get out of line. Kids are the same as they’ve always been. It’s the parents that are changing. And there’s nothing wrong with that. You may not see it reflected now in children’s behaviour, because it’s not the kid’s job to be the conscientious ones. Why should it be their job? We’re the fully formed adults. It’s our job. They don’t even know what it is to modulate emotions and think before they act if they are wired perfectly when they come out. They have to see us model it and if we’re hitting them, they won’t learn it. They’ll only learn to hide and lie about the truth of who they are.

      Sir, with all due respect, you have too many children. You are stretched thin. Granted, that’s your choice and right. But your subjective experience with your large brood is not the reality that most of us are facing. You have a difficult job because you’re having to go beyond parenting to crowd control. There is little time for empathy and one on one in that setting. Good luck to you. And your children.

    8. Christina

      Being “a father of six” does not make you an expert on everyones children…. Try being in any one of our shoes. Do everything you can to understand your child, do all the discipline techniques, do all the positive reinforcement techniques, ask for help from doctors, ask for help from the school…. and at the end of the day, still be afraid of your own child whom you love.

    9. Tina

      Very much agree! I have a younger brother who was labeled ADHD at a very young age. He is now 25 and has had some very troublesome years due to this behavior that was caused by his ‘diagnosis’.

      When my babies were little, the doctors wanted to test them for ADD/ADHD and I politely declined, because I refuse to give them an excuse to act out. We have tried spankings and time outs and grounding and taking things away, and I still have an angry daughter. We take it one day at a time with as much understanding and patience as we can possibly muster. And pray that maybe she’ll grow out of it sooner rather than later. #motheroffour

    10. I think we can all say that there are parents who are over-using labels and diagnoses, or parents who simply aren’t willing to be parents to their kids. It’s pretty clear from even just reading this one post that this parent is NOT that. She is not trying to get out of dealing with hard things or letting her kid run all over her. She is actively seeking solutions. And if you’ve ever been around a kid who TRULY has sensory processing issues, you will KNOW there is a difference. The diagnosis does help as a first identifying step and there are many resources for parents whose kids have this. I think your view is a little narrow and doesn’t give enough grace or credit to this blogger!

    11. Amy

      oh how I wish I could show you my world. I spent years convinced my parenting was the problem with my daughter! I thought I somehow broke her! Nothing I did helped, all techniques learnt through raising my son that had been effective failed miserably and actually usually only made thing worse! Eventually my child was a walking ball of pain and anger and at age 6 she was self harming, SELF HARMING, at age 6!! Just process that for a moment – a happy, intelligent 9 year old boy and an angry, mean, violent, foul mouthed, in pain, self harming, clever 6 year old girl!
      How could that be parenting when I am the same parent? At my wits end of how to help her I screamed for help and it’s actually bloody hard to get but in the end found a great child psychiatrist who helped us. Turns out I didn’t break her or lax parent her – she has ODD, anxiety, OCD and ADHD!!! With mild medication for her anxiety and obsessionality which takes away about the top 15% of each and lots of help we have a much happier little girl who no longer hurts herself and rarely hurts others now. We have new consequence plans, good angry choices for her to choose when angry as well as so many other things. It’s a hell of a lot of work, it’s no relax getting a diagnosis for us!

    12. Twisi

      What I get from your comment, Adam Wood, is that giving a situation a name is not the same as giving it a solution. Saying “Oh my child has ADHD” doesn’t mean that therefore no one can expect anything from him, so there’s no point trying to rein him in. But I don’t think parents really are using a label to abdicate their responsibilities. Generally they are the ones on the receiving end of the outbursts all day long and they are definitely not just spectators watching the show, they are trying to show they are loving in a hard-to-love atmosphere.

    13. Ainjoro

      Saying that this child’s diagnosis allows the child and parent an ‘excuse’ to misbehave and quit parenting is like saying a diagnosis of cancer is an ‘excuse’ for a person to be lazy. It’s obscene.

      The diagnosis is the power of knowledge for these families. It allows them to treat the illness properly, to treat the child properly, and to stop living in shame and blame.

      The same way diagnosing cancer allows the affected to get the treatment they need. It doesn’t absolve anyone of anything, it just provides them with the information they need to treat and move forward.

      If anything this diagnosis requires the parent to be more diligent in their parenting disciplines and the child to be more aware of how their behavior affects the family.

    14. Twyla

      Really??? Wow I guess the endless hugs and love and attention along with realistic consequences for their behavior should be enough for my ADHD, SPD, and ODD child. Guess what it is at home. He is an Angel child at home. At school when other kids get in his space or hurt his sensitive heart or it becomes super wild and noisy and he becomes super agitated and wound up in class then physically lashes out with out even thinking. Yep he has nothing just bad parenting. Thank you for this article. Thanks no thanks to Adam Wood who doesn’t have a clue.

      1. Twyla,
        PERFECTLY SAID!!!! You are describing me son,too. Bless these children who struggle daily and often go misunderstood. I will never stop being his advocate–we need to be their voice when it comes to other adults (teachers, family members) who just don’t understand what they are going through.

    15. Anna

      Thank you Adam for your comment. The most sensible of all of them. Can’t agree more.

      1. I think he’s reading more into this situation than is really there…aren’t you supposed to get the facts before you judge? Doesn’t seem like Adam has more facts about this situation than the momma who’s in it! And you have to admit, neither do we. So let’s not assume the worst when we could be lending support to a decent, honest, and huge-hearted person who could really use it.

    16. A B

      Interesting that you think a diagnosis is a way out of parental responsibility, when in my case, my son’s diagnosis made me step up and accept even more responsibility for researching, trying different approaches, awareness of food sensitivities, etc. A way out. That’s the strangest judgement. Instead of thinking perhaps society is creating problems with the way it operates, and parents attempting to navigate those waters, you think parents go “great, I’m off the hook, no need to address this at all!”? I hope you are more open minded with your 6 children.

  7. Erin

    Thank you. I have an angry child. A terribly, dramatic, ANGRY, 9y/o boy. It is a daily struggle and like you, we’ve tried EVERYTHING. Spanking included. You just gave me a plethora of resources to help him, myself, and my husband manage to make it through this journey called parenting.

  8. nicole

    You’re a great mom! If only all moms were like you. As tough as it got you never gave up. You didn’t take the easy way out. You did what was best for your child. I admire you.

  9. Mandy K

    Thank you for posting this. My son is usually easy going, but once he gets angry or defiant he gets ANGRY or DEFIANT! And no punishment or discipline helps. Quiet zones for him are the most helpful. My biggest concern is how it affects relationships with his peers, because once you have angered him, you are now his worst enemy (seriously, he called kids his arch enemies at age 4). And it is getting better, very slowly. I hope you and your son can work through this, and find tools that work for him.

  10. Samantha

    Thank you for writing this. I was against spanking before I even had kids, but I allowed myself to be influenced that spanking was OK. I then had a child and at first spanking wasn’t necessary. However toddler years have been very rough. I started spanking whenever my child would disobey me. Then she started to show aggression toward herself and others. My husband and I decided spanking was not the best thing for our daughter and we stopped. The anger is still there in our daughter but she is getting better. Others have decided to put in their input though and criticize us for our decision. I just want to say that spanking did not work for us and it has caused harm to our child. With that being said I emplore anyone choosing spanking as a form of discipline please check out other options. Violence is not the answer. In my opinion spanking is a form of bullying. We are bullying our kids into being good. We should show love and respect for our children when displining that is what will impact them for the rest of their lives.

    1. tiffany

      I absolutely understand and agree, I have a six year old that I’ve raised alone and spanked, seen those same effects, and regretted it. I have a 4 yr old, whome I nearly never spanked, and is a reasonably easy child with a light and free spirit. It is very difficult reversing what I had done, when I thought it was the right thing to do. “spanking it out” only makes them worse. And now that my daughter is in school, facing bullies, she needs me to be a soft place to land… Not a bigger bully. I’m glad to see others feel what I feel.. Many blessings to you all on this rocky road!

  11. Amanda

    I am in a similar boat with an emotionally/sensory disabled 4 year old. I agree, spanking does not work, but instead further complicates a very complicated situation. Thank you!

  12. Sonja

    I too have an “Angry child” spanking doesn’t work time outs don’t either. BUT what I have learned is nutrition does work. When she is eating healthy you can’t tell she feels better. She is like a completely different child! I know you are probably tired of the research but maybe check out the book GAPS. Gut and psychology syndrome Natural treatment for dyspraxia, autism, A.D.D. dyslexia, A.D.H.D depression and schizophrenia. It’s written by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD

  13. Sarah

    Yes!!! As a social worker, parent educator, and mom to 4, I agree with this post!

