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Child Throws Tantrums When Disciplined

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: What do you do when your child hits and screams at you when you try to discipline him?

A: It would help if I knew what the age of the child was and what you are attempting to discipline him for when he acts this way. I am going to assume this is a young child we are talking about and my answer will reflect that assumption.

Disciplining a child while he is throwing a tantrum and/or hitting and screaming is impossible, so don't even attempt it. Say to the child in a firm voice, while restraining him from hitting you if he follows you around, "I know you are very angry and out of control now,don't hit me because you're hurting me and making me unhappy". Let him have his screaming fit, remove yourself physically from him and do not allow him to hit you.

Discipline should provide the child with natural consequences, not punishment, for his actions and should be given when both of you can hold a peaceful conversation.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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