Temper Tantrums

  • Medical Author:
    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideParenting: Learn to Be a Better Parent

Parenting: Learn to Be a Better Parent

Do children grow out of having temper tantrums?

By 4 years of age, most children have developed both self-control and language skills that will lessen the frequency and intensity of temper tantrums. If a younger child is having more than two to three major temper tantrums per week, if tantrums (at any age) seem excessively severe, last longer than five minutes, involve violence (especially directed at younger siblings or other children) or have pushed you beyond your own self-control, you should discuss the situation with your child's pediatrician. Any feelings of a need to use physical or verbal threats against a child are a red flag and must be addressed immediately. Support groups to help with parenting skills as well as addressing potentially underlying sources of frustration (such as the loss of job) are very effective.

Medically reviewed by Margaret Walsh, MD; American Board of Pediatrics


Fetsch, R.J., and B. Jacobson. "Children's Anger and Tantrums." Colorado State University. Apr. 2007 <http://www.ext.colostate.edu/PUBS/CONSUMER/10248.html>.

Gallagher, Richard. "Temper Tantrums: How to Deal With a Meltdown." NYU Child Study Center. June 2, 2006. <http://www.aboutourkids.org/articles/temper_tantrums_how_deal_meltdown>.

Kliegman, Robert M., Richard E. Behrman, Hal B. Jenson, and Bonita M.D. Stanton. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2007.

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