Dealing With ADHD Outbursts and Tantrums

Annie BardonskiAnnie Bardonski
Mar 2, 2018

One of the symptoms many children and adults with ADHD face is ADHD outbursts and tantrums. However, there are ways for both parents and adults living with ADHD can help to prevent these sudden outbursts.

Dealing With ADHD Outbursts and Tantrums

I would like to start out, by saying as always, that I have ADHD so a lot of the things that I talk about in these videos, I relate to and go through.

As you may know, people who have ADHD tend to be impulsive because well, that’s a big part of having ADHD, and with that, it can be hard for us to regulate our behavior, especially when our stress is pushed to the limit.

Tantrums in ADHD Children

In children, ADHD tantrums are something that you’re most likely going to have to deal with. Now, obviously, a lot of kids have tantrums, but like I said, especially in an ADHD child. That is something that you’re going to have to learn to cope with.

And just so you know, if you are a parent of a child who has ADHD, their tantrums and outbursts say nothing about your parenting skills. It doesn’t mean you aren’t handling things correctly. It’s just a symptom of ADHD. It just goes along with it.

Stick to Your Original Answer

There are ways that you can learn to cope with these ADHD tantrums because all behaviors can be learned through practice over time.

For example, it’s really important to stay consistent with your child. If they ask you for something and your answer is no, then stick with no. They may ask you over and over and over again to try to get you to change your mind, but by sticking with your answer, the child with ADHD will indeed come to respect that over time because you’ve stayed consistent.

People who have ADHD do need consistency because we have so much going on in our head. So we need that sense of security and reliability in our lives. And ADHD outbursts aren’t just something that children deal with. Adults who have ADHD deal with them as well.

Outbursts in Adults With ADHD

In adults, ADHD outbursts come in the form of anger and frustration, and it’s not because we are immature or feel entitled, but they happen because ADHD can be challenging to deal with.

We have difficulties paying attention and staying focused, so we often miss valuable information. It can be challenging to keep organized. We can be forgetful, forget due dates, forget to pay bills. And these things can happen regularly and unintentionally.

We can honestly be trying our hardest to do the right thing and stay on track and pay attention and sometimes it just doesn’t work. And that can be really frustrating. So of course, as you can imagine, the stress of having these things happen over and over again can from time to time cause us to emotionally snap. You know, it’s like sensory overload.

Heightened Emotions and Sensitivity

A part of having ADHD involves having heightened emotions and sensitivity. So people who have ADHD can tend to feel emotions more strongly than those who don’t.

Side note, I have had adult ADHD outbursts. They don’t happen very often at all, but they do happen. But under intense stress, it is something that occasionally happens to me, and it does resemble a tantrum, an adult tantrum.

Like I’m pretty level-headed and easy going, but when pushed to my limits, it does happen. It’s like you just emotionally boil over the edge, and things pile up and you just kind of explode.

How to Prevent Meltdowns

But we can learn ways to help prevent meltdowns. Practice meditation and breathing and yoga. Anything that helps with stress management is your friend.

Start noticing and paying attention to the feelings that you get before an outburst. Like when you’re starting to feel that anxiety, increased heart rate, and all the other little things that lead up to your breaking point and when you notice those symptoms, know that that’s when you need to step back and take a break and breathe and calm down.

Exercise is a fantastic way to de-stress. Also eating healthy foods, getting sleep, anything that is self-care.

Another thing that has been good for me, and it’s not something that comes naturally to a lot of people who have ADHD but try to get into a routine and have a structured day. Make lists, it takes a lot of effort, but it does help.

Self-help books have been such an excellent tool for me, highly highly recommend. They’ve seriously transformed my life, so maybe they could help you, too. But if you have a loved one who has ADHD, just try to be supportive and patient and understanding and consistent. And if you have ADHD, learn to breathe. Be easy on yourself, and always strive for self-improvement.

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