||This article contains too many or too-lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry. (August 2011)|
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 and obtains some measure of control over its life. For the toddler, tantrums can indeed be considered as normal phenomena, with the tantrum's energy serving as a measure of the strength of character its harnessing may eventually create.
Selma Fraiberg warned against "too much pressure or forceful methods of control from the outside" in child-rearing as liable to provoke tantrums: "if we turn every instance of pants changing, treasure hunting, napping, puddle wading and garbage distribution into a governmental crisis we can easily bring on fierce defiance, tantrums, and all the fireworks of revolt in the nursery."
In 2011, research found that toddlers use tantrums to express two emotions, anger and fear, simultaneously or in patterns. Such tantrums often have a "pattern and rhythm" to their "vocalizations". Analysis of the patterns can lead to discerning which tantrums are normal and which could be signs of future problems -- "that may be warning signals of an underlying disorder." The study was authored by Michael Potegal, at the University of Minnesota, Pamela G. Whitney at Quinnipiac University, and James A. Green at the University of Connecticut. Potegal was quoted by National Public Radio as saying that "The trick in getting a tantrum to end as soon as possible was to get the child past the peaks of anger" and when "the child was past being angry, what was left was sadness, and sad children reach out for comfort. The quickest way past the anger ... was to do nothing." The researchers were called "brave scientists" for dealing with their research subjects.
Freud considered that the Wolf Man's development of temper tantrums - as he became "discontented, irritable and violent, took offence on every possible occasion, and then flew into a rage and screamed like a savage" - was connected with his seduction by his sister. He also considered that subsequently "the patient's fits of rage and scenes of fury were put to a new purpose...to force punishments and...satisfy his sense of guilt" - a point he considered educators should bear in mind in general when a child is continually producing tantrums.
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.
Heinz Kohut contended that all children contained a self-centred, grandiose-exhibitionist core, and that tantrums in the face of frustration were the product of narcissistic rages at the blow to the inflated self-image.
Edmund Bergler had already noted in similar fashion that with "a child confronted with some refusal...regardless of its justifications, the refusal automatically provokes fury, since it offends his sense of omnipotence".
In later life 
William Makepeace Thackeray claimed that in later life "you may tell a Tantrum as far as you can see one, by the distressed and dissatisfied expression of its countenance - 'Tantrumical', if we may term it so".
In the celebrity culture of the 21st century, such Tantrumical characters find their culmination in the form of celebrity tantrums - with celebrities of all ages using temper tantrums as a means to getting their own way.
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.
- Donald Duck, an animated, anthromorphic cartoon duck is created by Walt Disney with a very short temper against Chip & Dale, two chipmunks.
- Nikki Grahame, a contestant in the 2006 series of Big Brother UK.
See also 
|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
- Selma H. Fraiberg, The Magic Years (New York 1987) p. 65
- Ryan, Erin Gloria (December 5, 2011). "Brave Scientists Record and Study Kids Losing Their Shit". Jezebel. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
- Vendatum, Shankar (December 5, 2011). "What's Behind A Temper Tantrum? Scientists Deconstruct The Screams". Jezebel. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
- "Screaming, yelling, whining, and crying: Categorical and intensity differences in vocal expressions of anger and sadness in children's tantrums," Green, James A.; Whitney, Pamela G.; Potegal, Michael. Emotion, Vol 11(5), Oct 2011, 1124-1133. doi:10.1037/a002417. Found at Psycnet website; accessed on December 6, 2011.
- Sigmund Freud, Case Histories II (PFL 9) p. 242
- Freud, p. 257-8
- Fraiberg, 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.
- H. and I. Goldenberg, Family Therapy (2007) p. 172
- Quoted in J. Halliday/P. Fuller eds., The Psychology of Gambling (London 1974) p. 182
- William Makepeace Thackeray, The Irish Sketch Book (1848) p. 138
- Cooper Lawrence, The Cult of Celebrity (2009) p. 72