Behavior and Emotional Problems

Children on the autism spectrum (or with other neurodevelopmental challenges, such as ADHD/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Down syndrome) often have behavior problems ranging from not listening to your directions, to major tantrums and meltdowns.  Needless to say, the more severe the behavior, the more stress for you and your family. 

There are many techniques available to address your child’s problem behaviors.  But, it is very important to take into account their emotional development as well. There are ways to calm tantrums and meltdowns, while supporting your child, so they don’t get overwhelmed by their own behavior, and by others getting frustrated and mad at them. Many times, the guilt a child feels after a meltdown, adds to their stress, and then to more meltdowns.

Angry girl with autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental challenge such as ADHD and Down syndrome, scratching the arm of the parent

Behavior and Emotional Problems

Angry girl with autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental challenge such as ADHD and Down syndrome, scratching the arm of the parent


Children on the autism spectrum (or with other neurodevelopmental challenges, such as ADHD/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Down syndrome) often have behavior problems ranging from not listening to your directions, to major tantrums and meltdowns.  Needless to say, the more severe the behavior, the more stress for you and your family.

There are many techniques available to address your child’s problem behaviors.  But, it is very important to take into account their emotional development as well. There are ways to calm tantrums and meltdowns, while supporting your child, so they don’t get overwhelmed by their own behavior, and by others getting frustrated and mad at them. Many times, the guilt a child feels after a meltdown, adds to their stress, and then to more meltdowns.

Behavior and Emotional Problems

Angry girl with autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental challenge such as ADHD and Down syndrome, scratching the arm of the parent

Children on the autism spectrum (or with other neurodevelopmental challenges, such as ADHD/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Down syndrome) often have behavior problems ranging from not listening to your directions, to major tantrums and meltdowns.  Needless to say, the more severe the behavior, the more stress for you and your family. 

There are many techniques available to address your child’s problem behaviors.  But, it is very important to take into account their emotional development as well. There are ways to calm tantrums and meltdowns, while supporting your child, so they don’t get overwhelmed by their own behavior, and by others getting frustrated and mad at them. Many times, the guilt a child feels after a meltdown, adds to their stress, and then to more meltdowns.

If a child’s negative behavior is only punished or ignored, he does not learn how to cope with his strong feelings. So he may just bury his feelings, and then have more tantrums, or other negative behaviors.

If a child’s negative behavior is only punished or ignored, he does not learn how to cope with his strong feelings. So he may just bury his feelings, and then have more tantrums, or other negative behaviors.

If a child’s negative behavior is only punished or ignored, he does not learn how to cope with his strong feelings. So he may just bury his feelings, and then have more tantrums, or other negative behaviors.

mother hugging and consoling crying daughter with autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental challenge

Often Children With Autism Feel Bad After Having a Tantrum

She doesn’t like getting that angry or being that out of control. He may apologize afterward, or maybe you can tell that he feels guilty. Some children actually say that they don’t know why get so upset, and that they can’t help it. It can break your heart to hear how out of control some children feel.

How do you think a child feels if their problem behavior is just
ignored or criticized?

mother hugging and consoling crying daughter with autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental challenge

Often Children With Autism Feel Bad After Having a Tantrum

She doesn’t like getting that angry or being that out of control. He may apologize afterward, or maybe you can tell that he feels guilty. Some children actually say that they don’t know why get so upset, and that they can’t help it. It can break your heart to hear how out of control some children feel.

How do you think a child feels if their problem behavior is just
ignored or criticized?

Often Children With Autism Feel Bad After Having a Tantrum

mother hugging and consoling crying daughter with autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental challenge

She doesn’t like getting that angry or being that out of control. He may apologize afterward, or maybe you can tell that he feels guilty. Some children actually say that they don’t know why get so upset, and that they can’t help it. It can break your heart to hear how out of control some children feel.

How do you think a child feels if their problem behavior is just ignored or criticized?

Think about how you would feel if you were expressing your anger to a family member. Then imagine just being ignored, or criticized for your anger. Wouldn’t that be upsetting? What would happen over time if your anger was ignored? Maybe you’d feel there was something wrong with the way you feel, or maybe your anger would get more intense.

