Diagnosis

Sure, some kids are born with quicker fuses, but anger can be managed, and tempers can be controlled.And more often than not, quick tempers are learned.The statements that follow describe behaviors usually displayed by kids who flaunt quick tempers and have poor self-control. How many of these behaviors are indicative of your kid?

□ Frequently interrupts or blurts out answers or questions

□ Has troubling waiting her turn

□ Becomes physically agitated, red-faced, starts hyperventilating, or can't think straight

□ Has difficulty managing her own impulses and urges; sometimes needs adult help

□ Has trouble calming down when excited, frustrated, or angry

□ Blows up, has angry outbursts, or loses control quickly

□ Resorts to using physical aggression, such as hitting, kicking, fighting, or pushing

□ Behaves recklessly

□ Needs reminders, coaxing, or reprimands to control temper

□ Has difficulty bouncing back from an upsetting or frustrating situation

How does your kid typically display his quick temper?

Why. Why does your kid have this attitude? Why has he learned that flaunting his temper is effective in getting his needs met? Could he be copying someone's behavior? Does he know how to calm down? Is there a change in your family that might be causing undue stress? Is anything going on at school that might be creating extra pressures on him? Is there any trouble with relationships, romantic and otherwise? If your child is older, have you ever smelled alcohol on his breath? Is he frustrated, picked on, overwhelmed, oversched-uled, needing attention, or physically tired? Does he feel he isn't being listened to? Might he be feeling powerless or depressed? Might a bad-tempered attitude be a way to vent his frustrations?

What. Are there particular issues or things he usually gets more upset about? Are they about a conflict with a sibling, homework, chores, a tight schedule? Watch your kid's outbursts closely over the next week. Consider tracking the frequency of incidents on a chart, on a calendar, or in a journal. It may help you tune into what may be provoking the outbursts.

Who. Does he display the same quick temper to everyone? Are there some individuals he does not flare his temper toward? If so, who? Why not? Who does he yell at? Is there someone he does not get so irritated at? For instance, does he yell at his friends, siblings, teacher, you, your partner?

When. Is there a particular time of day, week, or month your kid has a quicker temper? Is there a reason? Also ask yourself when this attitude started. Has your kid always had a quick temper, or are you noticing that she is more upset lately? Why the change? Could it be a sign of trouble in school? With friends? A problem at home?

Where. Are there certain places she is more likely to be more quick-tempered (at school or day care, home, the store, a sporting event, scouting, Grandpa's, with the kid next door)? Why do you think this is so?

Now take a look at your answers.Are you seeing any predictable patterns? Do you have any better understanding of this attitude and where it's coming from?

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