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Tantrums in a 10 year old?
Is this normal behaviour?

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:13 PM

My eldest is 10 and from about 2-3 years old has always been what I term 'high maintenance'. She is prone to throwing massive tantys when she doesn't get her own way, she's tired, hungry or things just aren't right for her.

An example of this is I recently asked her to empty the dishwasher, which is a regular chore for her during the week but this was school holidays and it wasn't 'her day'. So she had a total meltdown. Screamed and yelled at me that she hated me, didn't want to live in our house any more, slammed her bedroom door shut and stomped around, and the bit that bothered me the most was that she screamed that she wanted to die. 15 minutes later, she had calmed down and I asked her to come out and help with dinner, which she did very willingly and she agreed her behaviour wasn't appropriate.

Last year, DH got a call to pick her up from after school care because she was having a major tantrum. Her sister had accidentally stepped on her foot and DD#1 went mad at her; screaming and yelling that she was going to kill her and trying to hit her. SHe had to be physically restrained by the afters staff and calmed down by a school teacher (who luckily was still at school) separate from the other kids until DH turned up. I later realised as I unpacked her lunch box that she hadn't eaten ALL day, except breakfast that morning.

Obviously these are two of her more extreme tantys, but at least weekly she'll have a minor tanty about something. Today it was because I wouldn't let her take chips to school for recess... 20 minutes of whinging is enough to drive me crazy! (We don't normally have chips in the house but DH had taken the kids away for the weekend and they'd had treats for the car).  

She is doing reasonably well (academically) at school and has started to finally settle down a bit more as in previous years she was quite troublesome at lunch/recess. She likes the other kids to play her games, her way, and wasn't keen to have someone disagree or want to do something else. She seems to be better at this now but still has off days here and there.

Should I be concerned about this sort of behaviour in a 10 year old? It upsets me that she yells about killing and wanting to be dead, but I wonder if it's one of those things that kids say and don't really understand? Some of her behaviour I attribute to being a pre-teen and beginning to develop physically, but still inside a quite immature mind that still believes in Santa etc and happily plays dolls etc. I'm just not sure what to think, and some days I am just so sick of listening to her whinging and throwing tantys, so please offer your thoughts...

#2 DM36

Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:59 PM

I have an almost 10 year old and while I get the occasional eye roll from her and we argue a lot of the time, her behaviour is far from chucking tantrums, even at her worst.

To be honest OP I'd be taking her to your paed straight away, that just doesn't seem like normal 10 yr old behaviour to me, especially the fight with her sister at school and the teachers having to restrain her.

#3 baddmammajamma

Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:21 AM


I strongly, strongly, strongly echo what pinkplane has written. When an issue is at the level where it regularly and detrimentally affects a child and/or her family, it's time to get professional guidance from a qualified expert.

I would suggest that you ask your GP for a referral to a developmental paediatrician and/or a good clinical psychologist (the two often work hand in hand). You will probably have a lesser wait with the psych, as developmental paeds are notorious for having long waits (though don't let that deter you from booking in with one -- you might luck out & get someone else's cancelled appointment).

If you have a sec, please take a moment to read the thread below -- about the importance of seeking support when you have concerns about your child's development (hope this link works!):


I'm not a medical professional or behavioral specialist, but I am a mother of a little girl who has struggled with some of the same things you describe. I don't think it's fair to our girls to just hope that they will outgrow their issues -- especially when there are good professionals out there who can give them (and us as parents) support.

Good luck. I feel for you, as it can appreciate how hard it must be for you to see her struggle.

#4 mumto3princesses

Posted 14 November 2012 - 01:04 PM

Wow OP you could have been describing my DD3 ( nearly 9yrs)!!

We have had major meltdowns from her were she will just snap and carry on very very similar to what you described. She also has anxiety over noises and will often just snap and have a full on tantrum as soon as we get in the car or home because her day was horrible due to other kids being too noisey. It takes almost nothing for her to snap. Her poor sisters have been hit in the car for even just looking at her.

We took her to see a Developmental Paediatrician not too long ago and the results actually surprised us. There could be an issue of some kind or it could be a simple problem like DD3's. We were actually worried she may have had ADHD like her twin sister. But DD3 has constipation problems which he said can give them behaviour issues and anxiety (which she also has). We also discovered she has reflux pain which we had no idea she had and he said that can also cause behaviour problems and anxiety. He said we may need to see someone about her anxiety if it doesn't improve but he was pretty sure we would get improvement by getting on top of the constipation and reflux pain.

Its been about a month now and we are actually seeing some improvement. original.gif

Edited by mumto3princesses, 14 November 2012 - 01:07 PM.

#5 Carmen02

Posted 14 November 2012 - 01:18 PM

it is a tough age! my 10 yr old does chuck tantys she isnt a huge yell and screaming girl but she is very nasty when she gets worked up! She is 11 in April Ive actually put it down to hormones being crazy for her..she does also have trouble with the school work! It would be worth checking it out OP..my DS's have both seen a developmental paed and they do help heaps

#6 kadoodle

Posted 22 November 2012 - 08:17 PM

My DD1 is so similar.  She's always been high maintenance, is very clingy and anxious, socially immature, chucks massive tanties and can be more hard work than my other 3 combined.  

We've seen a developmental paed and psych, had therapy, speech therapy, fine motor support and social skills support.  She has "ASD tendancies", an aural processing delay and some pain issues with osteoarthritis.

I find her behaviour is at it's worst when she's hungry, tired or coming down with something.  Major bad behaviour also when I'm sick or otherwise less available.  Her anxiety really dialled up recently when her class had a supply teacher for a fortnight when her regular teacher broke her ankle and couldn't attend school.

Good luck, OP.  I'm dreading the teenage years, lol.

#7 Escapin

Posted 22 November 2012 - 08:26 PM

I was going to write something flippant about just making sure she's eaten, but then considering I have had anger issues right into my 30s, I echo PPs to get her some help. It's not a fun way to live.

#8 Freckles

Posted 24 November 2012 - 10:08 AM

My DS is 10 and certainly the moods have increased in the last year or so. He's never been a tanty chucker so we don't have tanties, but he is certainly more moody. However I have to agree with PPs that it's worth getting it investigated. It does sound rather extreme and it's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your kids IMO.


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