How can parents know the difference between a tantrum and a possible sign of a mental disorder? Read on to learn more.
For the most part, tantrums are a common, though frustrating occurrence among children. Generally, tantrums are harmless and completely normal, but in some cases, they also show some warning signs of a mental disorder in children.
What are tantrums?
In a nutshell, tantrums are a type of emotional outburst that’s characterized by crying, stubbornness, screaming, defiance, or anger.
For the most part, tantrums are simply a sign of frustration, and it’s the child’s way of dealing with how they feel. In some cases, tantrums can also be a sign of an undiagnosed mental disorder. Here are the signs you need to look out for:
- Aggression towards family members or caregivers – These include hitting, kicking, or even biting in some cases. If you need to protect yourself whenever your child has a tantrum, then you should be concerned.
- Self-harm/self-injury – Some children hurt themselves on purpose such as bite themselves, bang their heads on the wall, scratch themselves. These can be a sign of depression in children.
- Frequent tantrums – 10-20 tantrums in a month or more than 5 tantrums in a day means that your child could be suffering from a mental disorder.
- Long, drawn-out tantrums – Tantrums that last more than 25 minutes aren’t normal, since most tantrums usually last just around 5 minutes on average. Kids who have long tantrums can potentially have psychiatric problems.
- Inability to calm down after a tantrum – If your child requires your help or someone else’s help in order to calm down after a tantrum, then it might mean they have a problem.
What can you do about it?
First off, if your child shows any of these signs, don’t worry. The first thing that parents need to do would be to take their children to a child psychologist in order to identify what their child is going through. A child psychologist can give you advice on how to better take care of your child, as well as help your child cope with their condition.
Remember, just because your child has a psychiatric disorder or mental illness doesn’t mean that there’s ‘something wrong’ with them, it just means that things will be different, and you need to make an extra effort in order to help them cope with their condition.
Anxiety and depression are also common problems in kids, and with the right therapy and if needed, medication, your child won’t have any problems living a normal and healthy life.