Home » Parenting » Alfie Kohn » What Should I Do If My Child Suddenly EXPLODES with EXTREME Behavior Issues?

What Should I Do If My Child Suddenly EXPLODES with EXTREME Behavior Issues?

What if your child is throwing things, breaking things, ruining things, on purpose? What if your child harms others badly, on purpose? What if your child yells loudly and angrily? What if your child verbally attacks you or others? 

I have seen much about how you are the parent so you need to learn to control your child’s behavior, and about discipline and rewards and punishment. I do not like those. I am working on NOT using those strategies. In fact, I am working on ceasing to think in terms of “HOW TO CONTROL A CHILD’S BEHAVIOR,” because controlling my child can no longer be my goal. It does not ultimately work. Instead, helping my child to innately (with no reward or punishment) want to be a better person, who is kinder and does not have explosions, even when no authority figure is present, is my goal.

There could be many reasons why your child is having explosions. It is likely for a different reason every time. Getting to the bottom of it is important. How can you find a solution without knowing what the problem is? This is how I begin, every time (it is probably one of these). It is usually one of the first ines listed. Go in order. I have tried to put them in the most likely order.

1) Has the child has been eating too much fat, sugar, junk food, red 40 or other dyes, preservatives, additives or microwaved foods lately? Has the child had enough water lately? Has the child been eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables, fiber, whole grains, vitamins, minerals, protein, iron, calcium  magnesium, and so forth, lately?

2) Has the child been getting enough sleep, rest and exercise lately?

3) Has this child been injured, in pain, sick, constipated, or other similar item? Is your child currently effected by this?

4) Have you or your spouse been giving the child daily or regular one on one time with just you or just his or her dad?

5) Is your child lacking in slow, unstructured outside-in-nature (nature exposure) time? Is your child overscheduled with lessons, workshops, classtime, homework, practices, games, church functions, etcetera? If you have gone trick-or-treating for 3 hours straight with a child who is 7 or under, that is too much structure. If your child has been sitting still for almost 6 hours straight at school  that would be too much structured time. If your child comes home from school and goes to piano lessons, then soccer practice, then out to eat with you, that is too much structure time. If you are on a vacation in Disneyland and have been go, go, going for one week straight, that is WAY TOO MUCH STRUCTURE TIME, whether disguised as “fun” or not! Is it near APRIL and test-taking month for your child? That alone is way too much for kids, whether other adults prescribe it or not! If you are not opting out of the tests because you want to help the teacher or the school  please consider putting your child’s needs first and the teacher’s and school’s 2nd and 3rd. 

6) Has your child been witnessing confusion, chaos, messy house or stress? Is your child feeling pressure of stress about something? Is he or she having worry issues?

7) Has your child had too much media or technology time lately?

8) Is your child old enough that it could be something to do with puberty?

9) Who has your child been socializing with lately! What is their behavior like? (Even adults, like grandparents and parents have behavior issues). Has your child been having too much or too little social time lately? Social time with a person who is fun and has kind, positive, happy, moral and good behavior, is a plus!

10) I am sorry to have to ask this, but it’s out there. Has your child been physically, emotionally, socially or  sexually abused, ever? Perhaps, discuss it, help it end, if it hasn’t! Even if you do not think this has happened, ask! Don’t assume it has never happened. If you don’t ask, they may never say anything!

11) Is your child addicted to anything (food, drugs, alcohol, pornography, social media, video games)? is anyone in your family? These affect everyone in the family, even if they aren’t aware.

12) Does your child have siblings? It could be sibling rivalry. Ask and observe. Be careful not to compare your child to his or her sibling(s), ever! Do not play favorites! Celebrate uniqueness and love them unconditionally.

13) Tell your child you love him or her. I hope you do! If not, that is the underlying issue, for sure! Ask your child what it is that is causing this behavior. Have a good long talk. Be the parent you dreamt of when you were a child.

14) If you passed all of the above, it is likely the behavior has stopped, because you have had to talk and ask some things. Usually that will trigger some good behavior replacing the bad behavior!


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