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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.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Current as of March 20, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 20, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.