Parent temper tantrums

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Parent temper tantrums

It's not a question of if we lose it with our children, but when. Parenting is so difficult and so stressful, that losing it every once in a while will happen to all of us. By losing it, I mean, screaming and throwing an adult temper tantrum. How can we move on, pick up the pieces, and not feel like we've traumatized our children? If children own parent's feelings while they are losing it, that can be problematic. They feel like they deserve to be yelled at, that they are bad because they caused their mom to be mad. We help this by owning our own process and helping support the child's feelings. Examples are, "Wow, you got really scared when I yelled at you. You didn't deserve to be yelled at like that. I have to figure out a way to let you know I am mad without scaring you." Or, "I'm still learning how to show you I am mad without hurting your feelings. You didn't like it when I yelled." When a child hears that a parent is saying that it is their problem and not the child's, their self-esteem can be preserved. They gradually learn that we are not perfect and we are still learning. Throughout this whole process, they are still loved.

Watch Barbara Olinger, MSW's video on Parent temper tantrums...


Expert Bio

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Barbara Olinger, MSW

Family Consultant

Barbara Olinger has her Masters in Social Work and has worked with children and families in both educational and therapeutic settings for over 35 years. This has included being a Child and Family Therapist, the Supervising Clinician in an outpatient mental health clinic, a co-founder of a co-operative preschool, and Director of Family Development at the YWCA Santa Monica / Westside. In her current private practice, Barbara focuses on parent education and support for parents of children ages 1-10 years old and preschool teacher training. She offers on-going groups, individual/couples sessions, a monthly Dads Group, workshops on a variety of parenting topics, and phone consultations. Barbara has two sons, 29 and 26 years old.

The roots of healthy development begins with having our needs met. This is a requirement for growth: to separate, to feel confident physically, emotionally and socially, to gain a healthy sense of self, to be able to become compassionate. When our needs are supported, we develop from a foundation of trust- in our relationships and in our exploration of the world.

Strong families are built on a foundation in which development is understood and celebrated, mistakes are allowed, feelings are validated and connecting with others is emphasized. Parents can set limits with behavior while supporting needs in a way which promotes learning and self-esteem.

During this whole parenting journey, it is crucial to be conscious of our own needs and to take care of ourselves. Sharing our fears and anxieties about parenting with others can help us realize we all feel vulnerable at times and this can provide a space for growth and connection. Every parent need support!

Barbara’s parenting book “Growing From the Roots” and two DVDs (“Growing From the Roots” and “Welcoming Your Second Child”) are available through

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