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Search Health Information    Temper Tantrum

Temper Tantrum

A temper tantrum is an unplanned, unintentional expression of anger or other emotions. During a temper tantrum, a person may have an outburst of crying, yelling, and flailing of arms and legs.

Temper tantrums usually are most intense during the first 30 seconds. They last 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

People do not have temper tantrums to get attention. Rather, a tantrum is usually a response to extreme frustration. Although temper tantrums can occur at any age, even during adulthood, they are most common in children ages 1 to 4 years.

As children grow older, they learn healthier ways to handle their emotions. Children who continue to have tantrums after the age of 4 usually need help learning to deal with their emotions.

Last Revised: March 20, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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