Usually, temper tantrums last 30 seconds to 2 minutes and are most intense during the first 30 seconds. During a tantrum, a child may:
- Cry, scream, or shout.
- Arch the back or tense the body.
- Flail the arms.
Temper tantrums are most likely to occur when a child is afraid, overtired, or uncomfortable. Reference Breath-holding spells Opens New Window may sometimes occur with tantrums.
Difficult behavior that frequently lasts longer than 15 minutes, occurs more than 3 times a day, or is more aggressive may mean that a child has a medical, emotional, or social problem that needs attention. These are not considered typical temper tantrums. Difficult behaviors may include:
- Kicking, hitting, biting, scratching, hair-pulling, or pinching other people.
- Throwing or breaking things.
- Head-banging or inflicting self-injury.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference March 20, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Reference Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics