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When Tantrums Become Abnormal

Abnormal Tantrums

Tantrums are normal in young children and to be expected as they grow and learn appropriate ways to express themselves and communicate with others around them. However, sometimes tantrums can indicate more serious underlying issues, such as depression, trauma, fear, or other emotional, social, or psychological problems. So, how do you tell the difference?

Researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis have identified five key risk factors that indicate that a child’s tantrum may be a sign of a more serious problem.

They are:

  1. Excessively long tantrums
  2. The child cannot calm down or be consoled
  3. The child injures themselves during the tantrum
  4. The child gets aggressive
  5. The tantrum occurs in public

The key here is for patterns shown through repetition. It’s normal for happy, healthy children to display one or more of these factors now and again, but children who display these factors consistently may be demonstrating deeper evaluation and help.

This post is written by Stephanie Eitzen, a student studying Ministry to Orphans and Vulnerable Children at Austin Bible Institute.
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