Assessment, management, and prevention of childhood temper tantrums

J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2012 Oct;24(10):569-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7599.2012.00755.x. Epub 2012 Jul 2.


Purpose: To provide an overview of normal and abnormal temper tantrum behavior as well as give recommendations nurse practitioners (NPs) can use in counseling families.

Data sources: Articles were identified from the following databases: CINAHL, HEALTH SOURCE: Nursing/Academic edition, Medline, Social Work Abstracts, Social Science Abstracts, Psych INFO, Psychology and Behavioral Science Collection. Textbook references were also identified using Stat!Ref.

Conclusions: Temper tantrums are one of the most common behavior problems in children. Although most children will have tantrums, with NPs' support and guidance in primary care encounters, most children will not require further intervention.

Implications for practice: NPs caring for children will need to identify normal and abnormal tantrum behavior as well as rule out other causes of tantrums in order to help parents handle the tantrum behavior. To obtain CE credit for this activity, go to and click on the CE Center. Locate the listing for this article and complete the post-test. Follow the instructions to print your CE certificate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Anger*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Nurse Practitioners*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Professional-Family Relations
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Risk Assessment / methods*