  14. Christina Bledsoe

    My son was born at 23 weeks and weighed one pound five ounces. He spent 4 1/2 months in the hospital, and he did receive therapy until he was a little over two years old. I tried to get that extended because I realized there was something different about him. I talked with my pediatrician that simply told me it was a power struggle, and his therapist that told me to pick my battles. Both conversations were a waste of time, and did not help our family. Mason has some type of what i feel is an anxiety disorder. We cannot leave our house without waiting on him to go through this process of turning certain lights on and others off, rearranging toys or insisting they go with him, and then dealing with the meltdown that accompanies his realization that he has to leave the house. Some people mention that to them it appears to be OCD. I disagree. I say that because he will shake all over and cry and scream if he cannot complete his process. The process is different each time, and there is no order to it. We also go through a similar process at bedtime. Not as dramatic though. When he is doing something that he isn’t suppose to, he hears you say no, but he cannot help but complete the task. It’s not defiance. He will always ask when it’s over what he did wrong and if we are mad. He doesn’t want to be this person. He just can’t help it. Spanking doesn’t fix this. It makes it worse. I’m not against spanking either, but you have to do what is best and what works for each child. He is now three, and we are getting ready to work with him on finding out what would be a good alternative to his fits. Maybe a warm bath, reading a book, taking a walk, or just talking it out. I love this child to the moon and back, and I need a calmer household.

    1. kylie

      His behavior and reaction to a disruption to the behavior is very typical of OCD. Just because he doesn’t have the exact same process every time, doesn’t mean it isn’t OCD. He feels compelled to do something and simply cannot ignore it. He has a severe emotional and even physical response to not completing the task. Please take him to a psychiatrist. He should be in therapy to learn to cope with this disorder. It will help…ignoring it will only allow it to worsen. Good luck!

    2. OCD is actually grouped in with Anxiety disorders. He might very well have anxiety that’s causing those OCD behaviors. Those who suffer with those “rituals” usually can’t help doing them and they do them out of fear (or anxiety). So you are right sounds like your son suffers from an anxiety/oCD disorder. Sounds like your son would benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy. Best of luck to you! I understand your concerns, I have a young son who suffers from anxiety as well, it’s tough seeing them so worried all the time.

  15. Jessica

    This post brought tears to my eyes because I “get” it. My son is about to turn 6 and has been in OT for his SPD for 2 years now. It has been amazing to see his progress and I often wonder how different our life would be right now without the amazing support we have received. Our son is also explosive, but only with us. He keeps it together well at school, church, etc., but he lets his guard down at home and really lets us have it sometimes. He has begun writing now that he is in kindergarten (praise God for those two years of OT that have enabled him to write!) and that is helping him to have a better outlet. We try not to spank him because we found that sometimes he acted out TO get spanked, as it helped to reorganize him. We’re trying to teach him other ways to receive that jarring input like jumping jacks, push ups, stomping up stairs, crashing into bean bags, etc. Thank you so much for your blog and your FB page. It is so nice to feel like we are not alone in this journey.

    1. Sara

      Your situation sounds exactly like mine! My son has been a handful to say the least sense about 1. He is now 5 and attends preschool. He is great at school but at home it is insane. He yells, screams, hits himself, pulls out his hair and scratches himself over the most miniscule things. Can you elaborate on the help you have received? I have tried everything!

  16. Colinde

    Thank you so much for your post. You are an amazing mama and your little boy is blessed to have you. I think it’s amazing you are trying to help people find other ways to help their struggling children. I live in an expat community and I have friends from all over the world. They all have their own parenting strategies and I feel very lucky to share in their experiences and learn new things. I was very shocked to fiend out though that some of my (American and South African) friends spank their children whenever they disobey. Where I come from (the Netherlands) we don’t spank our kids. In fact, as in most European countries!, spanking is considered child abuse and prohibited by law. Parents who spank their children risk having their children taken from them and loose custody. This is for a reason! To all the people who wrote comments promoting spanking I want to say one thing: please please stop. Spanking or hurting a child in any way is never the answer!

  17. I love this post. I wish I had come to a place like this long before people’s comments and criticism made me second guess myself as a mom. I want to say tho, I believe in spanking. but not in spanking for any and everything. my little girl has made me aware of this more than anybody else.
    I’ll be sharing this post especially for those souls out there who believe they are always right and need to try and shove it down your throat. well written. I believe more moms should speak out against the parenting police.

  18. Kelley Kirkpatrick

    Thank you for this post! Like seriously, thank you! I know I’m not alone, but it feels like it often. Your posts warm my heart and restore hope. Yesterday was a tough day, most Mondays are. So thank you for providing tips and resources.

  19. Bob

    I am responding to this very well written and thoughtful post because I was an angry child and think I may shed some light onto the subject. I should mention that I was also a very angry adult which is the result of not having the tools and understanding to deal with the anger. Anger, by the way, is very real and powerful. As a child the anger would just come upon me when things didn’t go right and since I felt helpless I would just act it out. I promise you the parental spankings and threats didn’t do anything to help me resolve the anger. What did help was hugging and talking to my Teddy Bear. Actually that was a process of “letting go” but I didn’t know that at the time. After the age of five I rejected the Teddy Bear as being for “babies.”
    To the point. I was in my mid-sixties when I discovered that the anger was all mine. It didn’t really come over me as if controlling me from the outside. It was a choice I made to deal with feeling weak and helpless. I did a lot of drinking so I wouldn’t feel the pain. Of course that didn’t work out too well. The answer was self responsibility. As an adult I was able to accept “self responsibility” as a workable solution. I don’t think a young child can. For a child I do think “letting go” techniques can be very useful. I have recently started practicing Yoga. The Baby Pose is the most amazing position and is about as close to hugging a Teddy Bear as you can get. If you confer with a Yoga instructor or therapist who uses Yoga as a technique, I’m sure they will have other and perhaps better ideas. I’ll close this rather lengthy response with this thought: It’s very powerful to “own” the anger because that way you are not helplessly floundering. You are in control and you know it.

  20. Tina

    What a shame it is that you have to justify your decision, not to smack with a diagnosis. Before I had children I vowed I would never smack them, I wouldn’t need to, I would be a great parent. I loved kids. I had no clue as to what the combination of sleep depravation and sheer will power (on the part of my child) would make me reconsider my stand. When I first smacked my child it was a considered move. I’ve asked you 3 times not to kick me, if you do it again I will smack. My child had no idea what a smack was, so saying this was no real deterrent. It was one small smack, designed to inflict the minimum of pain just to get the message across. It did, following requests to stop the unwanted behaviour (usually hitting or kicking) or I would smack, had the desired effect, and I rarely had to smack the “threat” was enough. The unwanted behaviour stopped and I justified it in my mind because I would say kicking hurts mummy………………anyway what I didn’t realise in my naïve inexperienced parent was that children are great mimics, they will do what you do, say what you say. Wow this is getting long. Cut to the chase, my child has begun punishing me and his younger sibling in the way I reprimanded and it’s not pretty. How I wish I had tried a different way, a gentler way. I didn’t have an angry child – I created one. I’ve learned my lesson and when my youngest acts out, I hug him and instead of escalating the situation he calms down immediately. Having extra time away from work, I’m overwhelmed with the amount of news stories of spousal abuse, spouse murder and child abuse. I’m convinced that if we don’t role model gentle loving behaviour to our children, it will all perpetual generation after generation.

    So don’t feel that you need to justify the way you have chosen to parent your child, thankyou for putting yourself out there and exposing yourself to people’s different opinions, shining a light for those of us who are looking for another way.

  21. Lisa

    Thank you so much for sharing! I am just beginning to deal with the issue of tantrums and aggression, and it’s great to know there are activities for kids or investigations into behaviour that question what we CAN do instead of what we CAN’T do 🙂

  22. Shelly

    Oh the tears are running–Im so glad to see people post things like this–my grandson has many issues and for the last 2 years of his 4 years..we have heard this so often from people…I’ve even heard people say you can’t beat a child like that enough….it makes me feel blessed that there are people who will speak up, speak out and go the extra miles–many, many extra miles to work with children like this. My daughter is awesome with my grandson and looking continually for ways to deal with him better and more effectively to help him go through his days easier and better–and I am glad there are resources and people like you who will post!! Children are a blessing given to us….and those of you who have children who have emotional/behavioral issues are chosen by Him…because you can and you do deal with them …THANK YOU !!!

  23. Thank you so much for this post! My 6 year old was an angry child for several years and still has episodes at times. Partly it was adjusting to a new family dynamic when I married his stepfather but a lot of it is because he has sensory processing disorder and struggles with social interactions that seem to come naturally to most kids.
    No amount of yelling, punishing, or even spanking helped to stop his angry outbursts and tantrums, in fact it typically made things worse. What we found helped the most was to acknowledge his feelings and accept them whIle giving him space to calm down. Then when he was calm we could talk about why he felt as he did and talk about strategies he could use to control his reactions a little better.

