How to Stop Children from Getting Mad when They Can't Get Their Way
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Children naturally fight for their desires.

Babies come with needs and desires that are honored from the day they are born. As babies grow into toddlers, their world opens up a bit and begins to change. Suddenly, parents begin to say, "No," when situations are unsafe or when circumstances warrant it. Children are naturally resistant to this word and will fight for their own self-centered desires and views. Parents must teach their children how to cope positively when they don't get what they want. This takes time, patience and consistency, but will result in well-adjusted children who understand the world is full of limitations and rules.


  1. 1
    Be firm and consistent. Sometimes the immediate reaction to a child's every request is, "No!". Parents should think about it before automatically denying each request. When children constantly hear the word "No" for every inquiry, it begins to lose its effectiveness. Once you've determined that your child's request must be denied for good reasons, say "No" and mean it. Most children will follow up with a series of pleading, begging, whining or other means. Do not let your child convince you to change your mind.
  2. 2
    Follow your answer with a reasonable explanation. Perhaps your child can't sleep at a friend's house because you have to get up early the next morning for a soccer game. State your reason once and avoid getting into a back-and-forth argument with the child. If she continues to pursue the issue, implement an appropriate consequence. Even young children deserve an explanation. Tell your toddler why she can't take all of the cans out of the cupboard or why it's not safe to touch the hot stove.
  3. 3
    Teach your child that his or her emotions are normal and acceptable by saying, "It's okay to feel angry, frustrated or disappointed, but it's not okay to throw a tantrum when you feel that way." Give your child some other ideas for coping skills, like taking a few deep breaths or going somewhere to be alone for a few minutes when she feels her emotions taking over.
  4. 4
    Use time-outs. When you say "No" and your child refuses to stop the behavior, continues to argue or starts throwing a tantrum, calmly place your child in a safe spot for a designated time frame. Typically, kids should stay in time-out one minute for each year of age. So, a 4-year-old would stay in time-out for four minutes. As your child grows, you can change the rules by allowing him to come out of his time-out space when his emotions have calmed down. Then, follow up with a discussion of why the child was placed in time-out and how he might cope better next time.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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