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Temper Tantrums: Keeping a Record

Topic Overview

Your doctor 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 doctor 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 doctor learn what your family dynamics are 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 doctor may recommend further exams or tests for any behavioral, emotional, or health conditions.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last Revised March 20, 2012

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