Managing Emotional Outbursts

Managing Emotional Outbursts

An emotional outbursts is a sudden, strong show of emotion caused by strong or powerful feelings. An emotional outburst can expose you, especially if you've kept your feelings hidden and aren't used to letting people know how you feel. You might have been taking on too much. You were stressed and angry but still wanted to be a good team player.

Then you miss an important family event because of your work, and that's the last thing you can take. You feel very angry, and your feelings come to the surface. Before you know it, you've told everyone everything. You've lost control of your feelings. Emotional reactions are normal and normal, but you may not have to feel so overwhelmed.

'"Mom, I HATE YOU!"

The words cut through my heart like a knife, and many other feelings came with them. Shock, uncertainty, pain, shame, and the feeling that I had failed. After all, if my six-year-old is angry enough to yell those horrible words at me, I must be a bad mother. I tried to get him to eat dinner, but he was all over me. I felt like a failure and couldn't believe it. We were the best of friends. What went wrong?

First of all, these emotional outbursts, including verbal ones, happen to even the best of moms. The important thing is how we react to them moving forward. As a new mom expecting more kids, I refused to allow the same mistakes to happen again. As I dove deeper into my psychology field, I learned vital lessons on responding to emotional outburst. I have a completely different perspective, and I'm so excited to share it with you today.

Realization 1: 

Remember that when your child has a burst of rage, they're likely expressing anger and frustration rooted in something they lack awareness of. A child's intelligence develops emotionally first. They learn how to express their feelings before they grow the skills to understand a situation logically. 

Without realizing the root cause of their anger, they lash out without reason. It's a habit carried on from when they were babies and couldn't speak or express their emotions with words at all. We could only cry when they didn't feel good as babies. And certainly, infants are not always aware of why they are irritated. 

So remember, even when your child can speak and move at a young age, they still lack the awareness we have as adults in understanding our feelings. They act them out. Their trouble in understanding the underlying cause, which can lead to emotional outbursts, can bring out even more frustration. And it's our responsibility as parents, as the ones with awareness, to help them gain the skills to analyze their experience and identify the cause of their emotions.

Realization 2: 

When a child has a strong expression, they're looking for a strong reaction because they want your attention. Again, without them realizing it, they look to you for guidance in coping with their feelings. It further confirms that how we react is just as important, if not more. 

So, how do we respond positively to an outburst from our kids?

Remain calm, stable, and steady.

As parents, we are the guardians of our children, meaning they look to us for guidance whether they realize it or not. If your child screams at you and uses foul language like, "I hate you," don't level up with them. 

Maintain that you are the calm, stable, and steady person in their lives, especially during emotional outbursts. Shock them with great self-assurance and maintain a stable, steady response. It is not to say you accept that behavior from them. But chastising them with the same level of anger only models them to repeat it in the future. On the contrary, maintaining calm and self-assurance during emotional outburst is a great model of behavior for them to adopt, so they will react well when someone else says something inflammatory to them.

Prove that you love them unconditionally. 

While the behavior isn't acceptable, remaining calm in your firmness will, in turn, make them more calm. On a subconscious level, they will feel more calm knowing they are being cared for by a stable, reliable parent who doesn't turn hateful in moments of stress. While the truth of our unconditional love always remains in moments of anger, your child will be more self-assured and confident that you love them unconditionally.

Don't read too much into it, and move on. 

Knowing the above, it should be easier to not take outbursts so personally to the point where it dismantles your self-confidence as a mother. Once the issue is addressed, release the emotions associated with the event and move on without allowing it to affect you further. Otherwise, these moments build up to create more emotional baggage and issues in the future. By making it a point to move on and learning how to control emotional outbursts, you also teach your child the lesson that acting in anger is fruitless.

The Benefits of Following these Principles:

  • It builds emotional strength as a mother to remain calm and confident. 
  • It's a good model for your child and how they should react when someone says something inflammatory. 
  • For the child, it assures them that we love them unconditionally.
  • As parents, we immediately de-escalate the situation to stop them from pushing our buttons. 
  • As parents, it teaches our children that we do not grant them attention or emotional reciprocity when it's seen negatively.


Your feelings, including emotional outbursts, are real and normal. How you talk about and act on these feelings may depend on how well you can control your emotions. Having trouble controlling your feelings, especially uncontrolled emotional outburst, can be hard for you and the people around you.

You can learn how to control your feelings. Helpful things include getting help from a trained mental health expert, practicing mindfulness, and learning to calm yourself.

Want to get a grip on your child's meltdowns?

 Get access to our free 3-step plan to help bring calm back into your home! 

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