Terrible Tantrums Tamed- A Shared Story

I recently received a newsletter from Karen Simmons, the Founder and CEO of AutismToday.com. In it, she addressed a situation of tantrums, and a simple technique she discovered that helped her to understand and to tame the tantrum issues that she was having with her own child. I would like to share her story here. You can also access her website for more stories, as she invites all parents to share theirs. Thank you, Karen, for sharing this with me so that I can pass it on to other parents.

You can read her story below.

Dr Paul


Looks can be deceiving.

It’s not fair, I’ve been stared at, demeaned and told to “Control my child” over the years. People are quick to make assumptions and quick to judge all within a few seconds.

When the screaming tantrums were at their worst I had to ignore those in public that might have thought Jonathan was abused. In fact, just the opposite was true. Our family has gone to great lengths to enable understanding, growth and love to thrive while managing the disability of our sons. There is only so much a Mother can do to keep an autistic child “under control.”

Still, I have to admit, it hurt to be judged prejudicially.

The problem is when you have a normal looking child, people assume they are normal and that the child’s outbursts must be a sign of bad parenting or some sort of abuse.

When Jonathan began early intervention, we faced many challenges. Jonathan would have terrible temper tantrums. He would drop to the ground screaming and kicking.  At the time, I didn’t know how to deal with this behavior. 

While he was in the fourth grade, Jonathan’s aide told me of a similar situation where Jonathan had a tantrum on the ground. This time he was kicking his arms and legs around silently.  His aide ignored him. 

Jonathan, shouted “”Mrs. Lorenz, didn’t you see that? I was very angry and I’m still angry.”” 

She continued to ignore him. She called his bluff so to speak.

That was the last temper tantrum he’s had since. 

The solution was as simple as giving Jonathan a choice. In the store he could either push the cart, or get into it. At school they gave him similar guidance with favorable outcomes.

Giving a choice worked like a charm!

All solutions have pros and cons. Follow up is critical for success. You must nip any residual “uprisings” appropriately. For instance, at school, there was a scrawling on the bathroom wall that said “Mrs. Lorenz is unfair to Jonathan” after his tempers subsided.

Gee, wonder who wrote that?

What rebellious behavior has your special needs loved one displayed?

How have you managed this behavior?

What worked the best to enable a more peaceful future?

Share your story now, go to:

Looking forward to your story!

Karen Simmons
Mother, Wife, Author, Founder & CEO of AutismToday.com
P.S. Try these tips, strategies, and tools to help cope with temper tantrums.



Reply To This Post