  24. Carina Tiglao MD

    Thank you for sharing this. I can totally relate. I am from the medical field and i have an only son who s almost 8 years old now. I believe i have been raising him with my dedicated husband in a very loving and nurturing well balanced environment where dicipline and order are also part of the picture. That is until the temper outbursts way past the terrible twos became more frequent and affected how he relates in school and palymates. I atarted to doubt my prenting style and we went through all the enumerated management style above and still we ended up frustrated and angry at ourselves. I had him assessesed by a development pediatrician and was diagnosed to have adhd with asd. We went through regular OT sessions as well as 1 is to 1 afterschool enhancement programs. And what an improvement our family made (it is afterall a family endeavor and not my son’s fault). I feel that my son has oppositional defiant disorder rather than ASD. But the management with OT and environmental modification has so far brought positive effects. My son can now manage his anger but sometimes we need to walk him through to help him process the situations. He still has occasional outbursts and as we all are, he is still a work in progess.

  25. Diana

    I agree, spanking isn’t the answer for most situations. It just doesn’t work. However, I also disagree with all of these diagnoses for children. Maybe, just maybe, this is just how your kid is. Maybe nothing is wrong with him, this is just who he is and just because he doesn’t fit the mold for what society says is normal, he gets a diagnosis. I don’t know. I feel sorry for his teachers. It’s extra hard on them.

  26. Melissa

    I was recently reading a different website and a parent asked for discipline advice. I was horrified at the responses suggesting spanking and the ugliness directed at the parent and child. I guess I have been living in a bubble. If these are the sort of responses you have been dealing with I am truely sorry.
    Thank you for sharing your story and these resources.

  27. Penny

    Thank you for hitting publish!

    As the mother of a 4 1/2 year old child who is sensitive and angry all at once, I can relate and I appreciated this post so much.

    Liked you on FB!

  28. I have an angry child too. My gut says it’s not a processing disorder, but rather a passionate personality. He’s gotten better as he’s matured and as we have learned different ways to help him. He reminds me very much of my husband, because he, too, can be very loudly angry at times. I am a VERY laid back person, so the outbursts shock my system, but I am becoming more and more familiar with ways to calm him. We spank on occasion, but it NEVER works when he’s angry. Thank you for posting this. I have followed your Pinterest board and I will browse through it when I need more resources. If I may, I wrote a post for one thing that’s helped with my son, in case you might be interested in reading it: http://www.thelieberfamily.com/2012/11/calming-caddy.html

  29. Talitha Abramsen

    You are so right! There is always an underlying root cause to behavior because behavior is simply communication. Why resort to physical violence when you can fix the underlying issues! Brain Balance Centers across the country are working kids just like your son and having tremendous results with sensory integration, and learning and behavioral challenges brought on by developmental delays. Check them out: we BrainBalanceCenters.com

  30. Robin

    Your son sounds exactly like my 9 year old son!! I am a teacher and I too have tried all the teacher tricks and the parent tricks, including spanking. I, too, have blamed myself for my son’s anger, wondering what I was doing wrong. I get so frustrated that every single day brings the anger and I feel so helpless. Often I want to throw up my hands and run. Thank you for this post. I wish everyone I knew could read this and understand it.

  31. Audrie

    Wonderful post. I’m so sick of reading posts and memes about how only spanking will make kids decent. Really? It’s just so primitive and ill educated sounding to me. Like a one stop solution for all kids.

  32. Herb Wiseman

    It may also help to understand that very angry children are often very intense children temperamentally. Intensity as a temperamental trait MULTIPLIES other emotions either positive or negative. But anger itself is also a signal for an unsolved problem about which the child believes there is injustice. It often helps to acknowledge with the child the sense of injustice s/he is feeling and explore the negative emotions associated with it. Often the anger, once acknowledged in this way dissipates quite quickly. The other aspect of it is self-regulation and making (not imposing) an agreement with the child that they will work on it. That element is often missing too because we compound the injustice by imposing our solution to the problem. Discussions should include the question “do you want help with this?” If you do not have an idea in mind then brainstorm with the child. For example you could make a sliding scale like a ruler and put it on the fridge and ask the child if the issue about which they have such strong feelings is a 10. In a previous discussion 10 would be defined as the loss of parents, then 9 is loss of siblings, 8 loss of grandparents and one could then look at their outburst being understandable it that was the case. One can also use concentric circles with the centre one being the worst thing that could happen to them getting progressively less serious and intense as new circles are drawn around the first. But not being able to find a missing toy may not be up there as a ten or very close tot he centre of thecircle and they can be encouraged to use a fridge magnet to show where the missing toy would be on the 10 point ruler or on a set of circles on the fridge. Then what would be the appropriate response for that number given the response for losing a parent or sibling or grandparent is the intense one that they are displaying.

    Two good resources are Raising an Emotionally intelligent Child by Gottman and Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting by Noel Janis-Norton

    1. Twisi

      Wow! Love that method of helping a child quantify and rationalise what they are feeling in a visual way. It seems like a simple but powerful tool that a young child could use to face their inner storm. Thank you, Herb.

  33. Jessie

    Thank you for this! I’m going through this with my 4 year old. My parents look at me and say you never acted that way and he sure wouldn’t act that way if he was with us! Here I am trained as a special education teacher who had the behavior classrooms!!
    Look forward to reading more of your work!

  34. Brenda

    i wish I knew about sensory processing issues when my youngest son was younger. Once I stumbled upon sensory integration issues, some of my son’s behaviour made sense. It allowed my husband and I to understand the behaviour, once you understand the behaviour it is always easier to deal with. My husband and I have come to realize that we have our own sensory issues that we have learned to cope with. Thank you so much for your post.

  35. Sissy Brooks

    I, too, would like to thank you for this post. You see, I have a g-son, that was in 1st grade, that was really hyper and I am sure people in public places have said among themselves that he needed his butt tore up. I have probably said it a time or two myself, but then we found out he had ADHD and was put on medication for it. He is doing 100% better in school, but I have made the statement to my husband that I miss our old g-son, because the meds slow him down. I said that to say this, if I have made the comment about spanking a child because that was what we got, please forgive me. We don’t ever know the hidden reasons a child acts the way they do or what the parents have done to try and discipline that child. I think about my poor daddy, that has gone to be with The Lord, and how he only completed the 4th grade and didn’t do very well during those 4 years. Had they known about all the different causes for a child acting the way they did or not Learning the way they should, maybe my dad could have gotten the help he may have needed to continue in school. So I do feel for your struggle, but more, I feel for your precious little boy, what he has had to endure his 9 short years of his life. I say these things with tears running down my face and hopefully I think before I post on anything any more!

  36. I just wanted to say thank you. Because you get it. And you know what it is like. Thank you. I actually cried when I read this tonight.

  37. aimee

    Omg that was so well put and I truly took it to heart because my 9 son has this also along with a lot of other issues and I struggle too. I’ve been to doctor and he on meds and he see theparists I’m glad to know I’m not alone

  38. YES! Thank you for this amazing post.

    My child is also an angry child and being that my background is with special needs children and other people’s angry children… I was dumbfounded when I had my own. At only a few months old I knew – I too have tried everything and nothing but understanding him works.

    I have had to learn and grow thought the past 5 years and it has changed my life. I used to be one of those parents that thought a good “behavior plan” would always work. HA My son has showed me.

  39. Tami O'Keefe

    Have you read The Out of Synch Child it is a wonderful book written by an OT. It gives in site and help with SPD. Have you consultated an OT they are amazing and can do wonderful things for children suffering with SPD.

  40. Dee


  41. Dee

    THANKS FOR ALL THE RESOURCES!!! Sorry for your hardship, may you be strong. PS: don’t let anyone’s opinions (that’s all they are) let u become upset or second guess your calling.

  42. Susanne Vinther

    Sitting here in far away Denmark, reading this post all the comments on it, I am continually amazed that wether or not to spank a child is even a thing to consider! In my wiev spanking is never an option.
    How can we teach our children that violence is wrong, if it is rutinely used on them? When will the world learn that communication is the way to go? Sure there are some children (and adults) who find it harder to communicate, specially when it comes to their feelings, but that is no excuse to stop trying.
    As a former policeofficer I am not a complete pacifist, but I do urge everyone to consider what we call the ‘force-ladder” (translated from danish, I don’t know if there is an english term for it). If the lowest point is simply talking and the next is taling louder, then screaming and then on to physical force of different degrees, what will you as a parent do, when spanking doesn’t work??? There is no going back, you will be forced on to the next step. Think about that for a while!
    I’ll freely admit that I myself have felt tempted and that there have been times when a spanking seemed like a very good idea, but I still feel that if I allow myself to go that route, it’s a sad reflection on myself as a parent and a failure on my part. I would rather seek other avenues and continue to learn and grow as a parent and a person, and thereby set good examples for my child.
    I am glad to say, that parental spanking has been illegal in Denmark since 1997.
    Thank you for having the courage to write this post and taking up such a difficult subject.

  43. Joanne Surman

    Thank you for this. After a particularly tough time with our 5 year old this week I finally read something that hits the nail on the head. I’ve shared this with my husband and glad theat you hit the publish button!

