A tantrum (or temper tantrum or tirade or hissy fit) is an emotional outburst, usually associated with children or those in emotional distress, that is typically characterized by stubbornness, crying, screaming, yelling, shrieking, defiance, angry ranting, a resistance to attempts at pacification and, in some cases, violence. Physical control may be lost, the person may be unable to remain still, and even if the "goal" of the person is met he or she may not be calmed. A tantrum may be expressed in a tirade: a protracted, angry, or violent speech.
Tantrums are one of the most common forms of problematic behaviour in young children but tend to decrease in frequency and intensity as the child grows older. For the toddler, tantrums can be considered as normal, even as gauges of a developing strength of character.
While tantrums are sometimes seen as a predictor of future anti-social behaviour, in another sense they are simply an age-appropriate sign of excessive frustration, and will diminish over time given a calm and consistent handling. Parental containment where a child cannot contain itself - rather than what the child is ostensibly demanding - may be what is really required.
Freud considered that the Wolf Man's development of temper tantrums was connected with his seduction by his sister: he became "discontented, irritable and violent, took offence on every possible occasion, and then flew into a rage and screamed like a savage". Freud linked the tantrums to an unconscious need for punishment driven by feelings of guilt - something which he thought could be generalised to many other cases of childhood tantrums.
Heinz Kohut contended that tantrums were narcissistic rages, caused by the thwarting of the infant's grandiose-exhibitionist core. The blow to the inflated self-image, when a child's wishes are (however justifiably) refused, creates fury because it strikes at the feeling of omnipotence.
Some people who have neurological disorders such as the combination of autism or mental retardation could be more prone to tantrums than others, although anyone experiencing forebrain damage (temporary or permanent) can suffer from tantrums. Anyone may be prone to tantrums once in a while, regardless of gender or age.
In later life
- Tennis player Ilie Năstase is best remembered for being one of the best players never to win the singles title at Wimbledon, for his tantrums, and his good looks.
Examples from media
- The Town Santa Forgot, an animated television special, is the story is of Jeremy Creek, a boy who knows nothing but greed. He throws temper tantrums any time he sees what he wants, and he wants everything he sees.
|Look up tantrum in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- "What is a tantrum?". Babycentre.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
- "Temper Tantrums". Kidshealth.org. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
- "Tantrums". BabyCenter. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
- "When a Child Has a Tantrum - The Natural Child Project". Naturalchild.org. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
- "Make Nice With Mom". Girl World Daily. 2003-04-03. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
- Robin Skynner/John Cleese, Families and how to survive them (London 1993) p. 177
- Potegal, Michael Ph.D., L.P.; Davidson, Richard J. Ph.D. (June 2003). "Temper Tantrums in Young Children". Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics 24 (3): 140–147.
- Roy Benaroch, Solving Health and Behavioral Problems from Birth Through Preschool (2008) p. 157
- Patrick Casement, Further Learning from the Patient (London 1990) p. 113-4
- Selma H. Fraiberg, The Magic Years (New York 1987) p. 65
- Sigmund Freud, Case Histories II (PFL 9) p. 242
- Freud, p. 257
- Sigmund Freud, Case Histories II (PFL 9) p. 257-8 and p. 242
- H. and I. Goldenberg, Family Therapy (2007) p. 172
- Edmund Bergler in J. Halliday/P. Fuller eds., The Psychology of Gambling (London 1974) p. 182
- Selma H. Fraiberg, The Magic Years (New York 1987) p. 152
- Dominick KC, Davis NO, Lainhart J, Tager-Flusberg H, Folstein S (2007). "Atypical behaviors in children with autism and children with a history of language impairment". Res Dev Disabil 28 (2): 145–62. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2006.02.003. PMID 16581226.
- William Makepeace Thackeray, The Irish Sketch Book (1848) p. 138
- Cooper Lawrence, The Cult of Celebrity (2009) p. 72
- Simon Crompton, All about Me (London 2007) p. 176
- "Nastase embodies an era with a touch of class". The Independent (London). June 28, 2003. Retrieved May 5, 2010.