Health Information

Related Health Information

Temper Tantrums

What are temper tantrums?

Temper tantrums are a way a young child lets out strong emotions before he/she is able to express them in socially acceptable ways. Although a child may seem totally out of control, these fits of rage, stomping, screaming, and throwing themselves to the floor are a normal part of childhood development. Temper tantrums often occur only with a parent. They are a way a child communicates his/her feelings. Parents can learn from their child by understanding the situation that caused the temper tantrum to erupt.

Temper tantrums often begin at about 1 year of age and continue until age 3. Nearly all children have them, but, by age 4, most children develop the necessary self-control and temper tantrums stop.

What causes temper tantrums?

As a young child learns more and becomes more independent, he/she wants to do more than she can physically and emotionally manage. This is frustrating to the child and the frustrations are expressed in a variety of ways. Temper tantrums are worse and occur more often when a child is hungry, tired, or sick. Some reasons children have temper tantrums include the following:

How to prevent temper tantrums:

Although temper tantrums sometimes happen without warning, parents can often tell when a child is becoming upset. Knowing the situations when your child is more likely to have a tantrum and thinking ahead may help. An example is not letting your child become overtired or hungry. Some suggestions for preventing or minimizing temper tantrums include the following:

How to respond during a temper tantrum:

The following are helpful hints regarding the most appropriate ways to respond during your child's temper tantrum:

What else should parents know about temper tantrums?

Temper tantrums generally happen less often as children get older. Children should play and act normally between tantrums. However, consult your child's physician if any of the following occur:

  • Print
  • Share

Contact Us