  44. Beth

    I completely understand. I work for a boy who has SPD. He has meltdowns that are uncontrollable. However we have learned so many techniques to help that most days as long as his schedule is routine he does very well.

    Because of watching him – we were able to help my daughter as well.

    She too has SPD but she’s not angry. She doesn’t respond to others. It comes off rude and people expect me to do something about it. Calling her out for being rude only makes matters worse. I encourage her to engage with others but she doesn’t do it unless she feels comfortable. Its hard for others to understand. They think I’m a bad parent because I don’t correct her behavior. I don’t even apologize for it anymore – because I didn’t and she didn’t do anything wrong. Routine is very important for her as well. Nothing out of the norm and no knowing plans to far in advance or she panics about it and stresses about it happening.

    I pray that people learn more about SPD – but there are so many different aspects and it effects each child and adult differently.

  45. Btaylor

    This is the first time I’ve come across your blog. 2 paragraphs in I already knew what I wanted to comment. Before I could ask you if you’ve had him screened for SPD you answered my question 🙂
    I also have an angry child and honestly if I would of had my 2nd child first I think I would have picked up on it sooner. Both raised the same, but completely different. As a baby she would scream if I put certain clothes on her, I just though she was hot. As a baby patting her back softly would excite her instead of calming her. When she began to walk she would scream if her shoes weren’t on while she walked through the grass. The feeling of sand brought anxiety if she touched it. We just thought she was quirky. To make a long story short we have had change our views of parenting her. I can’t dress up my sweet girl and put bows in her hair bc it will cause a meltdown. We have to let her know in advance about daily errands so she can prepare. To an outsider it may seem like she runs the show but the truth is we are in control but guiding her with ease.
    On the spanking subject the answer is yes we do at times. Not everything deserves a spanking, in fact it’s the last result. Right now timeouts in her room are working best. I’ve recently read the 1,2,3 magic Christian version, and it has helped so much. Now she still gets mad and may have her tantrum in her room if she wants, and that’s ok. She’s not allowed out until she has calmed down. Does it help her not be angry, no. But it does help our family better control her while she’s angry. If she hits, it’s an automatic 3 and she goes to her room. It’s so much work and exhausting, I know. I’m sure you’ve done all of this too! I don’t look at them having a disability but just a premature coping system. They will catch up and be successful adults, I’ve seen it happen! Most of these children are extremely bright and creative, but process the world in a different way. They just don’t have those coping skills yet, but will as we help them develop. Thank you for your post and know you are not alone

  46. Christi

    Wow! Did this hit me like a wave of fresh air! I AM NOT ALONE! My daughter is always like this. So please tell me what you are doing. I have tried it all an feel like a failure of a mother because none of it works. Keep getting told “If that was my child…..” Help.

  47. Jennifer

    I know how you are feeling!my son is 9 and is a very angry child!your doing a wonderful job and I love that I can read your post to help me deal with my boy!

  48. I totally understand this article…my granddaughter from a very young age would scream when around crowds…or was hot. At one point I was asked if she had been seen by a doctor when she was having a tantrum. When she started preschool she would come home and take all of her clothes off as these felt to confining, I guess that was why. It would calm her anyway. As she got older she did keep her panties on. Only because she had to. She hated shopping. She is a teenager now and the only shopping she does is in bookstores. They are her life. She has turned out to be a beautiful, smart and very interesting girl.

  49. Liz

    I have stumbled across this blog post and it could’ve been written by me! I am only just at the beginning of this adventure with my 6 year old daughter and am not getting good response from our family doc, pediatrician and school. Do you have any online resources available for me to start this journey with? I too have an angry child.

  50. I have read most of the comments and from what I’ve read, most comment it’s have young children. I have two: a 25 yo son and an almost 20 yo daughter. My son was a dream child. I did spank him on occasion and that worked for the situation. It rarely happened because he was just a very well behaved child. Tantruns were not an issue with him. My daughter is the exact opposite of my son. She became that ‘angry child’ at about 2-3 years old. NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING, worked. When she was 14 she told me what she had been suffering since she was a small child, abuse at the hands of another. I am not saying that is her excuse for her bad behavior. But it certainly lent to it I am sure. Now that she is approaching 20 she is able to recognize the situations that lead to her anger and anxiety. She is now a joy to be around and has the deepest most living soul. My point is this: don’t rule anything out. Mental illness is alive and thriving. Have your children evaluated, find the type of help that works for your child. I wish we could put all children under one definition of ‘good’ kids. But they are all so different. My daufhter’s father also suffers from the same type of anxiety and anger disorders. He had little to do with her upbringing, So there is definitely a genetic component involved. Add to that the abuse she suffered in silence for so many years, and well, my life was a living hell while she was growing up. There is no cookie cutter solution. Do what you have to do to help ease your child’s anxiety, or whatever. Get some help.

  51. Christy

    Thanks for publishing this. We have utilized spanking as one of several discipline techniques and I think it does have some merit. But I also have an angry child of 8 years and spanking this child with the goal of stopping his ongoing struggles with anger/spd issues certainly does not work and is counterproductive. It increases anger in the moment and overall.

    Your writing is helping parents. Thank you.

  52. Scha

    I’m glad you have found the source of your son’s anger. My son also has Sensory Processing Disorder and I understand your frustrations. It sounds like you are doing a great job as a Mom.

  53. Michelle

    I have a child that gave the work strong willed a new meaning. We stopped spanking her when she was around 4, because it just made things worse. I looked at my husband one day and said we are spanking her to try to solve this anger issue and all it is doing is making her angrier. From that day forward we tried so many methods and honestly I do not remember what worked. Today she is a beautiful 18 year old with a big heart for little kids, especially foster and special needs kids. Thank You for your post. They are more mothers out there with children like this and they need to know that they are not alone.

  54. David

    It looks like you have almost everything. But how about pulling him out of school? Try free-range learning if you are able. That additional time outside of the classroom can do wonders. Kids more more free play than they are allowed in most schooling situations. I recommend this TED talk in regards to that topic:

    Good luck.

  55. David

    It looks like you have tried almost everything. But how about pulling him out of school? Try free-range learning if you are able. That additional time outside of the classroom can do wonders. Kids need more free play than they are allowed in most schooling situations. I recommend this TED talk in regards to that topic:

    Good luck.

  56. Jennifer

    Thank you for sharing this. My 21 month old son is just like this. I have tried everything to get the behavior to stop nothing worked. Spanking makes it worse. So I would just let him scream. Sometimes that works and sometimes not. It gets frustrating with him so I start crying. It’s everyday with him. I have three other children and they are very well behaved. Not him. He’s sweet and wonderful when he wants to be. Now I know what to do to better understand him thank you so much for posting this. It will help me so much.

  57. my goal as a parent is not to control my child, but to teach her how to get control of herself. Wowzers, that’s difficult. In those moments mid-tantrum, it’s easy to look around and see everyone staring at us, and try to resolve the situation as quickly as possible, but I think the more quickly I try to shut it down, the more she spirals. Sometimes, I think my job is to just provide a bit of a buffer between her and the world, when the world is too much, and just tell the world to back off a minute to let her get a grip on herself. If I wait long enough, she always finds her way through the tantrum, and often the time after the tantrum is the closest we’ll be all day. I just cant rush her. If I rush her, it gets worse.

  58. Melissa

    Oh wow. Me too. Thank you for writing this. I sit on both sides of the spanking fence. I have a son with definite sensory issues. (I haven’t had it diagnosed, but it’s VERY obvious he’s tactile. He holds things for reassurance.) I have one child that is flat out angry.

    Like you, I’ve read a ton, I’ve rewarded, I’ve spanked, I’ve prayed. I found, quite by accident, that my tactile son has a sensitivity to red dye. When he ingest it, all hell breaks loose. It’s horrendous and there’s no coming out of it until the dye is out of his system. TWO WEEKS. Two.

    I think I’m going to try your way now. To heck with the naysayers. I’ve already been lambasted and beaten up over the red dye (I’m the church joke), why not try this also. If it works, it works.

    All the best to you. I’ve lived on the guilt train. I want off. 🙂

  59. btan1996

    do you have an email I can contact email so I can ask you questions 🙂 thanks!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      I do have a contact, if you hit the envelope at the top in the contact section it will bring up my email address.

  60. Tobhiyah

    Have you ever tried pouring gasoline on a fire to put it out? Yeah; spanking my child (who sounds sooo much like yours) is JUST like that! Spanking = Fight. How can we possibly expect our kiddos to learn how to behave in a safe & healthy manner during conflict when force, violence & controlling are what’s being modeled instead of helping them work through tough emotions? Thanks for sharing your voice & experience!

