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How to Deal with Cerebral Palsy Temper Tantrums

managing cerebral palsy temper tantrums to improve socialization

Cerebral palsy temper tantrums can be distressing and problematic.

We’ve all seen a child having a temper tantrum. The screaming, the flailing arms, the violent behavior…

This article will go over whether cerebral palsy has anything to do with temper tantrums, what causes them, and how to best manage them.

Let’s get started!

Causes of Cerebral Palsy Temper Tantrums

frustrated child with cerebral palsy

Roughly 25% of people with cerebral palsy have behavioral issues.

Temper tantrums are completely normal in children with and without cerebral palsy. The cause of a temper tantrum may not even have anything to do with CP and instead, could be age-related.

Kids will be kids. They don’t fully understand that they can’t always get what they want and are still developing their communication skills.

Cerebral palsy results from brain damage and brain damage can affect the way emotions are processed and regulated.

However, cerebral palsy does not directly cause behavior problems.

Cerebral palsy-related temper tantrums are typically the result of frustration due to learning difficulties, motor impairment, and speech disorders.

In contrast, age-related temper tantrums are typically caused by not getting what they want.

Children with cerebral palsy can usually tell that they’re not understanding or doing things as quickly or as easily as others around them.

You don’t need to have cerebral palsy to know how discouraging it is to struggle with something others have no problem doing.

This can make children with cerebral palsy act out because they feel different, misunderstood, and unaccepted.

Tips for Managing Cerebral Palsy Temper Tantrums

cerebral palsy temper tantrums

Management of cerebral palsy temper tantrums is essential.

The harsh reality of life is that often times, people with disabilities are still expected to go through their daily lives the same way people without disabilities do.

While a temper tantrum in a child is normal, a temper tantrum in a teen or adult is typically not accepted.

Next, we’ll go over mistakes to avoid and what some of the most effective ways to manage temper tantrums in children with cerebral palsy are.

Avoid Giving In

When your child throws a temper tantrum over not getting what they want, the worst thing to do is give in.

This makes your child think that as long as they keep acting out, they can get what they want.

While it may quiet them down, you’re not fixing the underlying problem.

Behavioral Therapy

Children that continue to act out as they get older are often not developing the social skills necessary to effectively communicate their feelings and emotions.

Consider taking your child to a behavioral therapist to further work on developing social skills like:

  • Problem-solving
  • Controlling impulses
  • Negotiating
  • Social expectations
  • Delayed gratification

Behavioral therapy will teach your child that there are better ways to cope with frustration than acting out.


Sometimes, you just need to take your child away from the social interaction causing the temper tantrum.

Generally, children have short attention spans and will quickly get over what they were overreacting to if you take them out of the situation.

Calmly explain to your child why they are in a time-out and allow for 10-15 minutes of quiet, alone time.

This will give them time to cool off and reflect on their own before returning to their activity.

Encouraging Positivity

Diverting your child’s attention away from what they can’t do and encouraging them to do things that they’re good at will help relieve frustration and boost confidence.

Acknowledge and praise your child for positive behavior.

This will help them distinguish the difference between good and bad behaviors.

Cerebral Palsy Temper Tantrums: Summary

encouraging positive behavior in children with cerebral palsy

Learning difficulties, motor impairments, and speech disorders can make it difficult for children with cerebral palsy to communicate. This can be very frustrating and result in temper tantrums.

While temper tantrums are normal in young children, they become less tolerated as the child gets older.

By developing better social skills, reflecting on their actions, and focusing on things they’re good at, children with cerebral palsy can learn to better express and cope with their frustrations.

Keep It Going: See Fun Ways to Recover from Cerebral Palsy

Finally! There’s a recovery device for CP that’s actually fun to use. See how Flint Rehab’s tools are helping with CP recovery:

“The FitMi and MusicGlove have done wonders for my son with hemiparesis from cerebral palsy and stroke. It motivates him to do his exercises. It does not seem like therapy for him since it is fun. It monitors his progress so it is a great reinforcement for him. Music is a motivator for him. He has been using it on his arm and we will try the leg exercises soon.”

FitMi works by motivating high repetition of therapeutic exercises while playing an engaging game. This gamification has been particularly great for motivating individuals with cerebral palsy to recover.

To see how FitMi works, click here »