When we don’t find ways to express our emotions in a healthy way, we can feel angry and resentful toward others, and critical of our own feelings and behavior. Over time, this creates more and more stress. And our self-esteem gets lower and lower.

Now, think of your child on the autism spectrum. Many of her problem behaviors are often because she has difficulty communicating what she wants and how she is feeling. Her behaviors may get punished and criticized rather than her getting the emotional support she needs. She then can feel misunderstood, frustrated and ignored. Her self-esteem can get very low, which then causes more behavior problems. And there can be a great disconnect between this child and her parent(s).

Think about how you would feel if you were expressing your anger to a family member. Then imagine just being ignored, or criticized for your anger. Wouldn’t that be upsetting? What would happen over time if your anger was ignored? Maybe you’d feel there was something wrong with the way you feel, or maybe your anger would get more intense.

When we don’t find ways to express our emotions in a healthy way, we can feel angry and resentful toward others, and critical of our own feelings and behavior. Over time, this creates more and more stress. And our self-esteem gets lower and lower.

Now, think of your child on the autism spectrum. Many of her problem behaviors are often because she has difficulty communicating what she wants and how she is feeling. Her behaviors may get punished and criticized rather than her getting the emotional support she needs. She then can feel misunderstood, frustrated and ignored. Her self-esteem can get very low, which then causes more behavior problems. And there can be a great disconnect between this child and her parent(s).

Boy with autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental challenge, laying on the floor crying, frustrated father with hands on his head

Think about how you would feel if you were expressing your anger to a family member. Then imagine just being ignored, or criticized for your anger. Wouldn’t that be upsetting? What would happen over time if your anger was ignored? Maybe you’d feel there was something wrong with the way you feel, or maybe your anger would get more intense.

Over time you may learn to stuff your feelings, and no longer talk to your partner about your anger.  You don’t want to get yelled at or ignored.  This can lead to a build up of negative feelings that can cause all sorts of other problems.  You may become more irritable and lose your temper over minor frustrations.  And, how do you think this would that effect the relationship?  How would you feel about yourself?

Boy with autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental challenge, laying on the floor crying, frustrated father with hands on his head

When we don’t find ways to express our emotions in a healthy way, we can feel angry and resentful toward others, and critical of our own feelings and behavior. Over time, this creates more and more stress. And our self-esteem gets lower and lower.

Now, think of your child on the autism spectrum. Many of her problem behaviors are often because she has difficulty communicating what she wants and how she is feeling. Her behaviors may get punished and criticized rather than her getting the emotional support she needs. She then can feel misunderstood, frustrated and ignored. Her self-esteem can get very low, which then causes more behavior problems. And there can be a great disconnect between this child and her parent(s).

He probably learned that his behavior is bad and decided that he must be bad too.

Playful mother, father and daughter with autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental challenge

When parenting your child on the autism spectrum, it is very important to address both the behavior and your child’s social and emotional development.

Problem behaviors can be complex, with a mix of factors that make them even worse. It is extremely difficult to do this on your own. We’ll help you learn to reduce behavior problems, while supporting your child’s emotional development and growth into a more functional and generally happy adult. Contact us for a free 15-minute introductory phone call and find out more.

He probably learned that his behavior is bad and decided that he must be bad too.

Playful mother, father and daughter with autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental challenge

When parenting your child on the autism spectrum, it is very important to address both the behavior and your child’s social and emotional development.

Problem behaviors can be complex, with a mix of factors that make them even worse. It is extremely difficult to do this on your own. We’ll help you learn to reduce behavior problems, while supporting your child’s emotional development and growth into a more functional and generally happy adult. Contact us for a free 15-minute introductory phone call and find out more.

Boy with autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental challenge, laying on the floor crying, frustrated father with hands on his head

He probably learned that his behavior is bad and decided that he must be bad too.

When parenting your child on the autism spectrum, it is very important to address both the behavior and your child’s social and emotional development.

Playful mother, father and daughter with autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental challenge

Problem behaviors can be complex, with a mix of factors that make them even worse. It is extremely difficult to do this on your own. We’ll help you learn to reduce behavior problems, while supporting your child’s emotional development and growth into a more functional and generally happy adult. Contact us for a free 15-minute introductory phone call and find out more.