  61. Lisa

    Thanks for your posts!!! I love ideas like this and things to pop in my mind during my day to day, it is a tool in itself. My son is only 2 and a half and very sensitive and tantrums may be just the normal part or phase but I don’t know, sometimes I feel it is a little more. Mostly I read stuff to just try to prepare myself, I feel I need to be calmer and deal with my own anxieties too, I try to find a way to remind myself IN THE MOMENT to remember he is learning and figuring things out and it can be really hard at certain times.
    I can attest that spanking dosn’t help, I have done it rarely and hate every time, I remember each one, I don’t want to do it and am glad it has only been a couple of times, and although it got him to stop I feel the emotional damage wasn’t worth it and it is not a habit I want to do as part of parenting or discipline, the last time I only tapped him, not a whooping as you call it and it wasn’t even hard but he still knew what it meant and the scream he did although he also stopped made me realise it dosnt work, it had been so long and I had been succeeding so well with not letting anger get the best of me or my own tiredness since I haven’t slept more than an hour a couple of times a night since he was born. I instantly said to my husband I strongly believe it is not for our son, it is not what will work on him and I don’t want to do it to him ever even if there was a result from it. He agreed.

    We are the ones who know our kids, I doubt hitting helps any child. I can’t judge others as much as I want them to not judge me, for me though it matters so much to me. The emotional side of us all is so hidden, it isn’t written all over us, it is rarely clear and it certainly isn’t even remotely understood without some type of way to ask or seek information out of someone and we all at times don’t even know what words to put to some things inside us or why some things might be there.

    Anyway I am waffling. I just love to read things that make me feel I have options, ideas, some of which I think up myself and am greatful to see others have too, and I can elaborate more on my ideas too. I love my son so much, the foundations of their entire lives are in our hands as parents, I don’t want to falter on the parts I can’t see, I can change nappies, feed him and help him sleep well and I also want to hug his heart as well as his body and give his mind peace as well as his feelings, I wish I had more tools in these areas instilled in me (not that I am trying to blame the parents old card, most parents do their best with what they know, just saying I wish even myself I’d learnt relaxation things as a teenager or something at least when I had more time before having a child LOL), then I could probably cope better more often but I am proud of how much I do cope and the times I have succeeded in not making a rash choice in the moment. I want to grow on that.

  62. Meagan

    My mother-in-law had 8 children. She & My father-in-law used spanking at certain times, and they are not against it for certain behaviors, but my mother-in-law warned me sternly that spanking is the worst thing she ever did to her 2nd child. He was an angry child. He had communication problems. Still does. Many years later, when he was over 40 years old, dropped out of high school, had a drug problem…He went to counseling and it turned out he had been molested as a young boy by a neighbor as he was riding his bike in the neighborhood. He had poor communication skills, and a LOT of emotional baggage, and when he acted out…his parents tried to gain control over his behavior the same way that they did with the other 7 children. It backfired horribly. He became angrier, more reclusive, and more self-destructive. Now he is still emotionally handicapped and lives at home. I love my brother-in-law. I hurt for this man. I never want anyone else to experience what he did. So before we start talking about “the good old days” when little didn’t have these problems, let’s think about that assertion. Maybe they DID have these problems, but they weren’t’t defined as such. Maybe the guys that a good ole fashioned spank DIDN’T work for are in jail, or don’t happen to show up on a Dr. Phil show so they can talk about it. Who knows if it would have been your seventh or eighth kid that turned out this way, despite your best efforts. Be careful before you judge!

  63. Kim

    OH MY GODNESS!!!! I am so thankful I found this!!! I can’t wait to sift through and read all of your posts. I have an ANGRY, beautiful, loving, spirited, gifted, and ADHD, 6 year old little girl. I also have tried all the teacher tricks and the parent tricks. Luckily, she has an AMAZING teacher at school who is also trying all the tricks. I love everything I have read from you so far. I know I will spend hours going over your site. Thank you, thank you for all of these posts!!!!

  64. Lesley

    I have a daughter and 2 sons. The 2 boys were angry toddlers. I did not spank them. My youngest was just awful. He cussed at me (literally) in front of whoever, it didn’t matter and he had no filters. He threw tantrums, again, wherever it hit him to do so. I had him when I was 40, so things rolled off of me a lot easier than with the older two. I have 25 years of early childhood development, and have known for a long time that spanking an angry child exacerbates the anger. I just knew I would feel awful if I hit my kids. I never could rationalize how hitting my children would translate into good behavior.

    Every family member told me to spank them. Friends told me to spank them. I steadfastly refused, and I am so glad I did. The oldest son is 23, and a loving, calm, reasonable and rational adult. My youngest son is the same. He is 14 and a joy. He stands up for the underdog, thinks for himself and interacts with adults as well as peers. He cringes when he is told stories about how he behaved as a little boy. He does remember being angry, but doesn’t really have a reason why; he just was. He began to outgrow it around 6. His outbursts subsided gradually. There is hope. Stand your ground, and do what in your heart, you know is right.

  65. Jennifer Jackson

    I too have an angry son. I have found you and one other website to be really wonderful resources. The website is http://www.focusonthefamily.org. On there is a book I just ordered (for any size donation). It is by Cynthia Tobias and is called: “You can’t make me (But I can be persuaded)” The website itself is a wonderful teaching tool. I hope this will help you with yours and me with mine!

  66. Twisi

    No one else seems to have mentioned it, but we could also remember what a chemically toxic world we now live in. 150 years ago organic farming was just…. farming. Our children’s bodies are stressed with toxic burdens like never before, questions are beginning to surface about vaccine damage… It should not be a surprise that behavioural problems are increasing. Unfortunately we can’t completely avoid the toxins, just try every coping method & detoxing strategy we can.

    Parents, you are doing a heroic job! Well done.

  67. Lisa

    I’m just found this post this morning after one my many internet searches on spd, explosive anger, childhood mental illness, etc…… THANK YOU. besides dealing everyday with a very unhappy child i have also been dealing with the guilt of being a bad parent and hearing (or feeling) others opinions about it, embarrassed to take him into public because of what people might say and think. I will share your post with my (usually) well meaning friends and family who just don’t understand and forget about everyone else so I can focus on the one who needs me the most

  68. I really appreciated this post — thank you. My family has been blessed with sprit, and I often wonder if she may have SPD. Thank you for sharing your journey and struggle.

  69. Erin

    I cannot thank you enough for this post! The loneliness of parenting a sensory child can be intense. You’ve just made it a little less so. 🙂

    We have been on the downward spiral with our 5yo son since a few months before his 3rd birthday and just recently learned that he has a sensory integration disorder and anxiety issues. We have tried everything from yelling, punishing and taking away toys and privleges, to “soft talking”, discussing feelings and using behavior reward charts. And no, in our experience you can’t punish the ‘angry child’ out of a child who faces these challenges.

    We have him in therapy and are deploying as many of the ideas as we’ve been given by his doctors, but it wasn’t until I read this post and the one that preceded it that I actually felt less alone in this process. You understand and furthermore you are brave enough to share your experiences. So again, I say “thank you!”

    For so long I’ve felt like people look at my son (who is tall for his age, very bright and very verbal) and see a kid without any discernible scars or visible disabilities and just chalk his sudden, epic meltdowns up to bad parenting and a bratty kid. I want to scream from the rooftops that “this is so far from the truth!!!” They say he just needs to be disciplined more (read, spanked regularly). I want to ask, “would hitting you change your behavior? Would it help you to be slapped if you were under tremendous emotional and physical stress?”.

    My child is far from perfect, but on the whole, he is wonderful, not a brat! He loves telling jokes and is a huge fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Cosmos (he actually giggled and danced when he saw Venus in the night sky a couple of weeks ago). But in addition to all of this, his brain perceives loud or sudden noises as life threatening, he has difficulty knowing where his body is in relation to the rest of the world, and there are days where a light touch feels like a viscious assault to him. It’s exhausting for him to live like this every day and exhausting for us to help him manage it all.

    And to the posters with and without children who say that we are too quick to accept this diagnosis…There was nothing quick, glib or lazy about this. Our diagnosis comes by way of tests, pediatricians, and more than one therapist. And knowing what we are dealing with hasn’t let us off the hook in any sense, as some suggest. It merely put us on a path toward being able to better understand our child and help him learn to live in this world in some kind of harmony.

  70. melissa

    Major pet peeve of mine is people thinking there is this magical step to making a kid behave. You can’t MAKE a child behave. You can give your child the tools to be a good person and hope they use those as an adult. Thats it. If these people spouting “just spank em” took 10 minutes to read a child brain development book or do their own research they would get it.

    Spanking my kids makes me feel like crap and only makes me more mad. It doesn’t make sense for us.

    We are all trying our best and people on the opposite ends of parenting choices need to be respectful of that

  71. Roseann

    My whole life, I agreed with spankings and time outs…. I’m not sure what changed, but I do know that something happened. We (my husband and I) realized that the more our girls (ages 7yrs and 5yrs) could talk the more we understood the problems. My 7yr old is the one with more “issues” than her sister, we are now looking into Aspergers. She learned to find words to the feelings, telling me to touch her, noises were too much, but we knew about the foods since she was a baby. It took me till February of this year, 2015, to understand that her anger was part of the sensory. My husband is still having a hard time understanding the “issues” our girls have, he still wants to spank for everything, it’s how we were both raised. The more I research, the more I get it. Your post made me want to cheer, smile, laugh, cry, but mostly it made me happy that my daughter isn’t alone. She mostly isn’t alone because I’m now able to put names to what I’ve been feeling for years myself. Thank you. I’ll be 30 this year, and I finally understand myself more than ever. Funny how it took getting out of my home state to see the whole picture.

