Are my toddler’s tantrums normal?

All kids have tantrums, that's normal, but 'super-tantrums' are not. How to spot the danger signs.

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Toddlers and tantrums go together – you’re lucky if your child doesn’t go through that terrible twos stage.

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But long or aggressive temper tantrums are not necessarily normal – and may be a sign that your child is at risk of depression or a behavioural disorder later in life, say US researchers.

So how can you tell if the ‘wobblies’ your child is throwing are normal?

Developmental psychologist Dr Andy Belden of Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, says there are five key indicators:

  1. Your toddler has tantrums that last more than 25 minutes
  2. She has more than 10 to 20 tantrums a month
  3. She can’t calm herself without help
  4. She deliberately hurts herself
  5. She regularly damages objetcs or hurts you, or others, during a tantrum.
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‘Don’t panic if  your child has a super-tantrum occasionally,’ says Dr Belden, ‘but if they are regular, I’d advise you to talk to your GP.’

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