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Meltdowns & Tantrums 101: Share Stories, Frustrations, Tips, and Advice

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Members of our wonderful group have posted many personal stories about meltdowns, offered helpful tips, reached out to each other for support and shared helpful information and resources.

Get started with these 5 tips then click below to find more:

1. Be Proactive

~ Use these tools to stop meltdowns before they begin: Take note of what triggers meltdowns so you can avoid those places/behaviors/situations, set a schedule and explain expectations to your child, be clear about consequences.

2. Use Distraction

~ Try to head off tantrums before they occur by distracting your child with something they like -- a book or favorite toy, a calming exercise or game.

3. Pick your battles

~ If your child is in a safe place, sometimes allowing the meltdown will help it end sooner.

4. Ignore others

~ Public tantrums can be particularly frustrating.  The best thing you can do is focus on your child and what you need to do for them and ignore everybody else.

5. Use rewards

~ Encourage good behavior with a rewards program.

Click here to find even more tips and advice for handling tantrums and meltdowns, or share your own in the replies below!

Need advice on a specific issue?  Start a post to share your story and receive support!

by on Dec. 15, 2011 at 7:56 PM
Replies (41-50):
by on Jul. 21, 2012 at 11:13 PM
1 mom liked this

wow...if only i had this available to me 8 years ago when i was on the floor crying and about to pull my hair out.  thankfully, i picked my self up and didn't lose any hair.  now, my daughter is 12 and i am just glad i can get on here now...right before the teen years.  :) 

by on Jul. 26, 2012 at 7:51 PM

I have a friend whose son is on the severe end of the spectrum and I was wondering if someone could help me understand more about meltdowns vs. tantrums... please?!?!

by on Aug. 9, 2012 at 4:50 PM

My son had a meltdown so bad today it left me sitting on the pavement crying. I've never had an emotional reaction or breakdown due to one of his meltdowns until today. I think for the first time I've realized I can't handle my own child in public. My daughter is almost two and may also be on the spectrulm, I absolutely love my kids but some days I want to pull the covers over my head and not deal with the day.

by on Aug. 9, 2012 at 4:52 PM

My son was severe now more moderate, and a tantrum vs meltdown depends on length and severeity. A tantrum is distractable and a meltdown is a full blown emotional attack.

by on Aug. 14, 2012 at 11:33 AM


Why don't you try using a timer for 15 minutes,when the timer goes off she has to turn off the computer.If she does this she gets praise and is able to pick something else to do for an hour then back to the computer for 15   the timer. This should only be allowed 4 times a day and the time can be for as long as you want or as short a time but must be consistent. Good luck! I know it's very hard. Have you considered getting hormone shots so she doesn't menstruate,it really helps with the tantrums.

by on Aug. 22, 2012 at 3:14 PM
1 mom liked this

i have a 14yr old son who has meltdowns. i dont know what brings them on or how to handle it. i try to ingore it . some time they last for longtime. i dont what to medicated him because all sign affects.

by on Sep. 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM

My grandson who has been diagonised wi Autism struggles with this. During his 1st & 2nd grade he attended a charter school, The 3rd grade was a public school and found was just to overwhelming for him.

He is in the 4th grade now & back at the charter school. There are only 16 in his class now. We still have overload issues but the school has an open door policy. Since I am retired, I can go into the classroom & help. They didn't allow that in the public school and he was micro-managed. We also struggle wi zoning out when he thinks he already knows it & is bord. Then he will miss something impt because he isn't listening. It's a work in progress. You might want to investigate charter schools in your area.

Kind Regards,



by on Sep. 15, 2012 at 12:12 PM
I know it is can be and will be at times. What sets us aside from regular parenting are the constant challenges we face everyday. We have to be extra patient and convince ourselves that he/she is communicating the only way they know how. It is our job to learn and teach ourselves everything about autism. The constant tantrums and aggressive outburst are all common behaviors in autism. Never to take them personal but a perfect time for you to learn from your child. I too have a child with these behaviors. I also felt scared, confused and hopeless but I learned through ABA courses that you need to focus on the behavior and not on your child.
After he was diagnosed with autism at 24 mths, he began to recieve ABA services as well as Speech and OT through our local regional center. After a few weeks his aggressive outburst decreased and he began to communicate more with less frustrations. He is now speaking more and understands that when he has his tantrums he won't get what he wants untill he calms down and request it.
Hope this is helpfull. I am still learning but believe me you will get through it. You need to request help. We can't do it on our own. You are your childs biggest advocate. Ask about services around your county. Every county has a regional center, call them and ask about autism services. Most states now are mandated to offer ABA services through private insurance too.
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by on Sep. 18, 2012 at 9:04 AM

I understand this completely!  My daughter is 12 and it's been a constant problem for her.  I realized early on that picking my time to address it was crucial. If I address things like screaming at someone or ugly behaviour BEFORE late afternoon, it generally goes well as long as I watch my tone and the length of my address.  If it is after school or during a time of getting out of the house?  Forget it.  It's too much for her and a meltdown will occur.  For my daughter, it is all about me being in control of myself so that I don't provoke a terrible response.  My other daughter now understands that I WILL address the matter (especially when it's been a personal affront to her) when the time is right.  It takes a lot of patience and self control from all of us.  I wish I could say I did it better than I do. 

by on Sep. 19, 2012 at 11:23 PM

I don't really know any advice for you, but I do feel your pain. We had a very tough day at our house today. I am just so tired of all of this! I need a brea for real.

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