  72. Meagan

    First, thank you for posting all of these resources. Second, I can’t help but think of the Martin Luther King Jr quote, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Here, it is not hate, but pain– and pain cannot drive out pain. And our children are in pain–because their anxiety is too much, because the world around them is too much, because their negative feelings are too much. They can’t handle their emotions and need help, but putting more pain (by spanking) on top of their already pain-filled feelings will not drive their underlining pain away–only love will do that.

  73. lmilab

    I am so glad that finally after 9 yrs they found the cause of anger outbursts. I very much sympathize with you. My little guy is going to be 4 and we found that he has a form of SPD. Basically what we found is that he needs to have his sensory needs satisfied. We have rice bin, rock bin, playdough, drawing, jumping, and hard squishy 3-5 second hugs that help him. Hopefully you will find what works and helps your child to center himself and satisfy his sensory need.

    These needs need to be satisfied on top of the normal child developmental needs. Wishing you the best!

  74. Thank you for this post! I wouldn’t say I have an angry child but when he does get angry he becomes a completely different child (hitting, yelling, throwing things… he’s 5). He calms down easily enough once he is secluded in his room but getting him there is a challenge. I have tried spanking and it doesn’t work, I’ve tried slapping his hand when he hits me but it only seems to rev him up more. I’ve found that if I can stay calm and get him to his room then he gets better faster and will come and apologize. Now we are trying a reward chart, if he can go to his room when told he gets 2 stickers and if I have to take him he only gets one (only if he doesn’t hit). I remember in psych classes in college that positive reinforcement was the most effective. We still discuss the incident (how he could have handled it differently and what he did) and apologies are still given out but I praise him for keeping control of his body while he is angry rather than lashing out physically to those around him. We’ve only been trying this for several days but so far it seems to be helping a little bit. As soon as he begins to get upset we remind him that he can earn stickers if he follows directions and takes some space in his room. It’s not perfect but it’s one way that he can learn and if it doesn’t work we’ll keep trying new things. I never knew how challenging and creative parenting could be until I had kids (as well as a practice in constant patience).

  75. Melinda

    Spanking worked great for three of my kids…but not the fourth. They would get a little pop, reevaluate their choices, and move on. But by four years old, my fourth child was angry, hateful, throwing enormous tantrums and controlling our family. If you’ve never read about the five love languages, it’s worth picking up the book. What finally clicked to me was that touch was her love language. And therefore, spanking translated to hatred. It was never a form of discipline to her, it was (in her mind) a form of hatred, retaliation, and the very opposite of love. And all for what? Disobedience? I would never scream at one of my other children, “I hate you!” if they did something wrong. Or set some course of retaliation to make them pay for angering me. And yet, without my realizing it, that’s exactly what she was hearing. It was revolutionary. I chose other methods of discipline after that and things are 100% better. She’s not perfect, but I think she genuinely feels loved again because she is quicker to find remorse and acknowledge her wrongdoing entirely on her own. And now she equates her discipline with consequences, results of choices she made, rather than hatred or some personal vendetta of mine. Every kid is different and unique and beautiful. It’s worth discovering them more deeply…

  76. Jess D

    As i sit here reading this I sob. I am currently at my wits end. I have four girls (13,11,10,4) and am experiencing such outbursts of rage from our 4 year old that I am not sure what to do. Everyone assumes because I have four children and that the bigs don’t or have never had the fits she does that I should just know what to do.

  77. Lara

    Well done for writing this post. Must have made you feel a whole deal better 🙂
    There will always be people to judge you unfortunately – but they should be ignored!

  78. Adrienne

    I too have an angry child and will lend my voice in the “spanking doesn’t help” statement. The only thing that calms my angry child is love. If I get angry with him, he gets even more angry at the injustice of me spanking him and getting angry at him for simply being angry. Why is it ok for ME to be angry and not him?

    We are adults, they are children. Our sole purpose as a parent is to teach our children how to deal with the trials of life and if our response to bad behavior is always to spank, this teaches them that if someone is doing something they don’t like, it’s ok to hit them.

    I teach my son that it’s ok to be angry, but that he needs to learn to use his words and to get the angry feelings out of him in constructive ways.

  79. Hello,
    I really salute you for your effort and patience. You are an amazing mum.
    I agree with what you wrote. Spanking is never an answer to behavioral issues in kids.
    Someone once said “a person is a person no matter how small”. Imaging a policeman spanking an adult for having road rage. Ridiculous right yet we do it with our kids all the time. I believe when a parent spanks their child it is because they really have run out of option to control their child’s negative behaviour. And they themselves are experiencing anger.
    I’m a life coach and in coaching adults experiencing negative emotions such as anger, sadness, hurt, fear or guilt, we use a time line therapy based on Gestalt were by the adult is asked to asked to go on their time line to the first time they experienced the negative emotion and resolve it. The same process works with kids and it has proved to be very successful. The process is very brief, taking perhaps minutes the problem is dealt with at it’s root cause the whole chain (or Gestalt) of similar experiences or negative emotions can be purged, replaced by new powerful learnings.
    I hope this help, I wish you all the best. I know you’re on right track with you child.

  80. mirroria

    My husband is from a different culture, so his parenting techniques are a little different. In our house the TV is not allowed to be on while the child is awake and if we do have stimulation such as beeping toys or rattles it has to be set at the lowest setting and only one at a time. For now, that has seemed to help our child with tantrums. They have been WAY less. Now when he has a tantrum I know it’s food, sleep or needing attention.

  81. JeN Hoffman

    I have a 9 year old with the same issues. I have gotten so frustrated with her that I have tried your whole list as well, including spanking- all it does is make her more angry and me upset! She’s still angry and then feels like I have abandoned her when she needs me most. Keep writing! I love knowing that I am not alone! God bless you!

  82. Gigi Toman

    As a caregiver for children with multiple disabilities and sensory disorders, I can tell you….YOU ARE RIGHT ON THE MARK!!! Everything you write about in helping the child with their meltdowns is perfect in assisting the child through a very difficult time. Keep on spreading the word!!!

  83. Ali

    Just out of interest, have you tried intolerance testing or cutting out all numbers, gluten and /or dairy or even salicylates?

    I’m certainly no expert but read on nutrition and Childs health often as it’s an area I’m passionate about. I so often come across behavioral issues and how things greatly improve with change in diet and healing of guy health …. Blog Good Mood Food is fantastic insight.

    And BTW, yours posts are brilliant and you are doing an amazing job Mumma!

  84. Amanda

    Our 10 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD, ODD when he was 6. Within the last 2 years we have added Generlized Anxiety and Autism to that list. He is a challenge on a daily basis and I learn something new every day. He has been more of a challenge lately. I am to the point where I don’t know where to go from here. I am so glad I did a little research and found your posts. It gives me hope that there is more I can try and also gives me hope that we can be successful in getting our son where he needs to be to be all that he can be in this word! We just want him to be happy and that can be hard! So I want to give you a HUGE THANK YOU! I have heard so many time that my son needs to be spanked every day and then he wouldn’t act the way he does and I have had to learn to let those words just roll off my shoulder. It is good to know we are not alone.

  85. cindy

    i find that when we have hitting issues, the question – do i hit you? really stops him in his tracks. thank you for this, and i agree 100%.

  86. ann vasquez

    Just read this on Facebook. Great Post. Thank you so much. I am the mom of 5 and my midlife child is an Aspie. A very angry at times Aspie who is diagnosed as ASD/ADHD and could probably sometimes qualify as ODD. The labels are not an excuse they are a way for us to understand him. Parenting him like my other children was making him worse. In fact the research is showing that spanking and authoritarian parenting actually helps produce the ODD. (this came from our Stanford Autism Center therapist and parenting class not me). Here are two resources that helped us a great deal to change our style and have helped my son so much. Ross Greene The Explosive Child, and Jed Baker No More Meltdowns. Our emotionaly disregulated kids have skill deficits. Spanking is useless and can really make them worse. Thanks again for your brave post.

  87. I stumbled upon this post today and I want to cry…out of relief. We have the same struggles with our 7 yo. We have been in therapy for 2 years and he is on intuniv for ADHD meds, but it doesn’t help his mood swings. We are all just trying to keep out heads above water here and like you we have tried every form of “discipline” out there. Nothing every seems to work or it loses its effectiveness quickly.

    Thank you for sharing this information. Makes me feel a little less alone. Especially when school is calling me everyday and other parents are shaking their heads at us and he isn’t getting the playdates he so desperately wants. It is heart breaking.

