But some kids (and even adults) still need to work on self-control. No one in the family should “lose it” regularly. Here are some ways you can help at each age:

  • Six- to nine-year-olds understand that behavior is a choice. They also know that behavior has consequences. If your child is worried that he’ll have an outburst, suggest that he imagine a stop sign, or simply walk away and relax.
  • Ten- to twelve-year-olds realize that feelings have causes. It can help if your child stops to consider, “Why am I so upset? Is this situation as bad as it seems?” Explain that, often, the answer is no. Advise your child to think before acting.

As your child gets older, weigh the pros and cons of decisions together. Hold him responsible when he loses control. Compliment him when he doesn’t! Meanwhile, set a good example. When you lose your temper, apologize and change for the better.

If your child has frequent, lengthy tantrums (lasting more than 10 minutes), talk with a professional.

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