Temper tantrums: Are they normal?

Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg
December 19, 2007 9:00:00 PM PST
Are temper tantrums normal or could they be a sign of other problems?Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg.

It is an issue that is of interest to almost every parents, those awful temper tantrums kids can throw. Could they be a sign of something more serious? Well, sometimes yes. A new study tells parents what to look for.

Even the sweetest child can throw a tantrum, which most parents know, because tantrums are common amongst pre-school children.

Experts at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis studied almost 300 tantrum-throwing pre-schoolers. Some had been diagnosed with depression, ADHD or other disruptive disorders, and some were characterized as "healthy." The results suggest that some tantrums can be signs of other problems.

According to Dr. Mary Solanto, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, parents need to look for how often the tantrums occur.

That includes:

  • Tantrums that are consistently violent
  • Showing aggression toward self, others or objects
  • Tantrums that occur more than 10 times a month
  • Other behavior include how a child is able calm him or herself from a tantrum and lengths of time of tantrums.

    "For healthy kids, it wasn't more than about 10 minutes," Solanto said.