    Thank you. Thank you!

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  89. Candipot

    I think spanking sucks! I have tried it too and it made me feel like a piece of rubbish. It made me feel like an abusive spouse who hits you to get their way and then says they are sorry afterwards and say they love you! It never works either! I absolutely hate it! I was spanked as a child and brought up in an age and place where spanking was the right way. Well it was not. I never trusted my mother because she spanked me when I was 3 years old and I never forgot it. So why was I so stupid as to try spanking my kids. Did I honestly think it would have a positive result? I was really pro spanking when I had my first kid. Being young and stupid! Needless to say that changed to – well maybe spanking is like a very last resort thing only if completely necessary – type of punishment. After my 2nd child who was an angry child and spanking proved useless yet again I really became anti spanking. But as someone who was brought up being spanked, I fail and I feel like an abuser now if I do spank as a last resort or out of pure lack of any other idea of what else to do or that natural built in, this is a spanking situation. After I have given that spank I think “REALLY!? YOU JUST SPANKED A SMALL KID! EXACTLY WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS HAS ACHIEVED!? Let’s see your kid is in tears and very angry with you, he won’t talk to you, he doesn’t trust you now… good move you IDIOT!” I wish I never knew about spanking, I wish I never spanked any of my kids ever! I wish I could erase spanking from my mind and I was to never spank my kids again ever! Spanking my kids is disgusting! I hate myself for ever having spanked them ever! it has never helped, it is a useless show of abusive, oppressive power. I feel like a failure knowing I have spanked my kids before ;(

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  91. Marcea

    I applaud your courage wiring this. People will always judge and have opinions they feel entitled to share. I was once consoling my son during his meltdown in a grocery store when a store employee (an older gentleman) said to me that it’s ok to spank him, that it’s what kids need once in a while. I calmly responded “my son has special needs. To spank him would be to punish him for something he can’t control”. Within a few minutes my son was better and the same employee said “wow that really worked, you must have a lot of patience”. I explained “I do, but more so for ignorant people like you who judge without knowing”
    We each walk our own journey and need to support each other in that journey with compassion. Thank you for raising this important topic.

  92. Kristi

    This is very good! More and more I think that we parents have to be the ones to understand what our children need — there is no one size fits all parenting approach since our children are unique.

    I’ve noticed that when my children are angry, it’s often because they feel hurt in some way. Spanking (or any kind of punishment) is the last thing they need in that situation.

    We give our kids consequences for disobedience. I think spanking is unnecessary after age 4 or 5 because there are better consequences to give. We found spanking (not hard, not in anger) to be a good deterrent for disobedience when they are younger, but the idea that it’s the way to make kids stop being angry is simply ignorant.

  93. Dawn

    You are right. Spankings don’t work. They just made my daughter MORE angry. Any kind of punishment provoked a revenge response. Empathy. Connection before correction. Calming exercises like deep breathing, soothing movement, and distraction work. Teaching strategies for self calming works.

    My daughter has a diagnosis, too. Clinical anxiety. In her case, medication helps. These diagnoses DO help! They help parents, teachers, and others understand the difficulties our children are experiencing. They help children get the help they need.

    Keep up the good work spreading actionable knowledge, and understand that those who advocate violence toward our children are coming from a place of ignorance.

  94. Kristin

    Definitely agree 100%! Love all your posts and find them helpful! Thank you for sharing.

    I wanted to send you a possible approach that I believe would go hand-in-hand with your strategies. It’s called the Nurtured Heart Approach. It’s absolutely amazing – in my 13 years as a school psychologist I’ve never found anything that reaches kids like this! (www.childrenssuccessfoundation.com)
    Best wishes!

  95. Jennifer Langer

    I agree that you can’t spank the organic brain disorder out of the child. To me, it’s like spanking a child who is teething and in pain. Makes no sense. Plus, I have never condoned spanking a child under any circumstances….I lost my self control out of exasperation once when my daughter was two and 1: It did nothing to help the situation (just made it worse); and 2: I felt such horrible guilt and shame for loosing my cool and doing that to her that I cried for a good half hour. Then apologized for the way I handled the situation. “What you did was wrong, honey, but the way mommy handled it was also wrong. And no matter what, I love you.” Of course she doesn’t remember, and probably didn’t even know what I was talking about, except that what she did was a no-no, but mommy still loves her. No, I agree that spanking s wrong, especially with kids who cannot control their anger under any circumstances.

  96. Denise

    You are absolutely right about this. That said, I’d like to offer one suggestion. Milk. Dairy products have a profound effect on the brains of some individuals, me included. When I was a child, and eating dairy products, I threw terrible tantrums and was angry a lot. Plus, I wasn’t hitting developmental milestones. My mom saw Dr. Lendon Smith on TV and decided to eliminate dairy from my diet. My tantrums decreased and my development sky-rocketed. Now, I have a couple of kids, and noticed one- the angry one – throws raging fits of shouting, spewing awful things, and slamming doors. I think it’s worse when she has dairy in the diet. Last week, she got some cheese on her “cheeseless” pizza at lunchtime; I have now canceled pizza for her at lunch. She’s been throwing fits and yelling, ever since, even forgetting that she threw a fit, later. No recollection of the yelling. You, obviously know your child best, but maybe eliminating dairy would help lessen the amount and intensity of the anger, like it does with mine. By the way, Oprah covered this topic about 20-30 years ago. There was a boy who got kicked out of school for throwing things like chairs, and having angry fits. After a doctor visit, the mother took her son off of milk and dairy products. At 12 years old, he said he could not explain why he acted the way he did; it’s like the dairy triggered a chemical reaction in the brain that he had no control over…..

  97. Mrs. P

    Thank you… I just discovered your site and have already (in about 10 minutes) found great tools and encouragement and feel as though you have walked in my shoes. I always feel very misunderstood as a mama and feel that my child is even more misunderstood. So again, thank you! For being someone out there who understands and who is advocating for all of us and our sweet kids.

  98. Thank you for sharing. It is so hard hearing from other people on how you should parent your child. I have an angry child as well but I do know the root of his anger and I’ve learned how to handle it. Yes i have been told spank him but spanking, I’m sure, would make the situation worse. I guess I’m just too empathetic. I too have anger and anxiety and I’ve learned how to handle it by learning what triggers it. My middle son is a high sensitive child as well as I was and I’m still high sensitive. Sorry this post was long. Thank you again for sharing your story with us.

  99. Tiffany

    Thank you for this post and your previous post. I’m probably going to spend my morning scouring your blog (I found this on Pinterest). My 5 yo has some anger issues, no other diagnosis that I can see, though. He seems to only get this way at home (our home life is less than ideal at the moment and so I understand). Spanking worked for my 7 yo and most of my friends tell me I should spank the 5 yo more. Except, it makes him more angry. Not upset, sad, or sorry. Angry. I love my baby and he constantly tells me how much he loves me, but when he’s angry, he’s threatened to hurt me and had actually tried to hurt me. Reading just two of your blog posts have made me feel like maybe I’m not a terrible mom with a disobedient little boy. So, thank you, again.

  100. Pingback: 13 Helpful Phrases to Calm an Angry Child - Lemon Lime Adventures

  101. Kae Partee

    Thank you! There more truer words to tell someone who finally gets it! I know now that I am not alone. I appreciate the resources on my son’s behalf; I am more committed to telling his story, and bringing awareness to his needs, and, NO, those needs will never involve spanking.

  102. Katie Smith

    Thank you so much for hitting the publish button. I have known for a while that my son has sensory processing disorder but the fact that he is angry quite often has confused me. When you gave the names of the other disorders (or maybe they’re part of SPD?), it makes sense. I figure my son was overwhelmed, but he absolutely has NO mood regulation. He can go from happy to a fit of rage in minutes and he breaks down crying saying he doesn’t understand why. Then I cry and we all cry together! Thank you for giving me the name of something I can take to my doctor. Thank you!!

    1. Katie,
      You are not alone! As I read your comment, it was as if I had written it. Exactly the same with my son! He also has Sensory Processing Disorder and we truly struggle with the mood regulation! As you said, he can go from a laughing, happy boy to angry and crying in seconds. (and yes, we have ended up crying together quite often!!)
      I have been SO worried about this as it comes and goes so often and many times without warning. Another thing is that he is super sensitive. We can be kidding around one minute and then he will take something said so personally and cry that nobody loves him or that we are all mean…. I wish things were easier for him!

  103. AMEN!!! Thank you so much for this post! I can absolutely relate to this. My son also has sensory processing disorder and has difficulty in various situations, as well. School and family get togethers are the most difficult. We
    have also tried many methods to get through emotional outbursts. Thank you for introducing me to the term Emotional Dysfunction–this explains a lot of his behaviors and right now is honestly the most difficult to help him through. It is refreshing to read about your understanding of this…it is hard to feel like other adults are constantly judging my son’s behavior.

    1. oops, I meant Dysregulated Moods..not Emotional Dysfunction….(although there is also that one..)

