Most children pitch fits every once in a while, but how can new parents tell when the upset is more than just a tantrum?

While little research has been done on tantrums, Washington University recently conducted a study of children aged 3-to-6 years old that found five red flags that may prove a child's fit is indicative of a psychiatric disorder. A WebMD article said:

"Essentially, we found five tantrum styles. They were strongly associated with specific diagnoses," Belden says. "No one I have met can look at a tantrum and give a diagnosis, but these are definitely red flags worth looking into in terms of getting a mental health referral from a pediatrician."

While many children exhibit some of the following warning signs, the constant occurrence of these indicators is what proves worrisome.

  • Aggression toward caregivers and objects.
  • Injuring themselves.
  • Frequency — 10 to 20 tantrums a month or five a day on multiple days.
  • Tantrums that last more than 25 minutes.
  • Not able to calm down after fit.