Record of temper tantrums

Your health professional may ask you to keep a record of your child's temper tantrums before you bring him or her in for a physical exam. The record should include the following information.

  • What usually leads up to your child having a temper tantrum?
  • Does your child have temper tantrums more often when he or she is around particular people?
  • How often does your child have tantrums?
  • Where do your child's tantrums usually occur? Do they ever occur at school?
  • What is your child's behavior like during a temper tantrum? How intense is his or her behavior during the tantrum?
  • How long does your child's tantrum last?
  • What do you do during your child's tantrum? How do you feel when your child is having a temper tantrum?
  • Do you give in to or punish your child after a tantrum?
  • How do your child's temper tantrums affect the family?

These and similar questions can help your health professional get a clearer picture of your child's motivations and behavior. Also, general patterns may emerge, such as triggers of temper tantrums and whether parent or caregiver reactions are negatively or positively reinforcing the behavior. This information can help a health professional understand your family dynamics and how to best advise you on how to manage your child's difficult behavior.

If temper tantrums frequently last longer than 15 minutes or occur more than 3 times a day, your health professional may recommend further examination or testing for any underlying behavioral, emotional, or health conditions.

Last Updated: November 20, 2008

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