  104. Allison

    Thank you so much for this. My 4 1/2 year old son has been having problems at preschool with angry outbursts, hitting, kicking, screaming, spitting, etc. He has always had problems with what we thought were just transitions between activities and figured as he got older he would just grow out of it. Before children, I never believed in many of the emotional diagnoses. I thought they were made up disorders to provide an excuse for a child that misbehaved. Boy was I wrong. My son is the most loving, empathetic child when he is happy but when something sets him off and he is fight or flight mode nobody can even get through to him. He needs a distracting activity to help calm him. Tonight I’m going to go through the rest of your site to look for more ideas 🙂

  105. Nicole

    Thank you Sooooo much for this! I stumbled on your blog while searching Pinterest for ideas to help my child with sensory issues (It’s looking like anxiety too) Anyways I almost want to cry finding another mom with a child like mine. She’s five and has had anger issues since around age two. So many outburst daily. In public. I’ve recently had a friend mention spanking for her. I just told her Should I hit her to tell her not to hit? It doesn’t make sense to me! Thank you so much for this and your blog!

  106. Olivia

    Hi! Just want to give you a big hug 🙂 !
    My son gets angry at times & it can be explosive! He’ll scratch himself or hit himself. We’re in transition (living with grandma) while our house is being built and it’s taking a toll on him (and us all). I know it’s a lot of anxiety and wanting his own space and his lovely but often defiant sister doesn’t help the situation. Anyhow.. each child brings us so many great things but they can also bring along a lot of challenge. And as a high school sped teacher I know first hand that it’s not a one size fits all. My 10 year daughter is exhausting. I love her immensely but she is exhausting to parent. It’s a bummer you’ve gotten so much criticism on your parenting. You just need to do what works & there will be trial and error. We even tried to ignore all the shenanigans my daughter spewed out trying to give her a break from getting into trouble-it didn’t work so well.

    Thanks for the great calming idea. Now I just have to make sure he doesn’t throw it across the room at his sister 🙂 Take Care!

  107. Bid

    Yep I have an angry child too. The thing is, is that he is often angry, rude and defiant soon after I have spent valuable time doing an activity with him to prevent this try of sensory overload. So all my hard work in the morning doesn’t actually feel like it has done anything. I don’t know yet what calms him and I don’t know what triggers – well anything can. He’s 4 and all I can think of is that he is going to be an outcast. He’s going to be disliked. And he is going to be labeled by kids and their parents as the crazy kid.

  108. Allison Adams

    My son turned 9 last fall. He is extremely smart, excels in history and science, and likes to be involved and help with anything. He can be very caring. But often he can be angry, it goes like this… while playing a video game or spelling or math homework, if it proves very challenging or a difficult concept for him first he doesn’t want to do it, he procrastinates to extremes. Second he verbalizes very negatively about the topic. Finally I get him to try. I do my best to help him but often I can’t help him understand math. Often it does with him crying in anger and calling himself and the subject matter stupid, which I correct him on. I don’t let him call himself negative things. I have had him tested for autism and adhd as he constantly moves or fidgets and at times a disruption to schedule causes mayhem. He has neither. After reading up on his symptoms I am sure it is a sensory disorder. I am trying to learn everything I can on this so I can help him to learn skills to better help himself. I read articles on this everything I come across them. Thank you for continuing to post even with the negative comments.

  109. Jennifer

    I have a friend and she came over because her son was in a huge meltdown and upset the schedule was changed instead of him coming home getting his blanket. It took me to hold him tight and with me leg over his and to be able to rub his head and ignore the meltdown. He finally after 30 minutes of scream cry he calmed down and he ate at my house. There is no need to spank any child at all you use your words and find out what it is. We tell kids don’t hit well they hit. All your doing is teaching hitting is ok. I knew a kid who hit all the time and his behavior was bad and he hit other kids and dumped paint. He even laughed at my boss. My boss made him use a tooth brush clean the bus and he laughed until he had to do it. He cried after and came to me and wanted on my lap and we had a talk. He got switched to my boss and if he hit the older kids my boss made him clean and he cried. He learned how to behave and listen . I believed he was autistic he did lots of Simmons and he didn’t understand being corrected.

  110. Bernadette

    We have a 4-year-old with SPD and have tried to get our hands on everything possible to understand it. We have found hope in a book entitled “Almost Autism” by Maria Hong. She cured both of her children with SPD by healing their gut and changing their diet. We are slowly starting to implement her recommendations. She also discusses autism, asbergers, and ADHD among other disorders. I just thought I would throw that out there in case others are interested. Our son’s disorder has definitely affected how we parent/discipline him, but we have started to notice changes in his behavior just by changing his diet.

  111. Tamiko

    Oh my gosh! I’m screaming “Yes”. I went through many different ways to do like your list. I have tried it all. My daughter is 10. She is really truly angry child and she throws things at me and her younger sister. I tried to spank her like hell but it doesn’t work. Punishment and reward don’t work. Taking the electronics it privileges away don’t work. I know her well because underneath her she is very sweet and intelligent. She’s struggling with her frustration and anger. She has no control. Her anxiety is sky high. The calming effect works well when she is alone and quiet. She loves puzzles and reading and playing on Minecraft. When I read your post, I thank you for sharing because I’m single deaf mom of two. The struggles are hard. I went to all services with doctors and psychologists and counseling. My daughters are homeschooled. I’m glad that i don’t put them in public school because in my instinct when I first had her at the birth told me that my daughters don’t belong in public school due to bully and anger and anxiety. My prediction came true. Now I know why my daughter is like that because I notice of her sensitive issue with her physical. For instance, she freaks out every tiny insects that bother her but no she will scream. She knows that bugs don’t bother her but she’s sensitive. One day, a tiny whit feather was falling in front of her. She screams for life. She also doesn’t like to be touched unless she lets you. I cry many times in my mind and sleep because I feel lousy and failure. So I know your struggles because I understand. Hugs.

  112. shelly dent

    After being in relationship with him for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: drosedebamenspellhome@gmail.com you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CAN NEVER STOP TALKING ABOUT YOU SIR HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS:drosedebamenspellhome@gmail.com CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEM.,,..,,

  113. shelly dent

    After being in relationship with him for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: drosedebamenspellhome@gmail.com you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CAN NEVER STOP TALKING ABOUT YOU SIR HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS:drosedebamenspellhome@gmail.com CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEM.,,.,..,.,.,,..,

  114. Kari

    We have a daughter who has anxiety and is on the Autism spectrum. My husband and I are both teachers. We are amazed at the stupidity of people. People feel so sorry for kids with physical disabilities. Where does that sympathy go when your child has an emotional disorder? Our daughter has no filter and often says shocking things that get her in trouble and cause people to not like her. When she gets angry, she does not know how to handle her emotions, though she is rarely physical. She has gotten kicked out of gymnastics and school. My school, where I have taught for 20 years, decided they don’t want her. They made her out to be a monster. She never hurt anyone. She just said stupid things! We are looking at other options. She is so awesome and has so many talents and we just don’t want her emotional baggage to get in there way!

  115. shelly dent

    After being in relationship with him for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: drosedebamenspellhome@gmail.com you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CAN NEVER STOP TALKING ABOUT YOU SIR HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS:drosedebamenspellhome@gmail.com CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEM.,.,.,.,.,

  116. Kelly

    It is never OK to physically hurt a child. Any child, any personality, any medical diagnosis. IT IS NEVER OK. I appreciate this post but it just scares me that this is still a conversation. Where I live, and in many civilized societies, if you spank / beat / hit / kick / whoop / use any form of physical punishment against a child, you are breaking the law. You will be arrested for violating the rights of a child and their right to no bodily harm. If I see you do it or suspect it, I will call the police. Children deserve our respect. Children need our protection, not our violence. This is a basic human right.

  117. Nikki Moran

    This post is great and also very educational for those parents struggling. I was talking to a friend years back and the best advice she gave me on discipline was to do what works for YOUR child. Every child is the same and what works for one child may not work for another. She was absolutely right! For one of my kids, taking away her dance or gymnastics for the week would whoop her into shape, where if I told my son he couldn’t go to football that week he would be like eh whatever. Anyway I learned a lot and a book that I would highly recommend for anyone trying to figure out their kids or find what works, you need to read ” how to talk so kids will listen and how to listen so your kids will talk”
    Amazing book

  118. Mary

    Spankings didnt help me as a child it just hurt my feelings more and effected my self esteem. They didn’t understand why I acted out and neither did I. Now I know why. Through my children I have learned to help them and myself. Every situation and child is different. For my family it was realizing there were allergy sensitivities by doing IGG food sensitivity/ allergy testing. 4 years prior to that I searched out pure therapeutic grade essential oils to try a natural means of helping my child and our life has never been the same since. The changes in both occasions were an answer to my prayers and the changes in my child was what I had been so desperately looking for.

  119. Pingback: The Reason Your Kids Constantly Push Your Buttons (And what you can do about it)

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